Original article from New Straits Times

“The only thing that is constant is change.” Indeed, as we become a more affluent society, sophistication, better exposure and education become primary motivators of how we think and behave. This changing attitude permeates everything we do and influences how we think. It is not uncommon to find more middle class families sending their children to private education institutions, while young adults think nothing of spending RM20 on a cup of designer coffee.

This changing trend has also affected the way we invest in properties. While the older generation are happy to be able to afford to own a property, youth nowadays measure their success on the number of properties and amount of assets they can amass. When buying property, location is no longer the prime motivator when buying a property. Look and feel, amenities and branding, become equally important, if not more so.

This trend has led to developers embracing these changes in mindset, adapting to buyers’ demands, and incorporating these wants and needs into their projects. It is no longer enough to just build homes to sell to the market; people now want to feel that they are buying into a lifestyle, not just a piece of property.

So, what are some of the more prominent changes that have taken the property market by storm?

Everybody wants to boast about having a KLCC address. Even if that doesn’t work out, if you can see the Petronas Twin Towers from your unit, you can automatically market it for a higher price. The iconic towers have become a focal point for all other developments around it. Each new development incorporates special designs, features, and characteristics into its buildings to stand out from the crowd. Big name architects and designers, or luxury hotel and management brands, will help developers to sell faster and at premium prices.

Everybody wants this view from their balcony

Have you ever wondered why some developers – like Mah Sing, Eco World, and SP Setia, just to name a few – are able to sell well despite the slowdown in the property market? It’s because these developers have successfully built a brand name for themselves and garnered support from repeat buyers, who have benefited and made money from investing in their projects before. Some of them are leading developers with a good track record and plenty of resources, while others are boutique developers with carefully crafted and well-thought-out projects.

In the past, most developments were stand-alone developments. An office block was just an office block while a condominium was a single tower by itself. In the last few years, we have seen the rise of integrated developments, where several elements are integrated to form a single development. As such, it is not uncommon anymore to see a single development incorporating a shopping mall, office tower, condominium and hotel, all rolled into one, sharing common facilities. There is high demand from buyers for such developments, as they offer convenience and value-for-money.

These integrated developments have given rise to a new phenomenon – transport oriented developments (TODs). One of the biggest, and most successful, examples is KL Sentral, which comprises a transportation hub, office towers, hotels, shopping mall, and serviced residences. A development that has a direct link to an MRT or LRT station will benefit from the connectivity, and be able to fetch higher prices than other properties in the vicinity.

KL Sentral is a transit-oriented development that houses the public transport hub in Kuala Lumpur.

Nowadays, facilities such as security, car parks, swimming pool, and gymnasium are a given for high-rise residential projects. It is no longer enough to just provide these; buyers today expect to have more facilities and amenities included with their purchase of a condominium or serviced apartment. Developers have become increasingly creative in coming up with unique features to attract prospective buyers, such as rooftop gardens, “sky lounges”, infinity pools with a view of the surroundings, sauna rooms, jogging tracks, playgrounds, yoga podiums, and more. In fact, there are even some projects that boast more than 70 facilities as its selling point to promote a ‘healthy living’ lifestyle for residents.

The environmental sky deck at Altitude 236 is one of its selling points.

In the old days, the rich worked in the city, lived in the suburbs, and commuted to work every day, while the less well-off lived in the city and walked or took public transport. That is how Bangsar and Petaling Jaya became popular residential areas of the rich and affluent. On the other hand, squatter homes and state housing continued to grow in many parts around the city centre. However, the tables have now turned, with only the most wealthy being able to afford luxurious condominiums and residences in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

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