Grand tour of Ipoh Real Estate - 16th March

Grand tour of Ipoh Real Estate began today.

Sam our friendly driver picked us up at about 10am and we commenced our tour. On the way to our first stop Sam drove us through a large well maintained park near our hotel. He explained that early in the morning it fills with people exercising. He explained that in the evening it becomes the haunt of lovers who group their cars together for security. He explained “you see the cars rocking”. We got his point!

Started by checking out Ipoh Gardens estate developed in the 60’s. (The same Malaysian owners of The Queen Victoria building in Sydney). It consisted of many semi-detached houses and lots of free standing bungalows. Leafy streets and pretty well planned. Prices for bungalows from 500,000RM to over 700,000RM.

From there we visited Fatimah Hospital, the Emergency Entrance, the Nurses building and viewed ongoing extensions. All looked right up to scratch!

Sam then took us to the area of “the Filthy Rich” and he was not exaggerating! Around the backstreets in the Thompson area are the biggest houses we have ever laid eyes on. The footpath and gardens were full of the most expensive plants and landscaping that money could buy. It was completely mind blowing as the biggest one made James Packer’s new Sydney abode look like servants quarters! Ipoh is indeed a wealthy town.

We then drove into Greentown that was once all residential but now due to its proximity to town is being converted to commercial. There were still some big old bungalows but now not the place to live.

Next was a visit to the oldest housing estate in Ipoh called “Housing Estate”. The Chinese have trouble saying Housing Estate and just call it 300 unit houses. It consists of 300 British style bungalows complete with a chimney each and`was built in the 50’s and is close to town. Sam pulled up outside one (dogs tails were wagging) and announced it was where he lived. Decorum prevented us from enquiring the average price here.

From here we journeyed east to Sunway City, a modern development with a mix of freestanding bungalows at the foot of a marvellous mountain. The landscape here is reminiscent of Guilin in southern China and as it turns out it is its sister city. Sam managed to bluff his way past the guard at the gated security entrance and we explored. The lakeside bungalows were exceptional and the leafy plantings combined to make this our choice to live so far.

Next door was the Banjaran Hot Spring retreat. Once again Sam did his stuff and we breezed past the super high security entrance (a favourite retreat for honeymooners) to prevent tyre kickers like ourselves disturbing the newlyweds! The price per night was in the thousands RM but include all food and drink.

It was absolutely perfect, secluded well vegetated and low key. Can recommend it to any couples needing a break. www.thebanjaran.com/

Also visited Sky Homes estate another Security Estate (not for Sam as his charm allowed our entry). It was an older estate but was all bungalows nestling under a mountain and pleasantly vegetated. Another starter in the place to live category.

The journey now took us to the Haven (gated security but no match for Sam!) and we breezed in and walked into the foyer and inspected the lake at the rear. www.thehavenresorts.com.my.  Prices for staying in serviced suites start at 800RM and go to 1800RM per night. You can buy here for 700,000RM to 1.3MillionRM. The main towers are 26 stories and while the site is great surrounded by mountains it seemed a cold and soulless place.

Now we took the Highway that goes to Penang north bound and exited to visit Meru Valley estate. This was built 20 years ago and surrounds a golf course and is very popular with Japanese and Koreans. Sam got us past the first guard but were knocked back at the entrance to the highest security villas. All in all not the sort of place to live unless you were a golfer. Was quite dated. www.meruvalley.com.my/

Property here is comparatively cheap compared to Oz. This can be explained by the fact that skilled building workers (bricklayers plumbers etc.) get around 100RM a day and unskilled about 50RM to 60RM a day. There is a huge concrete plant here and the main ingredient limestone is mined from the Ipoh hills.

Ipoh in our opinion is on the verge of a property boom such as we had in Oz when the baby boomers left home. It is being spawned by the high birth rate here. Anecdotally Ethnic Chinese parents have 2 to 3 children, Ethnic Indians have 3 to 4 children and the native Malays have up to 7. This is creating the demand. Money can be safely invested in real estate here.

An interesting point about condominiums in Ipoh is that the living areas are long and narrow and not the sort of living space a westerner would require. Our theory is that as the evolved from living above shops in the narrow terraces they just got used to a narrow living area with no side windows. They also have a tendency to cram too many bedrooms and bathrooms into a small space. Something to watch out for if investing or living in Ipoh.

Just went up the street to Maybank to use ATM. No problems. Selected English and pressed buttons as in Oz and out came the cash! Temperature 34°C and weather on internet says it feels like 43°C . We concur. Sun feels like a furnace as sky so clear. Ipoh needs rain badly.

It's 6pm and off to street hawkers market on foot to munch. This blog will our guide us through dinner tonight.  Tong Sui Kai night stalls