Despite numerous headwinds, the outlook for Malaysia in 2017 remains positive, says real estate consultant Dato’ Sri Gavin Tee.

The landscape of Greater Kuala Lumpur (which includes KL City Centre and its surrounding areas) will completely change starting from 2017 and this will elevate its status to that of a globalised city comparable to other megacities in the region, says Dato’ Seri Gavin Tee, a property consultant.

Tee, who is also Founder and President of Swhengtee International Group says 2017 is a defining year for Greater KL as it will experience the greatest transformation in its history. He has identified 2 major factors that will contribute to its transformation:


By end 2016 or early 2017, Phase One of the MRT Sungai-Buloh-Kajang Line from Sungai Buloh to Semantan will be open to commuters, while Phase Two, from Semantan to Kajang will be operational by July 2017. Collectively called MRT 1, it will have the effect of bringing residents all the way from Sungei Buloh and Kajang to KL city centre speedily and efficiently.

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]Contrary to the common perception that commercial areas along the lines or near intermediate stations will benefit from more customer visits, the MRT in fact will make it easier and faster for residents located at the outskirts to converge into the city centre. This will mean more centralisation in KL City Centre which will benefit commercial properties there but not those that are situated in the outskirts despite being near to the intermediate stations, Tee says.

“What will certainly take place is a restructuring of property prices especially for commercial and medium cost properties,” the international speaker notes, adding that in prime locations like Bukit Bintang, inbound shoppers might even increase by 10 times once all the lines including the MRT 1, 2 and 3 and the LRT lines are completed.

MRT 2 itself, which traverses along Sungei Buloh- Serdang-Putrajaya will serve a corridor with a population of around 2 million while MRT Line 3 is expected to cover some of the busiest areas in Greater KL.

The three MRT lines will be integrated, hence will provide a seamless journey to and fro KL city centre. “As can be seen, all the lines will converge in the heart of KL, hence the MRT will be game-changing in many ways,” says Tee.

“Previously, when we talk about hotspots, we will designate them by the area, for example, Bangsar and Damansara areas. But now, the hotspots are identified by zooming into specific points or clusters, typically located near stations, which may not necessarily be sited at a hotspot location.”


As connectivity improves not only within Malaysia but with neighbouring countries like Singapore (via the Singapore-KL High Speed Rail) and Bangkok (in talks now, part of the Pan-Asian Railway and China’s One Belt, One Road initiative), Malaysia’s stature can only rise as a regional hub. Greater KL will attain globalised city status along with Malaysia’s drive towards developed nation status.

“Just like in Japan and the UK where the population is very urbanised and centralised making Tokyo and London global metropolises, Greater KL will similarly experience such a transformation.”

The impact will be especially pronounced in the price of properties – because prices so far are low in Greater KL and have lagged behind its neighbours, hence, prices will eventually experience an upward shift to align with the global price levels of properties, Tee foresees.

“From 2017, expect prices to see an upturn as Greater KL leaves behind its localised price levels – prices will start to be comparable with other regional cities like Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila and Ho Chi Minh City,” he predicts.

And similar to the effect of the MRT, the Singapore – KL High Speed Rail will benefit Greater KL the most as it attracts traffic from all those areas along the route. For example, Pagoh (where an intermediate station will be built) will not benefit as much as KL while Greater KL will emerge as a regional property hotspot due to it being a regional transport hub for rail and air, Tee says.

The consultant concludes that 2017 is a year to initiate a national restructuring of property prices based on the demand pattern. It will be a year where the price disparity or gap will widen with some properties in the city achieving prices on par with other global cities while others will remain the same. The density will also increase in some areas and will be concentrated in specific clusters or points, and not entire areas/districts. A similar pattern can also be observed in suburban areas and this trend will continue for the next two to three years.


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