Affordability and comfort in a compact space

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on November 6, 2017 - November 12, 2017.

What is attractive to the buyers is that it is a freehold development that offers 2-storey landed homes in a strategic location.” — Anwar

Anwar (third from left) with The Edge Media Group publisher and group CEO Ho Kay Tat, City & Country editor Rosalynn Poh and managing director and editor-in-chief Au Foong Yee

The cabana and gym equipment at Bayu Nusantara

Units of Perumahan Komuniti Johor Type B

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Merit | Bayu Nusantara | UEM Sunrise Bhd

For UEM Sunrise Bhd, which is best known as the developer of high-end township Mont’Kiara in the Klang Valley, the southern region remains a key property development area as that is where most of its land bank is located.

The developer has about 10,162 acres of undeveloped land, some of which is jointly owned, in Iskandar Puteri, Desaru, Kulai and Mersing in Johor.

Despite its extensive experience in building upmarket properties, the developer is also committed to constructing homes for the low to medium-income group in the country, thus aligning itself with the country’s agenda to increase affordable housing.

Its commitment paid off when its freehold, affordable housing project, Bayu Nusantara in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, won a merit award under The Edge Malaysia Affordable Urban Housing Excellence Award 2017, which recognises outstanding affordable housing projects for the urban middle-income group, undertaken wholly by Malaysia’s private-sector property developers.

Affordable landed homes

Bayu Nusantara is part of the 258-acre Nusa Bayu, which sits at the intersection of Pontian Link and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link. UEM Sunrise managing director and CEO Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib says the 19.88-acre development consists of 351 affordable landed properties and has a gross development value of RM49.5 million.

There are 241 two-storey terraced homes under Rumah Mampu Milik Johor, 

80 two-storey terraced homes under Perumahan Komuniti Johor Type B and 30 one-storey shoplots. The award takes only residential units into consideration.

Launched in March 2014, the terraced homes under Rumah Mampu Milik Johor (land size: 18ft by 60ft; built-up: 1,000 sq ft) were priced at RM150,000 each while the terraced homes under Perumahan Komuniti Johor (16ft by 55ft; 850 sq ft) went for RM80,000 each. Each home comes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Bayu Nusantara is in line with the Johor government’s goal to make homeownership easier for all segments of society, thanks to the developer’s experience in creating townships, and residential and integrated developments.

“Bayu Nusantara is an affordable project, so the price is fixed,” says Anwar. “The launch was officiated at by Johor Chief Minister Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin. The offering was done via balloting where the chief minister presented certificates of entitlement to purchase to eligible buyers. At the time, SUK Bahagian Perumahan Negeri Johor also took the opportunity to register eligible purchasers’ interest in other affordable housing projects developed by UEM Sunrise.”

He adds that the buyers were mostly those with a monthly household income of between RM4,000 and RM5,000, and comprised Johoreans, first-time homebuyers and young couples. As at Aug 31, 2017, the take-up rate for Bayu Nusantara was 93%.

The development received its certificate of completion and compliance in June last year.

Anwar says Bayu Nusantara’s concept is based on the combined elements of comfort, affordability, conducive living environment, modern lifestyle within a compact space and provision of ready-to-connect fibre-optic broadband and water heater points.

He adds that some 14.37% of the development comprises green space, compared with the requirement of 10%. It also provides various facilities such as an outdoor gym, children’s playground, gazebo, domestic shopping experience and a food court.

“What is attractive to the buyers is that it is a freehold development that offers 2-storey landed homes in a strategic location coupled with common facilities and extra green space,” he says.

UEM Sunrise also did not sacrifice quality for affordability. Bayu Nusantara scored 72% on the Quality Assessment System in Construction, which Anwar attributes to the company’s standard operating procedures, from the initiation to the post vacant possession stages.

“With clear and complete processes and procedures, we were able to ensure that all the trades were done correctly the first time,” he explains. “We also maintained the same experienced and competent development team from the planning to the execution stages to ensure a strong understanding of the products, and to take full responsibility for the whole life cycle of the project. Our procurement processes also ensured that we appointed performing contractors and a supervisory team.”

He adds that the development team initiated the Home Ownership Programme, under which team members from other projects collaborated to check the quality of the construction work.

To avoid variations, which result in additional costs, all architect and engineer instructions needed to be justified before they could be implemented at the site. This encouraged a high level of accuracy output in all construction trades.

Of course, Anwar notes, developing Bayu Nusantara was not without its problems, which included unexpected bad soil conditions, shortage of material supply by utility provider and difficulties in getting end financing.

“For bad soil conditions, the solution was for the geotechnical and structural engineers to come up with a suitable foundation design. We also revised the phasing plan to accommodate delivery of materials in view of the short supply,” he explains.

The developer also collaborated with the Johor government and financial institutions to facilitate loan applications.