Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Bus Rapid Transit and property values

After the recent launch of the Sunway BRT line, there will be several more BRT lines coming up - they are cheaper and faster to build as they utilise existing roads.

So far I have only used the BRT in Bangkok - they only have 1 line so far and it has been running for some time now. Wonder why they haven't continued with more though?

I guess there are certain challenges with Bangkok with the road width in the more densely populated areas, there isn't much leeway for a BRT line to take up more road space because the original road is fairly narrow as BKK is a very old city.

Anyway, looking at the BRT plan for KL, it looks interesting - the only areas it doesn't seem to cover are the affluent neighbourhoods of Damansara Heights, Bangsar and Mont'Kiara.

Also, looks like the Government is making the hard decision to take up 2 lanes on the MRR2 from Melawati to Jln Ampang - this stretch is jammed in the morning and will be worse with only 2 lanes for traffic instead of 3. Still, it should "force" people to take the BRT into town instead of driving in.

So will this increase property values? I believe it will for some areas - I think some of the older areas along Jln Pahang (where 1 line is due to be ready in 2017) would benefit. They are currently languishing due to congestion and whatnot... perhaps there might be a renewal and gentrification as these neighbourhoods are still relatively "cheap" in relation to their proximity to the town centre.

I also think the BRT will be a rationalising factor in the rebalancing of property prices - at the moment, I believe the value of KL properties - especially those in the ring between Jln Tun Razak (the Inner Ring Road) and the MRR2 (the Middle Ring Road) - is undervalued in comparison to the properties in the outer suburbs. Granted that the outer suburbs are better planned but ultimately, if one is a white collar professional / executive, your workplace is going to be in KL. You might as well live in town for a shorter commute and with the extensive BRT (no jam, people! dedicated bus lane!), it might just get easier.

There is much value in a shorter commute - there is less stress, less time taken to travel, more productive, able to reach home faster and earlier - everyone benefits. And with that value, comes the willingness to pay for a place on that line.

The LRT and MRT benefits those in the outer suburbs, the BRT is a long-overdue solution to the original KL dwellers - so glad that it is finally happening!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


Alamak!! 2 months without any new posts - no new property launches that seemed interesting although I have been receiving sms ads from unknown agents; nothing catching my eye.

Been so busy at work..

Anyway, the good thing about being so busy is that I find I hardly spend money - except for a recent holiday with my sisters and that didn't cost too much, had a great time!

So with the new job's salary and me not spending much, have cleared off the renovation OD balance which was on FD anyway and thus, no more debt apart from the monthly credit card bills - not too much there, can settle.

Now the things to consider are:

  1. Should I settle the car loans in one go now or just continue paying - only 6 months to go on 1 car and a year on the 2nd one? Total o/s is about 30k. 
  2. Should I buy another property and what should it be? An apartment up in the hills like Bentong or Gohtong Jaya seems appealing for retirement but it is ultimately a luxury because one would hardly use it now and perhaps it is better to wait until then to see if I really want to move there
  3. Should I get a new car to take advantage of my staff privilege?
  4. How should I diversify my portfolio? I'm notoriously bad at it and tend to go for exotic stuff which so far isn't too bad... my vanilla unit trust investments have bombed.
  5. Should I dollar-cost-average and buy some gold to bring down the unit cost of my precious metal portfolio?
  6. Why do I always drag my feet doing the above things? Arrgh!

Ah well.. lets think some more about these ... happy problem, happy problem

Friday, 1 May 2015

Ethics and Property Investment

Recently, I got to know that an acquaintance of mine is now a hot shot property investor - well, he has been doing so for the past number of years so I'm not surprised.

And he's still quite young too, in his mid 30's and said to have accumulated more than RM10 million worth of property.

Kudos to him and he's also now giving talks on how to do so...

Now this is where the ethics part comes in - he's still working for a financial institution.

The rules are that you can still have a second job or a direct interest in a business outside of banking provided you declare it and it doesn't affect your work nor should there be a conflict of interest.

E.g. you can be a TV ad model / actor - not an issue

However, seems that he's giving talks on how to get bank loans easily to buy lots of property in a short time. Now, I can guess how it can be done but I can't bring myself to do it - simply because it is not particularly ethical.

So anyway, dear reader, you may well argue that it is a risk that both the buyer and the financier takes together, and I do agree with that to a certain degree.... ah.. but somehow, something gives me the impression that this is not right.

Buyer beware if you are going to attend such talks and participate in what they ask you to do. Please go in with both eyes open and without negative emotion such as "since banks always cheat me then I can cheat them back" - something which is sadly very prevalent and just Not True. Banks won't intentionally cheat you, BNM is very strict on that.

There are certainly cheating cases such as wrong investment sales pushing that causes customers to lose money or embezzlement of funds - these do happen but it is caused by individuals, not the Bank's policy to do so.

Ah well, as I said, something doesn't sit well with me - think I will invest the old fashioned way - slowly but surely...

UPDATE: Heard he's been suspended from work