Penang properties attractive to foreigners and overseas Penangites

Retiree Frank Kwong, 83, is unable to stand too long or walk much but that did not deter him from visiting the Star Property Fair 2011 — he turned up in a wheelchair even before the fair opened.

“I have been reading about the fair and did not want to miss it,” said Frank, adding that he wanted to be in the know about the latest developments in Penang.

His wife Molly Kwong, 80, said Frank was excited about the fair and could not wait to check out the latest projects and properties offered.

“Knowing that our daughter Cecilia is looking for Penang property, he told her about the fair and got her to bring us here,” said Molly.

Cecilia, 50, a customer sales representative in Connecticut in the United States, said she was looking for a condominium as a holiday home in Penang.

“I’m looking for a comfortable home with a good price. We read about the fair in The Star, and our friends recommended that we check it out,” she said.

She added that the currency exchange rate was also a good reason to invest in properties in Penang.

“Many foreigners are looking for properties here, especially those from colder countries who prefer a warmer climate,” she said.

Touted as Penang’s premier property expo, the Star Property Fair, in its ninth edition, is open daily from 10am to 10pm until Sunday. It is organised by The Star in collaboration with Henry Butcher Malaysia (Penang) Sdn Bhd.

The fair was opened by Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer Ho Kay Tat yesterday.

There are 36 exhibitors filling up the booths at Level 2 of G Hotel, and the ground floor of Gurney Plaza.

In the morning itself, there was already a large crowd despite an hour-long rain in the morning.

Among the visitors who braved the rain were businesswoman Kelly Neoh, 34, with her mother Teh Poh Kim, 61, and sister-in-law Khor Swee Ping, 31, who were looking for investment opportunities.

Neoh said she and Khor, a financial analyst, normally did their research on the companies and properties before checking them out.

“We then check out the booths and make inquiries as to the individual projects.

“Among the things we want to know are how many floors are there in the project, what is the car park like, the range of properties available, whether it is freehold or leasehold, is the project a good investment or a good place to live in, and can it sell within the next three years.

“We also want to know the built-up, how much is the downpayment, what is the base lending rate, what is the proximity among the units, and whether it meets our budget especially now with the 70% loan cap on third properties and above,” she said.

The women were spotted making inquiries at the IJM Land Bhd’s booth at Gurney Plaza, as they felt that IJM Land’s properties were usually snapped up even though they were normally leasehold.

“There’s something special about their design and the developer is established and well-known,” said Khor.

Besides IJM Land, other exhibitors include Ivory Properties Group, Belleview Group, DNP Land Sdn Bhd, Nusmetro Venture (Pg) Sdn Bhd, Sunway Grand Sdn Bhd, Mah Sing Group Bhd, MTT Properties and Development Sdn Bhd, Reka Indah Development (Pg) Sdn Bhd, Ideal Property Sdn Bhd, SP Setia and Boon Siew Group (BSG Property).

There are also Plenitude Heights Sdn Bhd, Triental Land Sdn Bhd, GD Development Sdn Bhd, Lone Pine Group of Companies, ResCom Asia Sdn Bhd, Capitawealth International Sdn Bhd, KPWG International Sdn Bhd, Tambun Indah Development Sdn Bhd, Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd, E&O Bhd and Jalin Realty.

Henry Butcher is also featuring projects by Magna Putih Sdn Bhd and several properties in Australia and England by various developers.

There is also an exhibition of restored heritage buildings carried out by George Town World Heritage Inc at the Salon I function room of G Hotel.

A popular feature of the fair is the series of talks related to property, investment, financing, law, heritage and feng shui. They are being held daily at the stage area at the new wing of Gurney Plaza and in Salon III and IV at G Hotel.

Retiree Christine Teng, 51, said she was accompanying her husband to attend the feng shui talks yesterday to get the opinion of the feng shui experts on real estate properties.

“It’s just for our own knowledge, we may learn something useful,” she said.

Visitors also stand a chance to win prizes totalling RM30,000 in the Surf, Click & Win contest sponsored by IJM Land. Ten prizes are up for grabs daily, including a 32” Samsung LCD television, Acer Iconia Tabs, Samsung Galaxy Tabs and Parkson vouchers. To participate, simply cut out the ‘Surf, Click & Win’ coupon in The Star which will appear in the newspaper until Sunday.

There will also be daily cut-out coupons in The Star until Sunday for redemption of a mystery gift each at The Star circulation booth on the ground floor of Gurney Plaza’s new wing on a first-come-first-served basis.

Hong Leong Bank Bhd is sponsoring RM5,000 worth of mystery gifts. - by David Tan, Priscilla Dielenberg, Tan Sin Chow, Fong Kee Soon and Kiatisak Chua (The Star)

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