IJM Land banks on niche projects

With a number of lifestyle residential projects in its stable, IJM Land Bhd can look forward to riding out the current soft property market by focusing on its niche projects in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru.

For the financial year ending March 31, 2009 (FY09), the company expects to maintain sales at around RM800mil to RM900mil, especially from new project launches in Penang and Johor Baru, and ongoing developments in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.

Sales hit RM1bil for FY08.

Unless the market takes a turn for the worse, IJM Land is looking at 20 new project launches worth a total gross development value (GDV) of close to RM1bil over the next 12 months.

Managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon said the market slowdown had affected mainly the mass market and lower product segments while the medium-high to high-end sector was still showing potential.

“We will focus on medium, medium-high and high-end products that are priced from RM300,000 to RM7.2mil a unit in good locations,” Soam said.

IJM Land now has more than 60 projects in various parts of the country and is reviewing the launches.

He said should conditions deteriorate, “there is a possibility of holding back some of the projects, which may also include the high priced products if demand falls.”

Soam expects the sales of the medium high-end and high-end properties to mitigate the margin squeeze in the lower-end product segment.

He said one of IJM Land’s strengths was having a broad product range in a geographically diversified market across the country.

“This allows the company the flexibility to tweak its product mix and product specifications to suit the current market conditions.

“We have also been prudent in ensuring our projects are located in prime locations and this has kept our projects in the radar screen of buyers, especially those looking for premier properties,” he pointed out.

Being low-rise and low density, Ampersand located in the highly sought after address in Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur, stands out among the other high-rise condominium developments in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) area.

The 71 luxurious apartments with built up of 3,000 sq ft to 5,800 sq ft are priced from RM3mil to RM7.2mil, or an average price of RM1,200 per sq ft.

The price has almost doubled from the time when the project was first launched early last year. About 50% of the units have been sold to-date and the project will be completed next year.

In Penang, the maiden launch of IJM Land’s flagship project, The Light will take place in the first quarter next year.

The first residential project called The Light Linear to be launched in the first quarter will have a GDV of RM150mil while Light Point with a GDV of RM90mil will be launched few weeks after that.

The Light Linear will have 328 units with built-up from 1,379 to 1,513 sq ft, while the more spacious The Light Point units are from 1,807 to 4,000 sq ft.

The Light, a RM4.5bil residential and commercial development on Penang islands’ eastern coastline, will be developed over 12 years.

The residential precinct will have 1,186 residences, including waterfront villas and condominiums.

The commercial precinct will comprise office buildings, four hotels, retail malls, dining and entertainment facilities, a seafront park, floating restaurants and facilities for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.

In Johor Baru, IJM Land is planning to launch its latest development, Nusa Duta on 127 acres in the Iskandar Development Region by the first half of next year. The RM320mil project will comprise mainly landed properties that are priced from RM300,000.

To tap the foreign market, Soam said IJM Land was also resorting to marketing its high-end residences to participants of Malaysia My Second Home programme.

The maiden event was undertaken recently in Seoul to promote the Pearl Regency project to South Korean buyers.

“There is still good interest for quality Malaysian residential products among the Koreans and we plan to promote some of our other projects there in future,” he added.

Soam said property roadshows would also be held in the Middle Eat and Japan next year.

By ANGIE NG (The Star)

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