Thanks for the emails regarding the recent Malaysian property blogs. The subject of monkeys dominated the postbag. While I am reliably informed that two expatriate families moved into central KL to avoid the long-tailed variety, readers in Malaysia tell me these are not the monkeys to worry about.
“Monkeys?” writes Benny. On the subject of suburban Kuala Lumpur bungalows being plagued by monkeys, “I don’t think the monkey tales are true, in general. It is not easy to spot a monkey nowadays, even in the Batu caves, due to clearing of the jungle to make way for the concrete one.”
He says that the safety issue for landed property is more of a concern, because “most places have one to two tier safety systems. Perhaps the real "monkey" you should be scared of are the human thugs.”
Another Malaysian reader, Nik Shahrizal is equally sceptical about monkeys deterring buyers in leafy KL suburbs. “I am a Malaysian. Love properties,” writes Nik. “Read your article. Laughed about the comments on big monkeys outside KL. Never seen one in my life.” Well that seems to knock the monkeys on the head. Mea culpa, I bow to local knowledge. But I will be back with a photo from my next trip, if there is a suburban monkey to be seen.
Benny also scoffs at the idea that Middle Eastern buyers are snapping up Kuala Lumpur city centre flats, too. “Most of the luxury property developers (in places like Mont Kiara , Bangsar, Damansara) would screen through their clients before offering them the units, as I know they do not encourage too many of one nationality (except Malaysian of course),” he says. OK Benny, but a night time drive around town showed few lights on these glass towers, which tends to support the absentee owner theory, and it was local Malaysians who told me about the Middle East buyers. Malaysian developers have also recently been offering units to Hong Kong buyers too.
Value in the Suburbs
Nik Shahrizal writes that he/she works in KL and lives in Bukit Jelutong, a town 40km away from KL, “so you can say I live in the suburbs. I live in a bungalow, 4,000 square feet, with four (bed) rooms and 7,500 sq ft of land. The bungalows here cost about Malaysian Ringgit 2.5m to 4m, depending on size.” The exchange rate is about RM1 to HK$2.5. There is also another fantastic suburb called Desa Parkcity, he/she adds, “Which has been booming recently, though houses are a lot more expensive than average KL properties.” There you have it, compared to Hong Kong, Malaysia offers terrific value.
And unexpected gems, not far from KL. A short drive along the coast from the city, US$100,000 can buy a seafront flat, not finished in some cases, in need of renovation in others, but for a seaside pad for under HK1 million and sizes of around 1,500 sq ft, what’s not to like? What a great holiday home, even if the sea is a little less than pristine, the views are great. Of course Malaysia is not nirvana, any more than anywhere else. Another reader, Alan, was cautionary. “Great article, he writes, “but there is more to life than the price of property. I could tell you about KL and muggings....gropings....from personal experience and from friends living in Malaysia.”
The Security Issue
Oh dear, security seems to be a bit of a concern. But then most developments seem set up for it, in or out of town. And as for those of you who’ve asked to see my prospective KL purchase, here it is: a 2,800 sq ft flat in a fairly typical small development with eight units, two covered parking spaces each, pool, garden and yes, a high wall and 24-hour security. But that seems to be par for the course in KL.