Mont Kiara Property Primer

Mont Kiara

The posh enclave of Mont Kiara all started with the vision of one man — Datuk Alan Tong. Tong is the man behind the transformation of Mont Kiara, then called the estate of Segambut, from being a land filled with rubber estates to a luxurious address filled with high-end condominiums and classy apartments.

Mont Kiara is the premier address of residential towers, with its gigantic buildings lining up the sky majestically at night. The entire land area measures more than 450 acres, and its population as recorded back in 2010 exceeds 10,400. Its community is made up of mostly expatriates and affluent locals, all attracted to Mont Kiara’s classy vibe and the lavish lifestyle it provides.

Logo of Sunrise

Sunrise – the pioneer developer of Mont Kiara

Datuk Alan Tong is Malaysia’s “KL Condo King”—a title very well-honored, as he single handedly bought more than 100 acres of rubber estate because of a vision of pioneering a series of high-rise residential units all located in one luxury address—Mont Kiara. Not bad for a man who thought he would be happy if he could end up “designing some bungalows” upon his graduation from the University of Sydney in 1959 with a degree in architecture.

Tong’s vision became reality when he found Sunrise (now merged with UEM to form UEM Sunrise). The company then developed condominiums in the Mont Kiara vicinity in the 90s.

Early condominiums in Mont Kiara included Mont Kiara Palma, Mont Kiara Pines, Mont Kiara Sophia, Mont Kiara Astana, and Mont Kiara Pelangi. These are clustered along Jalan Kiara and Jalan Kiara 1, forming the “heart” of Mont Kiara as it is commonly identified now. As far as Walkability is concerned, these first batch of Mont Kiara condominiums are indeed top notch.

Sunrise also developed the venerable retail-office complex Plaza Mont Kiara – (once?) famous for its weekend flea markets and yearly jazz festivals, although it has shown some decline in the recent years. Rental rates for its offices have also been rather flat for some time now.

Plaza Mont Kiara

Plaza Mont Kiara is showing its age (12+ year old) despite some revamping done in the recent years

A string of top-class condominiums soon began to rise. In 1996, Tong left Sunrise and started his own company with his son. Bukit Kiara Properties (BKP) was formed, catering to the upper class market, with its five-star residential units such as Hijauan Kiara and the Verve Suites, also located within the vicinity of Mont Kiara.

However, the “new” generation of Mont Kiara condominiums seems to attract speculators on the prowl for flipping opportunities (employing strategies like what we have covered in our “how to flip properties” mini-guide). This has somewhat contributed to the fairly recent hike in property prices in Mont Kiara across the board.

Asia Quest is known as the “other” Mont Kiara developer, with a respectable roster consisting of Gateway Kiaramas (reviewed here), Vista Kiara, Lanai Kiara and the cluster of condominiums in the Kiaramas area in the east of Mont Kiara – Cendana, Ayuria and Sutera.

Mont Kiara Property Overview

Here’s a quick overview on how properties are doing in the Mont Kiara enclave. We look at Mont Kiara Palma, one of the earliest condominiums to be completed in the area. A common unit measures at 1,500 square feet, and it sold for RM300+ per square feet back in 2003. Fast forward to 2012, these units are selling at an estimated price of RM550 per square feet— about 80% increase for the last decade. Rental yield is about 6 to 6.5% as it currently stands.

Subsale prices are increasing for a sample of Mont Kiara condominiums

Subsale prices are increasing for a sample of Mont Kiara condominiums: Banyan, Sophia, Damai, Bayu, Palma.

Many other Mont Kiara properties also registered similar gains, although to a lesser degree.

Transacted prices for Mont Kiara Damai back in 2004 were slightly below RM500 per square feet, then jumped to RM650+ per square feet nearly eight years later, registering a rather “modest” 30% gain over the period. 10 Mont Kiara (also known more popularly as MK10), another Sunrise project, registered smaller capital gain of around 15% in three years.

However, it’s not completely hunky dory for Mont Kiara properties; the financial crisis in 2008-2009 had taken a toll on upmarket properties in areas such as KLCC and Mont Kiara. Sub-sale prices have been rather flat until 2011, while rental rates have been flat from 2010 (see the accompanying charts). However, rates and prices have been reportedly creeping up in the first half of 2013, and we here at GoodPlace.my are monitoring this closely. You’ll be the first to know about the changes if you sign up for the GoodPlace Digest (do it here).

Post the 2008-10 dip in the Mont Kiara property market, development of new condominiums are now back in full swing.

Mont Kiara RentalIn the spotlight are One Mont Kiara and Kiara 163, both situated at possibly the last remaining tracts of land at the super premium “heart” of Mont Kiara – on Jalan Kiara between Plaza Mont Kiara and Villa Mont Kiara.

The rumored “Sun Kiara” development on Jalan Kiara 5 – between Verve Suites and Casa Kiara 2 – remains just that – a rumour 1. Kiara 163’s 580+ serviced apartments will be serviced by the management of Swiss-BelHotel according to PropertyReviews.my 2, capitalizing on the current trend of branded luxury developments in Kuala Lumpur.

Sunway Vivaldi was completed in 2011 with rather large units (2,600 sq ft and above) with correspondingly large price tags (RM2.5+ million). Verve Suites on Jalan Kiara 5 – now in various stages of completion – seem to be another home run for Bukit Kiara Properties with median sub sale price tag breaching the RM1,000 psf price point – the level of KLCC condominiums.

It’s certainly a buyer’s market right now in Mont Kiara, and for that reason there are good deals to be had. There are, however, a large clutter of listings at online property portals which makes it difficult to look for legitimate units for rent or for sale. Check out our DealMatcher service (free) for a better way to search.

The Community in a Glance

Mont Kiara has definitely acknowledged its residents need for luxury, convenience, and comfort. Take a quick stroll around the vicinity and you’ll find yourself in the middle of hip and trendy shopping malls, upscale dining restaurants, cosy cafes, and other places of recreation. The rising number of expatriates living in the area has prompted international schools to make Mont Kiara their home, too—just look at Garden International School, and the Mont Kiara International School.

Get onboard the Mont Kiara fun ride!

Get onboard the Mont Kiara fun ride!

A fun and relaxed community spirit envelopes the Mont Kiara enclave. Community centres are built for residents to interact and hold activities to keep the community closer. Sunrise also organised the Sunrise Community Fun Ride—a shuttle to accommodate residents to go around top destinations such as Solaris Mont Kiara, Solaris Dutamas, and Plaza Mont Kiara, free of charge.

Occupancy Rates

Mont Kiara’s (low-ish) occupancy rates have always been a conscientious issue among buyers; we can verify from industry figures that the occupancy of Mont Kiara properties have indeed been on a downward slope. It used to be around 80% a couple of years ago, and has since reduced to around 65-70% in the recent months. This trend could be attributed to the following –

  1. Oversupply arising from new properties further away from the “first tier” area of Jalan Kiara 1.
  2. Mont Kiara is a hotbed for investors apart from the genuine home buyers which means that units could stay unoccupied for a longer period of time.
  3. Purchase of expatriates are often more ‘cumbersome’ and could take a longer time. Note than there’s a 60/40 split in terms of demographics of Mont Kiara in the favour of the locals.
  4. Capital appreciation is good, and so some investors do not mind not renting the units out.

With rental yield taking a beating it’s important for the investor to do the due diligence before committing to a buy. Learn how to calculate rental yield here, and check if there are opportunities for cashflow generation here.

What Lies Ahead

One would notice how rental prices in Mont Kiara’s condominiums suffered slight drops, due to the fact that there was a global economic slowdown in 2008 and in 2009 that affected expatriates in Malaysia.

MK11 picture

The mighty MK11 – one of the newer condominiums in Mont Kiara

Since Mont Kiara is thriving with expatriates, its community dwindled in numbers, as these expats made a choice to leave Malaysia. However, Mont Kiara’s appeal did not slow down—there are a lot of developments still slated to rise in the near future, with even more facilities and amenities—all the luxury wants and needs.

With all its shopping malls, entertainment hubs, and dining spots, Mont Kiara will not have a difficult time attracting potential investors and residents. Its posh skyscrapers and residential condominiums will always be sought-after—as the demand never seems to vanish. Expect more to come out from Mont Kiara in the near future. All that “over-development” talk is, frankly, rubbish.

There is no denying however that there is an increasing supply, and the prospective tenant and buyer are spoiled for choice these days. Additionally, condominiums in Mont Kiara compete for the same pool as Bangsar and KLCC properties.

However, Mont Kiara’s self-contained, “homely” feel, emphasis on security as well as the presence of several international schools in the enclave would remain as its unique selling points. It also seems to have hit the “sweet spot” of attracting expatriates with mid-level allowances between RM5,000 – 10,000.

Also, land is running out in Mont Kiara ‘proper’, but there has been some rebranding of sorts going on in Segambut; the area is now being marketed as “North Kiara”. New developments like Concerto (by BCB) and Verdana (BRDB) are here, while Mah Sing’s Icon Residence is located on the artery connecting Mont Kiara with North Kiara. The integration of Segambut into Mont Kiara is bound to happen, and so there will be no “shortage” of land as we see in the KLCC enclave and in Bangsar.


 

  1. The domain SunKiara.com was getting auctioned for $800. Don’t think they’re coming back
  2. See http://propertyreviews.my/kiara-163/
About Khai Yin

When I am not writing for GoodPlace.my and helping my readers find properties though the DealMatcher service, I spend time doting on my three kids: Wenyi, Qinyi and Eian. My personal stuff, some published essays and contact details can be found at khaiyin.com

Comments

  1. Hey there – great article and one of the only few on neighbourhoods in KL! Where did you get the population estimates as 10,400 in 2010??

Speak Your Mind

*