Penang-based Tah Wah Group, a new name on the state’s property development scene, hopes to build its reputation by offering quality homes on the mainland. Following the maiden launch of its Orange Villa residential development in Bukit Mertajam, Seberang Perai, earlier this year, it is set to make Orange Villa 2 available to the public come October.
The 5.2-acre freehold gated and guarded Orange Villa 2, located adjacent to Orange Villa, has a gross development value (GDV) of RM41 million. It comprises 74 strata-titled 2½-storey terraced houses with an average built-up of 2,800 sq ft. Indicative prices are between RM530,000 and RM550,000.
Meanwhile, Orange Villa has seen a take-up of 80%. With a GDV of RM85 million, it comprises 142 terraced, semi-detached houses and bungalows. The 10-acre freehold development is also gated and guarded and has a clubhouse and such facilities as a swimming pool, sauna, function hall and gymnasium. The bungalows (built-up: 4,850 sq ft), of which there are only two, are priced at RM1.35 million while the terraced homes (built-up: from 1,582 sq ft) cost RM592,800 onwards. The semidees (built-up: from 2,270 sq ft) are going for RM797,800.
Tah Wah Group managing director and major shareholder Datuk Hong Yeam Wah, who is a Butterworth boy, tells City & Country that strata developments are the current trend in the area. Buyers not only seek an improved lifestyle, but also security, he adds. Needless to say, Tah Wah’s developments are touted as having both a secure and relaxed environment with recreational facilities for the residents to enjoy.
“The location of Orange Villa 2 is a pull factor. We are just eight minutes from the Penang Bridge and five minutes to Auto City near the Juru Interchange. Basically, we believe our location, concept, quality and pricing are attractive,” says Hong, adding that he believes the Orange Villa and Orange Villa 2 homes are reasonably priced for the Bukit Mertajam area.
Hong is not exactly new to the property development fraternity. He has been in the industry for over 20 years and was previously a director of listed Penang-based property developer Tambun Indah Land Bhd. He resigned from Tambun Indah last year to set up Tah Wah, but still holds some shares in the former.
Since setting up Tah Wah, Hong has been buying land around Seberang Perai, including in Butterworth and Bukit Mertajam.
“The property market here [on the mainland], in terms of development land, is on an uptrend as there is limited strategic land available. This is especially so in nearby areas such as Bagan Lalang and Bagan Ajam. Land prices here have definitely shot up over the years.
“For example, I purchased the land for Orange Villa early last year at RM30 psf. Recently, the land just beside ours was transacted at RM50 psf. Along my office [in Jalan Kampung Gajah in Butterworth), I bought a 40,000 sq ft plot for RM75 psf to build our 3-storey corporate office in the middle of 2011.
“Land prices depend on the shape of the land and location and in Butterworth, the average is probably RM80 psf. By comparison, land in Pulau Tikus on Penang island is going for around RM400 psf,” he explains.
Prices of landed properties in Penang, both on the island and the mainland, are rising due to rising land costs, Hong points out. “Perhaps for properties selling at RM1,000 psf, [developers] must be careful, but for those around RM400 psf or RM500 psf, the demand is there. It is difficult to buy a terraced house on Penang island and in town due to a lack of supply. Similarly, here in Butterworth, since Chinese New Year, I have noticed only one landed property launch. It was in Bagan Lalang — terraced homes for RM658,000.”
Fook Tone Huat, senior manager at Henry Butcher Malaysia (Seberang Perai) Sdn Bhd, was reported as saying earlier this year that the prices of residential property in Seberang Perai could increase 10% this year. He said there was demand in both the landed and high-rise segments. “More high-rise projects are expected in town areas in view of the high land cost and encouraging demand from the younger generation as well as those from the middle-income group. More residential developments are expected in the suburbs at Alma and Simpang Ampang in view of the cheaper land prices there and their strategic location near commercial centres.”
Tah Wah is looking to launch at least three more projects on the mainland next year with a total GDV of over RM154 million. Among them are two projects in Sungai Puyu, Butterworth. One is a gated and guarded landed residential development on a 10-acre parcel to be launched early next year with a GDV of RM89 million. This project is just seven minutes from the Butterworth Ferry Terminal. The other comprises 20 semidees on a 2.5-acre parcel with a GDV of RM14 million.
In Bagan Ajam, Tah Wah has two adjoining parcels of commercial land that add up to eight acres on which Hong plans to build a high-rise mixed-use development. “It will most probably be 12 to 13-storey-high residences with shoplots,” he remarks. There are plans for 125 condos and 14 shoplots with a GDV of RM51 million. The condos (built-up: between 1,300 and 1,800 sq ft) have an indicative average price of RM300,000.
Also planned for launch next year is a high-rise commercial project in Jalan Ong Yi How in Raja Uda, Butterworth. The 5.5-acre parcel is close to the Chung Ling High School. Hong says there are plans for a mixed-use development comprising two blocks of apartments (300 units) and 15 shoplots.
The developer also acquired one of the biggest pieces of development land (28 acres) at an auction in Butterworth recently, but is unable to reveal further information pending legal issues. The tract is close to the proposed tunnel link from Bagan Ajam to Eastern & Oriental’s Seri Tanjung Pinang.
This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 924, Aug 20-26, 2012