Property advertisements these days seem to be driven by how close they are to MRT stations. In areas which the MRT lines do not cover, the lesser cousin, LRT, is just as good. A cursory look would suggest that anything that does not boast easy or quick or integrated access to an MRT or LRT station is seriously inferior and unworthy of consideration. This overweight emphasis is dangerous and highly misleading. Here are 5 factors you should pay attention to, on top of how close the MRT Station will be, before you purchase a property.
Our preoccupation with MRT stations has unfortunately overshadowed the importance of the actual location of the developments. Developments in prime locations always command higher values and appreciate stronger compared to those located further away REGARDLESS of the existence of MRT lines/stations. Being in a prime location holds many benefits in terms of demand and convenience which cannot be replaced by merely being connected to a rail line or station. Just as we consider the additional costs of living further away in terms of parking, toll and maintenance, we should also factor time, inconvenience and passenger congestion into our consideration of MRT-linked projects.
It is common to find sales persons speaking with authority when it comes to the routes and locations of the stations for new lines. What many don’t realise is that until the proposed routes and stations go through public display, objection and confirmation, everything is open to change. This has become painfully clear with the change in alignment for MRT Line 2 (Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya, SSP) shifting towards the upcoming Bandar Malaysia due to the High Speed Rail station. Those who had purchased properties based on the earlier proposed alignment are now left with dashed hopes and unfulfilled promises. While many may suggest the routes, none can accurately predict where the stations will be until they are firmly approved and awarded. Be careful to avoid empty promises by unscrupulous parties who purport to be experts on unconfirmed plans. In the euphoria of new lines and stations, we also easily forget the existing lines which offer peace of mind and direct convenience as opposed to those waiting to be constructed. No uncertainty, but immediate utility and returns.
Our Rail and Public Transportation network is growing increasingly complex as it reaches out to cover larger geographical areas. It pays to take a leaf out of the books of more established and sophisticated public transportation networks such as Tokyo, Singapore and London where merely being close to a station is insufficient as more and more stations are added onto the grid. Consider where the lines lead to and determine where you would most often alight to see if the entire journey requires any interchanges. Naturally those with a direct journey on the same line will be preferred over those which require switching over to separate lines or worse, between types of rail ie LRT, MRT or Monorail. We have been promised seamless travel on a single ticket but the inconvenience of exiting and entering stations can be a hassle.
There are myriad factors that determine the price for a property. And many more that measure a FAIR price for a property. Today’s advanced technology and open economy has enabled easy sharing of information to help come to an educated decision on the same instead of merely following the herd. Various chat forums and blog reviews cover almost every launch or property neighbourhood. Buyers today are equipped with so much more to make wise purchase decisions. While we continue to find projects which defy common logic in their pricing, it is possible for prospects to consider surrounding prices, compare the project with competing developments, read reviews and opinions of more experienced buyers and also find tips on property purchasing. It is worth noting that official data is usually only available for the secondary market but there are adequate resources available to compare primary market prices too. Direct connectivity to an MRT station may not be reason enough to price properties much more than a neighbouring project.
Reputation & Track Record
The property industry is seen as a lucrative one and attracts many to diversify into it. In purchasing such big-ticket items, it is always wise to look at the developer’s track record and the people behind the companies. New companies with no track record will still excel if the people running them are experienced and reliable. By the same token, those which have little in terms of past successes should be discounted, for risk averse buyers. An additional indication of the strength of the developer or development, is the selling agent appointed. Reputable agencies lend confidence to the developments they market and sell as they cannot afford to have their names sullied by project failures.
Buying a property, whether for own occupation or investment, is always a big decision. Much is at stake and one should not rush into it. Take time to do some research, visit the sites, make your own projections for investment returns, ask questions and then, finally, purchase with confidence. Don’t just jump in because there is an MRT station nearby.
Some key locations on our radar and watch list include KLCC, Wangsa Maju and Pandan. They are part of or hinge new commercial areas which will create new jobs. And it is well known that wherever new commercial activities mushroom, the residential sector will also excel.
Hartamas Real Estate (M) Sdn Bhd
CloudHax Series of Articles, June 2015
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