WHAT does “strategic location” mean?
It means the strategic importance of a location. Hence, the popular mantra, “location, location, location”.
Strategic location also means having shopping malls, hospitals, schools, restaurants and public transport. It should also be easily accessible.
Property developers like to use the term “strategic location” and “easy accessibility” when they launch new projects. But are their projects really located strategically and easily accessible?
As the saying goes, “seeing is believing”. However, in reality, you can’t see what you perceive as you have only heard from the developer. You have to wait until you get the keys to know what you have bought into.
EXHILARATING BUT PAINFUL
Living in a strategic location can be an exhilarating experience but it can also be painful because of population growth, as along with it comes traffic congestion and overcrowdedness.
If there is an empty plot of land in the area you live in, there is a high chance it will be used for development and this will increase the density.
So once you have settled on the idea that you are going to buy a house, the first step is to decide where you are going to purchase it.
Choosing the right location is a big deal. You should set your sights on finding a location that is comfortable, convenient, safe and within your budget. Don’t be influenced by what the developers, marketing or real estate agents tell you.
According to PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez, most urban dwellers, property investors and renters are drawn to the perks of living in strategic locations as they come with amenities, connectivity and other conveniences.
“Buying properties in matured neighbourhoods close to the city is still a favourite choice among urban dwellers, locals and expatriates,” he told NST Property.
Fernandez said the trend to develop within matured townships is on the rise in the Klang Valley, driven by the demand for properties close to the city centre.
Neighbourhoods like Cheras, Damansara Heights and Bangsar have been receiving growth spurts in the form of infrastructure boost via rail connectivity and integrated developments.
“This upgrade has not only injected vibrancy to the vicinity, but it has also driven property prices up, increased job opportunities and provided housing for urban folk.
“With that in mind, the tranquil Taman Desa, for example, has been envisioned to receive a similar facelift given its strategic location and accessibility to the city centre,” Fernandez said.
GROWTH IN TAMAN DESA
Taman Desa is located off Jalan Klang Lama in Kuala Lumpur.
Once surrounded by jungle and rubber estates, it is now considered a strategic area near to Mid Valley Megamall and other landmarks including Tesco hypermarket.
There is a good mix of middle and upper-class condominiums, apartments and landed properties which are fetching high rental and resale returns.
Faber Group Bhd was one of first developers to build in the area. By 1980, it had completed double-storey link houses, semi-detached houses and bungalows.
Some of the later developments in Taman Desa include Taman Danau Desa, Taman Bukit Desa and Taman Tasik Desa.
In the pipeline are 13 new projects by a mix of developers. The projects will feature 29 buildings - two blocks of 48 shoplots and 168 office units, eight blocks of 3,325 affordable housing units (under the Federal Territories Affordable Housing programme) and 19 blocks comprising 3,721 units of condominiums and serviced apartments.
In terms of price appreciation for condominiums in Taman Desa, the PropertyGuru Market Index saw an upward trend, indicating a growth for capital appreciation.
Condominium prices experienced a steady quarter-on-quarter rise from the second quarter to the fourth quarter of 2016. However, there was a slight dip last year — a minimal impact of 0.1 per cent in the third to fourth quarters.
From the fourth quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of last year, a 17.9 per cent decline was seen, reflecting a slow property market as well as possible hesitation to buy in a future “overcrowded” area, such as Taman Desa.
“As reported in a local daily, in the last five years, Desa Green Serviced Apartments, launched by UOA Development in 2012, were priced at RM538,000, or RM575 per square foot (after rebate), for a 935 sq ft unit.
“In the final block of Desa Green Serviced Apartments, the remaining units were priced at RM675,000, or RM722 psf (after rebate), for a similar unit, showing a 20 per cent increase from 2012,” Fernandez said.
THE THEN TRANQUIL SUBURBAN
In the early 1970s, Taman Desa was a self-contained suburban residential area with access through 3Ω Mile, Jalan Klang Lama.
Today, Taman Desa is more commonly known as located between Jalan Klang Lama to the west, Kuala Lumpur East-West Link (Salak Expressway) on the north and Desa Waterpark/Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Highway to the east and Sungai Kerayong to the south.
Over the years, Taman Bukit Desa, Taman Abadi Indah and Taman Danau Desa were developed with offerings of link houses, bungalows, condominiums, shophouses and commercial centres.
Most amenities are readily available in the area, with business centres like Faber Complex and Danau Business Centre.
Due to its proximity to the city centre, Mid Valley City and KL Sentral as well as other mixed-residential and commercial districts such as Seputeh, Bangsar and Petaling Jaya, it is no surprise that Taman Desa became a hotspot for house owners, tenants, potential investors and developers, said Fernandez.
“Given its location amid greenery, many buyers, especially Japanese and South Korean expatriates, saw the area as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life.”
“The former rubber estate land is 40 years old and is experiencing an oversupply of new developments without proper infrastructure uplift and this is raising major concerns among its occupants,” said Fernandez.
Taman Desa is earmarked as a low-density dwelling. It houses 9,682 residential units with a population of more than 38,000 people.
It was reported that Kuala Lumpur City Hall changed the plot ratio from 60 persons per acre to 650 persons.
“This caused the residents to express their dissatisfaction. They are concerned that with the influx of development and population in the next few years, very soon, residents are going to rely on infrastructure that was planned and designed 40 years ago.
“In the beginning, public amenities and space were aplenty. However, as the population grew, no improvements were made to meet the needs of the community.”
Fernandez said there are no mass rapid transit or light rail transit stations in Taman Desa, although there is a proposed stop in Taman Desa under the MRT Circle Line.
The main mode of transport is private vehicles. Thus, there will be an additional 2,000-plus vehicles in the future, assuming that each household has two vehicles.
Resident Valerie Low, who has stayed in Taman Desa for 17 years, said: “This has been our safe haven. We have been gravely distressed by the noise, vibrations, pollution, fumes and dust. Our home has become like a prison. Our concern is the well-being of the elderly, the disabled, young people and children,
“This is only the beginning. We don’t know what is going to happen to our health in the long-term.”
Other concerns are heavy vehicles and the safety of students at nearby schools, she said.
“There are three schools here. They are going to bring in heavy machinery, cranes, piling machines for 30 to 40-storey buildings. There is no buffer zone... there is no place to hide,” claimed Low.
Additional reporting by Sharen Kaur