Southeast Asia: The Next Destination in Luxury Living

Why the rich are looking to Southeast Asia for their next big property purchase.
Thursday 7 June 2018
Photo: iStock

Not a world apart from Tokyo, Hong Kong or Shanghai, luxury living is no longer the exception in cities such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok where more and more global high-flyers call home.

A coveted address or bespoke abode speaks volumes about one’s lot and level in life.

These days, it’s more than just about ‘location, location, location’ as savvy investors have substituted that old adage with Location, Concept and Pricing.

These are the elements that will make or break a piece of real estate. One such investor is Christopher Lim, CEO of property development firm Triterra Metropolis.

“The Klang Valley is not only experiencing a migration boom locally but is also benefiting from the growing ASEAN region and cross-border collaborations,” Lim says, using Malaysia as an example.

“Malaysia has the right fundamentals in population growth – a young population, infrastructure boom within the Klang Valley and favourable government policies to attract foreign participation in our economy in line with ASEAN’s integration,” Lim adds.

“Our property market is always regarded as very reasonable and open compared to other cities in the region and very attractive to investors from abroad, even in the luxury segment.”

But what exactly makes a neighbourhood exclusive? Is it merely a place that is desired by many, but within the reach of a few?

There are more factors to consider.

phuket-villa - southeast asia
Photo: iStock

Related: ASEAN: Is There a Point To It

Trends and Factors

Asia has not been spared from the economic turmoil of recent years but many believe that ASEAN in particular is set to boom once the emerging economies come of age.

Accords are struck to encourage and enhance trade, especially with China. With that comes an influx of investments and people as the ASEAN region and its 10 member states become the next investment frontier. But where, oh where, will they live?

Too big or too small?

The property market – especially the luxury market – is expected to be sluggish this year. But then again, all sectors are still recovering from a challenging period. Any lethargy in this segment may be put down to “wrong sizing” where the market takes a hit due to mismatched products; not everyone wants a Bentley when a Beemer will do, for now.

Who’s coming over?

Philip Gan, principal and co-founder of Property Hub’s KLCC branch believes that although the appeal of KL as a business and investment hub is still strong, the profile of the people flocking to Malaysia is changing.

“The transformation of Kuala Lumpur over the past decade has been monumental in terms of its impact on the wider economy and the composition of visitors to Malaysia,” says Gan.

“What we’re seeing today is that long-term visitors to Malaysia are typically richer, younger and they are bringing their families here, also drawn by the plethora of excellent education and healthcare options.

“As Malaysia becomes a regional business hub and the gateway to ASEAN for many companies, branded residences and well-planned suburban enclaves which offer a more complete lifestyle such as Desa ParkCity are highly sought after,” he concluded.

A name to be proud of

The emergence of branded residences to boost tourism stems from familiarity with world travellers. It was forecast that by 2020, Malaysia would require 37,000 new 4-star and 5-star hotel rooms.

Branded residences will go some way in catering to a discerning set who require a little more permanence but with all the trimmings, particularly in the Central Business District (CBD), with major players Banyan Tree, W, Ritz-Carlton, St Regis, Four Seasons and Kempinski already catering to this crowd.

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