PUNCAK Alam is rapidly transforming itself into a self-contained township in Kuala Selangor from being just an agricultural or industrial area.
Property players believe this new growth area is destined for bigger things.
Worldwide Holdings Bhd (WHB), one of the pioneer developers in Puncak Alam, has been there for almost 12 years and has developed 258ha in total.
Its first project was Puncak Bestari, and now, it is coming up with Rumah Selangorku houses as well as some commercial units.
WHB chief executive officer Datin Paduka Norazlina Zakaria told NST Property more developers were coming to Puncak Alam but she was not worried about the competition.
“We have been around for the last 24 years. We have our own strategies and concepts and our customers are also different. We started with Seksyen 7 in Shah Alam, and we went to Cheras and then Subang Bestari.
“Now we are in Puncak Alam. So we are widening our urbanisation map in Selangor. This is our contribution to the state government,” she said.
According to Norazlina, house prices have doubled since 2010 when the developer launched the first phase of double-storey terraced houses priced below RM300,000 each.
Its latest offering in Puncak Bestari called Cendana comprises two-storey terraced houses priced below RM600,000 each, with a built-up area of 2,290 square feet.
“Previously, the area lacked landed properties. When we came in, we took advantage of that situation and came up with nice architectural designs and told our team we had to prove, it to the public that we could do this.
“This area is considered a suburb. We have to make sure we do not compromise on the quality. The Quality Assessment System for Building Construction Works score for our projects is about 80 per cent,” said Norazlina.
As the trend at that time was affordable luxury coupled with low-density development, WHB’s strategy worked, thus helping it to create its product branding, she said.
Norazlina pointed out that people were attracted to properties in Puncak Alam because they were considered value for money.
“We went there because the price of land was reasonable. However, today, the land price is the main factor that determines the final price of the property. We can’t compare Shah Alam with Puncak Alam.
“When we first came to Puncak Alam, land price was low, around RM130,000 per acre. Now, if you go to the town centre, people are selling land at about RM1 million per acre, and that of agriculture status too,” she said.
There was still a lot of room for improvement, especially regarding infrastructure, said Norazlina.
She said accessibility was the main issue a few years ago but the situation had improved with the opening of the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and Jalan Batu Arang-Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway (Latar).
“In a way, the infrastructure is in place but we need more of it. Latar has definitely helped open up new developments in southern Kuala Selangor such as Puncak Alam, Ijok, Tasik Puteri, Kuang and Kundang. As a developer, we will focus on that route and make sure there is easy access to major highways.
“The improvement in infrastructure and amenities had attracted many players to Puncak Alam and its surrounding areas. The early developers include IJM Land and MKH Bhd while the new players are LBS Bina and Eco World.
“What is good about these developers is they are coming in with their own product types, and helping to relocate some of the industrial activities to Puncak Alam.”
Norazlina said basic amenities such as a mosque, schools, hypermarket and community centre were in place.
The township is also close to Universiti Teknologi Mara Puncak Alam campus.
What Puncak Alam is still lacking is a decent neighbourhood mall for the residents and younger generation.
The nearest medical facility is the Sungai Buloh Medical Centre, which is 27km away.
Norazlina said with the construction of a new hospital in Puncak Alam, more people would be attracted to the township.
She hopes that the Selangor State Development Corporation would venture into Puncak Alam and build a private hospital to cater for the lower- and middle-income group.
Norazlina related some challenges WHB faced, such as a mismatch between the product pricing and affordability of buyers, stricter lending guidelines and real property gains tax.
“The increase in raw material costs is also affecting us, especially for certain Rumah Selangorku houses. If we use the Industrialised Building System, it is still not cheap as this concept works well only when you are building a large quantity of houses. We are just building 200 to 250 houses each time, so this is affecting our bottom line,” she added.
To mitigate that, Norzalina said WHB had to be creative with the marketing and sales of its products in reaching out to its target buyers.