Shift in housing trends in Sarawak

Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok.

KUCHING: In Sarawak’s property market, there seems to be a shift in housing trends from landed to high-rise properties such as apartments and condominiums.

This can be attributed to various reasons and each property type offers different advantages which should be weighed by potential home owners exploring the residential property market.

Sim Kiang Chiok

“In my personal view, apartments and condominiums are gaining popularity due to their affordability, better location, convenience, security, as well as facilities,” said Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Sheda) Kuching branch chairman Sim Kiang Chiok.

He said that landed properties such as single- or double-storey terrace houses were also in high demand, but these cost more than stratified properties due to the land cost; developers are able to build less landed properties per unit of land compared to strata-titled properties.

“Presently in Sarawak, per acre, we can build 10 landed units versus 30 units for strata-titled properties,” he told New Sarawak Tribune when interviewed yesterday.

He pointed out that one would find more strata properties closer to the city centre and more landed ones further away due to the cost of land.

According to Sim, apartment pricing these days could range from RM290,000 for 900 sq ft units under the Sri Pertiwi affordable housing programme to over RM1.2mil for a penthouse in a condominium with facilities such as a private pool.

Brandon Chew Wui Pin

Real estate negotiator Brandon Chew Wui Pin cited similar prices, saying that a one- or two-bedroom apartment could cost from RM280,000 to RM350,000 while three-bedroom units tended to start from RM388,000 upwards.

Comparing both types of properties, both Sim and Chew said that security was one of the main advantages of apartments or condominiums over landed properties.

“Apartments usually have security controls at the main entrance, lobby of the building, and at the lifts; they have the ‘lock up and go’ convenience. Meanwhile, landed properties usually do not have communal security and would have to rely on their own security measures,” said Sim.

Chew said that there was less hassle with high-rise property maintenance as occupants would only have to pay the monthly management fee for upkeep.

“With apartments, there is no need to do gardening or repainting. The public image of the building is handled by the management as well,” he added.

On the other hand, Sim pointed out that some high-rise properties imposed a restriction on pets, while landed properties did not have such a restriction.

“Those in landed homes also have their own car porch, while those living in apartments would have to park their cars in communal carparks,” he said.

He further said that landed property owners would not have to pay a management fee, just the local council assessment fee.

Chew said, “Another advantage of landed properties is they usually have more space and they would experience faster capital appreciation.”