Anyone favouring a landed property within the Penang island? With this question, I can see majority putting up their hands but a few would then ask, which part of Penang island? If it’s Greenlane, I can see 10 / 10. If it’s in Sungai Ara, suddenly, half of the ‘original’ Penangites would put down their hands. Haha. Maybe now the acceptance is higher but when given a choice between Greenlane and Sungai Ara, the choice is obvious. Then the price of the property comes into the picture and suddenly those who put down their hands may put their hands up again. After all, Sungai Ara is pretty close to both the bridges, thus providing access to the world outside, right? Now, what if the area in question is Balik Pulau? Laksa, durians and Ais Kacang comes into the mind but modern housing developments? Not really? I think many would be missing many of the actions if the mindset remain the same as many years ago when Sungai Ara would have elicited the same reaction.
Honestly, have you ever been to some of the Balik Pulau developments before? Going up from the Relau area, it takes about 20-25 minutes, depending on how fast you drive to reach your lower priced landed properties within the island of Penang. If you go up from the Teluk Kumbar side, it should take between 16 – 20 minutes. One such development that I have been to before and is still continuing its development phases would be MTT’s Botanica CT residential project. The price when i visited it many years ago? RM290,000 for landed terrace. There’s no such pricing these days even if it is still considerably lower than other more popular areas. For now, the land availability is still there, thus you do not yet need to picture modern condos. You can think about nice landed developments of terrace houses priced from RM680,000 onwards and with a built up of 1,959sf for the two-storey and up to 2,480sf for the three-storey terraced ones.
Now for the usual question. Can buy for investment? Well if you had asked 5 years ago, the answer is Yes. if you have asked 3 years ago, answer is still Yes and if you ask today, answer is still yes. However, if your investment entails renting out the units, it will not be easy. The whole Penang island itself, rental is never easy. Furthermore, it’s very low and you would not be able to cover your mortgage unless you are very well connected to the new expatriates coming to work in Penang. I feel that the best would still be to buy and stay instead because until today, Balik Pulau has fresher air compared to many congested areas in Penang. I would not mention those areas.
What about the distance and the duration? Well, let’s be objective. If you work in town, get real, Balik Pulau is a tad too far away. This is the same as if you work in Bayan Lepas, why would you want to stay in Tanjung Tokong, even if everyone tells you that the water supply in Tanjung Tokong is cleaner? (Yes, not a joke, my Tanjung Tokong friend told me this when I bought my Sungai Ara condo many years ago). The jams within Penang island between the route from Tanjung Bungah till Bayan Lepas will get worse and not better. Make up your mind and choose accordingly. Oh yeah, please do get ready for the usual 40-minute to reach home journeys moving forward even if the distance is just a few kilometres. If you are working at the other side, buy the other side and if you are working in Bayan Lepas area, then Balik Pulau is indeed another potential choice. Whether it’s the best for you or not, that’s your decision after you have taken a look. Happy ‘Landed’ buying.
written on 3 Dec 2014
Next suggested article: Balik Pulau properties – ‘I cannot accept’.