Rental Market: Regeneration of Sentul a boon for rental market

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 6, 2022 - June 12, 2022.
Sentul’s rental properties appeal to those who want to live close to the city centre and enjoy access to a wide range of amenities (Photo by Zahid Izzani/The Edge)

Sentul’s rental properties appeal to those who want to live close to the city centre and enjoy access to a wide range of amenities (Photo by Zahid Izzani/The Edge)

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With its long history as a former railway town dating back to the 19th century, Sentul — located just 5km north of the heart of Kuala Lumpur — is today seeing brisk changes to its property landscape, with an increasing number of modern builds and skyscrapers interspersed among older and pre-war buildings.

Since YTL Land & Development Bhd took over the 294-acre Sentul Raya development from Taiping Consolidated Bhd and unveiled the Sentul Masterplan comprising Sentul East and Sentul West, the former railway hub has attracted both homeowners and property investors.

Sentul is also home to the well-known Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, or klpac, which opened in 2005, as well as the more recent Sentul Depot, an ongoing adaptive reuse project by YTL Land. The latter is a creative event space, whose latest addition is upscale food court Tiffin At The Yard, which, at the time of writing, carried F&B brands such as Fratelli’s, Leen’s Middle East Kitchen, Good Blue Men, Minus 4°, HEJAÜ and Coopers by W1.

In addition, residents in Sentul have easy access to an array of amenities in the area ranging from eateries and restaurants to banks, clinics, schools and more.

Henry Butcher Malaysia chief operating officer Tang Chee Meng is cognisant of Sentul’s attraction. “Sentul is an appealing place to live in, as it is in close proximity to the city centre, KLCC and 

Mont’Kiara. There are plenty of amenities around the area.”

Tang: There have been no significant changes in rental demand and rates [in Sentul] in the past four to five years (Photo by Mohd Shahrin Yahya/The Edge)

He adds that Sentul offers many options in terms of public transportation, including the LRT, MRT and KTM, as well as the new and upcoming LRT Line near Sentul Park.

“Accessibility to Sentul is also convenient, as several roads and highways lead to the area, such as the Jalan Duta-Segambut highway, Sentul Link, Duta-Ulu Kelang 

Expressway (DUKE) and Middle Ring Road 2,” he notes.

According to Tang, Sentul’s residential rental market is stable. “There have been no significant changes in rental demand and rates in the past four to five years.”

He observes that high-rise residential units in Sentul attract a mix of owner-occupiers and property investors. “Examples of developments [that are popular among property investors] that have been purchased for rentals are The Fennel, Rica Residences and One Maxim.”

Located in Sentul East, The Fennel is a freehold condominium by YTL Land that was completed in 2017. According to data provided by Tang, rents at The Fennel range from RM2,450 to RM2,600 per month for units with an average floor area of 1,184 sq ft. The property’s average gross yield is 4% over the past two years, he says.

A development under Fajarbaru Builder Group Bhd, the 473-unit Rica Residences Sentul is a freehold serviced apartment completed last year. According to property listings on EdgeProp.my, asking rents at the property range from around RM1,400 for a partially furnished 700 sq ft one-bedder to RM2,600 for a fully furnished 958 sq ft three-bedder.

The 420-unit One Maxim by Maxim Holdings Sdn Bhd is a leasehold serviced apartment located on the corner of Jalan Pelangi 2 and Jalan Sentul Pasar. According to EdgeProp.my, rents start from RM1,350 for an 819 sq ft three-bedder to RM1,800 for a 1,000 sq ft three-bedder.

Tang says landed properties in Sentul are mainly owner-occupied. Nonetheless, average gross yields for such properties over the past two years have typically ranged from 1.9% to 3.2%.

According to him, a 2-storey terraced house with a built-up area of 1,507 sq ft in Taman Kok Lian saw transacted rents of RM1,000 to RM1,300 last year. In the same period, similar properties in Taman Bullion Mewah with a built-up area of 1,604 sq ft recorded rents of RM2,000.

As for 3-storey terraced houses, those measuring 3,046 sq ft in Impiana Sentul Bahagia saw transacted monthly rents of RM2,100 last year, whereas those in Taman Tasik Indah measuring 2,745 sq ft were rented out for RM3,000 per month.

Tang observes that the tenant profile in the area typically comprises a mix of expatriates and young working local professionals with small families. “Sentul appeals to those who would like to live close to the city centre while enjoying access to a wide range of amenities.”

Favoured residential properties for rent in the area are mainly high-rise developments such as The Fennel, The Capers as well as older condominiums such as The Maple, The Saffron and The Tamarind, Tang says. The Capers, The Maple, The Saffron and The Tamarind were also developed by YTL Land.

Completed in 2014 and adjacent to The Fennel, The Capers saw monthly rents of RM2,300 in 2020 for its 1,561 sq ft units. The average gross yield at The Capers was 2.6% in 2020 and 2021, says Tang.

Also located in the trendier Sentul East, The Saffron and The Tamarind saw rents in 2020 ranging from RM2,200 to RM3,000 and RM2,400 to RM2,800 for its 1,744 and 1,345 sq ft units respectively. The Saffron and The Tamarind were completed in 2008 and 2005, respectively. Their average gross yields are 2.7% and 3.1% respectively over the past two years, he notes.

The Maple is situated in the leafier and more upmarket Sentul West, which is home to the private 35-acre Sentul Park. Residents at The Maple enjoy direct access to the park, which was converted from an underused golf course. The public can access parts of the park such as the klpac, Samira by Asian Terrace, Bistro Richard as well as the Sentul Park Koi Centre.

Landed properties in Sentul are mainly owner-occupied, but their average gross yields typically range from 1.9% to 3.2% (Photo by Zahid Izzani/The Edge)

Completed in 2006, The Maple comprises 318 condominium units with built-ups ranging from 1,535 to 1,707 sq ft. In 2020, rents at The Maple ranged from RM3,300 to RM4,800 for 1,539 sq ft units, with an average gross yield of 5%, Tang says.

“Sentul’s residential rental market will remain stable in the mid to long term, as it is still a convenient and desirable place to live in.”

As for commercial properties in Sentul, Tang notes that their estimated yields, based on asking rents, range from 3% to 7%, depending on the property’s location and condition. “Some of the more vibrant commercial centres in the area are along the main Jalan Sentul; at Bandar Baru Sentul, where the UTC and wet market are located; at Sentul Boulevard, where a number of major banks have their branch offices; and Sentul Sinar, which has well-occupied shops.”

He also notes that the stretch of retail podiums that are part of the newer high-rise projects on Jalan Sentul Pasar — Sentul Point, Sentul Village, Vista Sentul and Maxim Citylights — appeal to the younger, more affluent crowd. “Some of the retailers who are located along this stretch include McDonald’s, Subway, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Domino’s Pizza, KFC, Secret Recipe, Giant, CU Mart, Family Mart, Mr DIY, and HSBC Bank.”

He adds that new urban regeneration projects such as Sentul Depot, which is being developed by YTL Land, will provide an exciting amenity and a new landmark for Sentul. “Sentul Depot is poised to become an area for meeting and collaboration, with the ability to host events that will draw the crowds. Sentul has also undergone urban regeneration and offers a much nicer and pleasant living environment today.”