Jetsetters and trendsetters in their own right, these next generation developers travel the world in search of inspiration for their projects.

By Yvonne Yoong

The young next generation developers are a well-travelled lot. Having gone far and being exposed to various overseas lifestyle developments, they are infusing global trends, concepts and ideas into their developments to benefits the local real estate scene. In this exclusive interview, YES paper delves behind the scenes to gauge their future directions. Close on the heels of Visit Malaysia 2020 peeking upon the horizon, and buoyed by optimism despite an overall sluggish market sentiment, here’s how they are seizing the silver lining to turn the property market around.

BENJAMIN LEE – Head of Subsidiary, Kia Ace Development Sdn Bhd

Next generation developer Benjamin Lee may be young but he has already proven himself to be an astute force to be reckoned with – backed by a track record of robust sales for three successive phases since the inception of Kia Ace Development Sdn. Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of UMLand Berhad, in the township of Mahkota Hills.
“Competition is going to be more intense, especially when industry players are competing for the same market segment through aggressive pricing strategies. But, not all competition is bad as it forces developers to be creative in order to survive. The market is savvy enough to discern value so giving the market new and innovative homes so that buyers can be house-proud is key,” he says.
“We’ve done comprehensive market studies to research evolving tastes and lifestyle changes. Then, we optimise layouts so buyers choose to purchase our houses as they identify with them. The Rent-to-Own (RTO) schemes sounds promising but we have yet to understand how this programme will be implemented. Hopefully. Tourism Malaysia 2020 will attract more visitors to Malaysia and correspondingly, the demand for short-term lease accommodations,” he maintains.
“Malaysia is blessed with many beautiful and scenic destinations. If marketed properly globally, we can see a much-needed influx of tourism dollars to stimulate the economy. More tourist arrivals is good news for UMLand’s hotel portfolio and our own developer-operated serviced apartment accommodations.”

Do you travel for inspiration for your projects?

I’ve been blessed to be able to represent my company on many overseas tours to visit international development and construction consortiums, gone on factory visits, study tours, business network exchanges and participated in regional awards.
I love experiencing new cultures, exploring fresh concepts and applying them to our company philosophy and product design. It’s not only about getting inspiration for design or architecture; but to benchmark our products and service standards against the world’s best.
Philosophically. I feel that travelling as pretty similar to running any business. At the end of the day, business is about making choices within limited resource constraints such as time and money. Preparedness and research prior to going on voyage or launching new products is key to overcoming uncertainty. Adaptability about making decisions based on situational changes is also necessary as the business environment/ weather can affect end outcomes.

What’s next on your travel list?

My next travel adventure hopefully, would be to do a round-the-world trip. I plan to stop by Scandinavia to learn more about their sustainable development designs and see the Northern Lights in their full glory.

Future trend for properties?

Properties will become more ingratiated with technology. With the age of technology upon us, lifestyle and spending patterns will change.
Customization may become the rule instead of the exception. As the world becomes more connected via the Internet, the common belief of buying a house to settle down as an advantage, swiftly becomes a hindrance to social mobility as one’s career may require migration to a different place or country altogether.
Rules and regulations from the government and financial institutions must be progressive enough to rethink home ownership issues in their entirety.

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