"WE don't usually sell our products cheaply," says YNH Property Bhd head of corporate services Daniel Chan. The company that developed most of Sitiawan and Manjung in Perak is also associated with luxurious investment properties and big-ticket commercial developments in prime parts of Kuala Lumpur, such as Fraser Place at Jalan Perak and Lot 188 at Jalan Sultan Ismail, where its Frasers Hospitality-operated suites with guaranteed rental returns can fetch over a million ringgit.
Despite its "jual mahal" philosophy, YNH Property is venturing into a new market in terms of price and geography. The company will launch its first medium-cost homes in the Greater Klang Valley within the next two to three months — Summit Residences in Seri Kembangan, a part of the fashionably named Puchong South.
"Why Puchong South? We were offered a good piece of land and we also think this is a good time to look outside Kuala Lumpur," he tells City & Country.
This mixed-use development comprising shopoffices and serviced apartments will come up on a three-acre leasehold site near AEON Seri Kembangan, Tempo Properties Sdn Bhd's The Atmosphere and the wholesale market. The site is within Bandar Putra Permai and is connected to three highways, namely the Maju Expressway (MEX), South Klang Valley Expressway and Bukit Jalil Highway. "With the MEX highway, you can get to KL in 30 minutes even with a traffic jam," says Chan.
The Summit Residences will comprise serviced apartments atop an 11-storey parking and commercial podium, which will have six units of 7-storey shopoffices and eight two-storey shopoffices. "We named this project 'Summit Residences' because it will be among the tallest developments in Puchong, at over 30 storeys. Residents of units facing the north can see all the way to Sunway. That's pretty far," Chan comments.
About 88 of the serviced residences will have built-ups from 1,800 to 2,000 sq ft while the rest will be 950 sq ft. All the units will be partly-furnished with built-ins such as air conditioning, wardrobes, cabinets, cooking hobs, washing machines and dryers. "In fact, the only things tenants need to bring with them when they move in are their beds, sofas and TVs," says Chan. Each unit also comes with two parking bays.
"We did not want to make shoebox units because we want to accommodate small families. They are also more affordable. In places like Damansara Perdana or Kepong, 400 sq ft apartments will cost over RM300,000 already! It is also near a commercial area, so this is where the value comes in [because of the convenience]."
The price of the units range from RM460 to RM550 psf before the early bird discount — the amount of which Chan declines to divulge — is applied. He notes that the bigger units are priced cheaper on a psf basis.
Chan claims that almost 600 former customers, staff and business associates have registered their interest just two weeks after YNH Property began its registration exercise. "Some of these buyers have expressed an interest in taking up whole floors. That's nine units each. Therefore, we are confident that one block will be fully taken up around the launch," he chuckles.
Likewise, the shopoffices beneath the apartments have also been well-received. Five of the six 7-storey shopoffices have been taken up while half of the eight units of 2-storey shopoffices have been sold or booked, he says.
According to Chan, the taller units are more popular due to their larger built-ups and the inclusion of a lift. The taller units will have built-ups of 13,000 sq ft while the shorter units will have a built-up of over 6,000 sq ft.
"Chinese investors like shopoffices because of the good returns. In fact, my bosses are saving some units for themselves. If you look at the rental of shoplots at The Atmosphere, the rents are not cheap."
Chan estimates that the shoplots' ground floor can command around RM7,000 to RM8,000 of rent per month, while its first floor can rake in around RM2,000 to RM2,800. Meanwhile, the higher floors can be rented out for RM2,000 to RM2,800. "Our buildings have seven floors so the returns should be better!" he laughs.
Work on the Summit Residences will begin soon and the project is expected to be completed by 2016.
YNH Property is also building a 46-storey mixed-use development in Bangsar South, which will feature two residential towers atop a podium, housing most of its parking bays and a retail floor. This development is expected to be launched sometime in 2014.
"We thought this parcel was nothing to shout about when we acquired it years ago because back then, this place was Kampung Kerinchi, but then Bangsar South happened and it has taken off! So now our earlier GDV (gross development value) estimation of RM100 million has been revised to between RM500 million and RM650 million. That's not bad!" says Chan.
There will be four types of units — their built-ups will range from 600 to 1,052 sq ft. One of the more interesting — and cheaper on a psf basis — units is the 1,052 sq ft duplexes, says Chan. The unit is split into two almost identical floors (one has a void space for overall spaciousness) with separate entrances.
"I think this will sell well because you can rent out the top floor while staying there, or rent out both separately. So if you are an investor, this is what you will go for because it is the biggest, yet cheaper on a psf basis," he points out.
While YNH Property has not firmed up the prices because it has yet to get the project off the ground, Chan opines that benchmark prices of high-rise homes in Bangsar South have hit RM1,000 psf with the recent launch of the Southview serviced apartments.
Other lifestyle facilities on the eighth floor include pools, a gymnasium and a barbeque pit.
Over at Genting Highlands, YNH Property owns 100 acres of land near Genting Malaysia Bhd's Resorts World Genting hilltop entertainment centre. The company plans to transform this site into a complementary development with its first phase comprising holiday homes.
"We are looking at East Asians, anybody who is interested in owning holiday homes actually … what sets us apart from other local holiday homes is Genting's cool climate, and nearby is the 18-hole Awana Genting Highlands Golf and Country Resort.
"One of our proposals is that our buyers stay for part of the year, while we can help lease their properties out on their behalf during the rest of the year," Chan says.
The real estate developer also aims to set up a real estate investment trust (REIT) since it owns a number of investment properties.
It owns buildings in Manjung, Perak — that are leased out to AEON Co (M) Bhd and Giant Supermarket Sdn Bhd, and has more properties in the pipeline such as Pantai Hospital Manjung, the 45-storey, 1.2 million sq ft net lettable area Menara YNH — part of Lot 188 at Jalan Sultan Ismail, and the 3-storey, 300,000 sq ft retail podium at Kiara 163 in Mont' Kiara.
"The Employees Provident Fund and other institutions have approached us to buy our properties in Manjung, but we don't want to sell because we can get a 7% to 8% yield, so that's very good already," says Chan.
He adds that the company plans to list a portfolio worth US$3 billion (RM9.68 billion) within the next five years.
Besides its REIT, YNH Property is still sitting on close to 40 acres of land in the Klang Valley, with a conservatively-estimated GDV of RM2 billion. This includes a 30-acre tract near Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd's KL Metropolis.
Declining to reveal further plans, he quips: "Next time, we will have more nice developments that will surprise the market."
It looks like YNH Property's multi-billion ringgit developments will keep it occupied for at least the next five years.
This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of August 5-11, 2013.