Wednesday 24 Apr 2024
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This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on February 14, 2022 - February 20, 2022

Said to be named after the fig trees that were found along the river in this area, Kayu Ara, or Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, is a village of about 400 acres in Petaling Jaya. Despite originally being a squatter settlement, the area — divided into two by the Sprint Expressway — is now surrounded by well-developed townships and suburbs, namely Bandar Utama to the west, Damansara Utama and Damansara Jaya to the east and Taman SEA, Taman Megah and Taman Mayang Jaya to the south.

PPC International Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam notes that back in 2000, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) redeveloped Kayu Ara and built low-cost apartments to relocate the squatters as part of its target of achieving zero-­squatter status. That was before pockets of land were bought up by property developers looking to build relatively small residential schemes that comprised terraced houses or high-rise condominiums.

“Land in Kayu Ara was fragmented with multiple ownership, which perhaps explains the absence of large housing developments. Instead, developers were buying land and amalgamating the parcels for development purposes,” he says.

Developments such as 10 Boulevard by Newlake Development Sdn Bhd, which comprises four blocks of 6- and 7-storey shopoffices; Boulevard Residence by OCR Land Holdings Sdn Bhd, comprising 14- and 15-storey condominium towers; as well as other small residential developments have made the area popular and changed the landscape of Kayu Ara from the “kampung” it used to be, according to Siders.

“10 Boulevard was completed in 2009 and is the largest, most prominent development in Kayu Ara. The area has become an attractive residential enclave, comprising pockets of low- and high-density developments,” he says.

The Sprint Expressway, which was completed in 2014, has contributed substantially to the development of Kayu Ara, says Siders. “It can be said that the area has benefited from the spillover in demand from adjacent suburbs such as Damansara Utama and Damansara Jaya.”

The close proximity to established townships and suburbs such as Bandar Utama, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Damansara Utama and Damansara Jaya gives Kayu Ara convenient access to a wide range of amenities, from educational institutions such as SK Bandar Utama Damansara, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara, SJK (C) Puay Chai and First City University College, to commercial centres and shopping malls like Damansara Uptown, The Starling, Atria Shopping Gallery and 1 Utama Shopping Centre, as well as the KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital.

In the long term, the area’s property scene will see organic growth in value and will be very much an owner-occupier-oriented market.” — Siders (Photo by PPC International)

Apart from the Sprint Expressway, Kayu Ara is connected via major highways such as the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), and public transport infrastructure, namely the existing Bandar Utama MRT station (3.2km away) and the proposed Kayu Ara LRT station, which serves the LRT3 or LRT Shah Alam Line.

“All this will further contribute to Kayu Ara’s appeal as a residential area, as well as the capital appreciation of the properties. The Covid-19 factor notwithstanding, we believe Kayu Ara will see property values appreciate gradually. In the long term, the area’s property scene will see organic growth in value and will be very much an owner-occupier-oriented market,” says Siders.

Metro Homes Realty Bhd executive director See Kok Loong says Kayu Ara’s appeal lies in its location. “Due to its strategic location, development started in the late 1990s, when terraced houses in Bandar Utama were being built in record-high numbers.

Because [property prices in Kayu Ara are generally cheaper than its surroundings], there is potential rental and sale demand from the students of nearby tertiary institutions and the general working population in the vicinity.” — Tho (Photo by Low Yen Yeing/

“Many landowners sold their leasehold land in Kayu Ara to others for development. Also, MBPJ supported the development by approving the maximum height of five storeys for smaller parcels of land of below two acres.

“Over the past 10 years, we have noticed that most of the properties in Kayu Ara fronting the Sprint Expressway have been converted into car showrooms, whereas the inner lots have been developed into terraced houses, townhouses or low-density apartments.”

According to See, Kayu Ara is especially appealing to owner-occupiers due to its location, relatively lower prices compared with the neighbouring suburbs and the amenities available in the vicinity.

“Kayu Ara’s mid- to long-term outlook is good due to its strategic location as well as the [upcoming] Kayu Ara LRT station. Meanwhile, the area will continue to be developed, with more projects coming in and changing its landscape,” he says. 

See notes that Kayu Ara has the same postcode as Damansara Utama, and is now known as PJU 6A, reflecting its location in Petaling Jaya Utara.

Glomac Centro, which was completed in 2015, offers 344 serviced apartments adjoining commercial shoplots (Photo by Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam/The Edge)

A spate of new developments

Located about 10km from Kuala Lumpur city centre, Kayu Ara has recently seen a spate of new developments.

Ongoing projects in the area include Enso Residence by Goodwill Growth Sdn Bhd, comprising 20 units of 4½-storey superlink villas; Utamara Boutique Residence by Parkwood Sdn Bhd, comprising 82 condominium units over two five-storey blocks; One East @ Damansara by CK East Group, comprising 65 stratified residential units; and 121 Residences by Glomac Bhd, comprising 554 SoHo units and 280 serviced apartments. Utamara is slated to be completed by end-2022 while One East and 121 Residence are targeted for completion next year.

AmanAra Residensi by SweetHarvest Development Sdn Bhd is another ongoing development, comprising 24 townhouse villas over 12 blocks. The units have built-ups of 1,000 to 2,000 sq ft and are priced between RM750,000 and RM1.5 million.

According to See, all 445 units at Glomac’s 121 Residences’ Tower A have been taken up. The units have built-ups of 450 to 750 sq ft and are priced from RM318,000.

Boulevard Residence is one of the newer developments in the area (Photo by Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam/The Edge)

A recently completed development in the area is CR Ara, also known as Crown Residenz, comprising 17 units of 3-storey terraced houses, he says.

According to Hartamas Real Estate Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Desmond Tho, the new projects taking place in Kayu Ara may change the image of the area. “Additionally, the new LRT Line 3 station in Kayu Ara — just one stop away from 1 Utama — may enhance the area’s appeal to homeowners and property investors.

“Development land is getting scarce in Petaling Jaya, and the squatter and old housing areas are ripe for redevelopment. Should redevelopment happen, the road system and its general surroundings will be enhanced as well

“With the new LRT station, new developments coming in, good accessibility, surrounding amenities, future redevelopment and lower price point, we feel Kayu Ara is an area to look out for as its future may be promising.” 

Property prices in the area have remained stable over the past five years at RM350 to RM500 psf.” — See (Photo by The Edge)

Prices stable, comparatively lower

Tho notes that property prices in Kayu Ara are generally cheaper as a big part of the area is still slightly underdeveloped. “Because of this, there is potential rental and sale demand from the students of nearby tertiary institutions and the general working population in the vicinity.”

According to Metro Homes’ See, property prices in the area have remained stable over the past five years at RM350 to RM500 psf. “Townhouses in Kayu Ara with built-ups of 1,600 sq ft were transacted at RM630,000 to RM750,000, or RM380 to RM460 psf,” he says.

PPC’s Siders says Kayu Ara’s property market in general did not experience a sudden surge in prices from 2015, unlike many other developments in the Klang Valley. “This perhaps could be due to the dearth of new projects in the market, on top of the attractive packages with rebates and freebies offered by developers and the higher margin of financing available.” 

In terms of recent transactions, he notes that a 1,137 sq ft condominium unit in Pelangi Utama was sold for RM630,000 in 2020 whereas a 1,175 sq ft serviced apartment in Glomac Centro went for RM750,000 in 2019. Apartments measuring 650 sq ft at Pelangi Ara and 850 sq ft at Boulevard Residence were transacted at RM150,000 and RM600,000 in 2019 respectively.

As for landed properties, Siders notes that a 2-storey terraced house in Jalan 5, Taman Kayu Ara Indah, with a built-up of 560 sq ft and land area of 841 sq ft, was transacted at RM270,000 in 2019, while a three-storey terraced house in Jalan Seroja, with a built-up of 2,913 sq ft and land area of 1,313 sq ft, was sold for RM1.35 million that year.

Meanwhile, Glomac Centro, 121 Residences and Boulevard Residence are some of the properties in Kayu Ara that are worth checking out, according to Tho.

Completed in 2015, Glomac Centro offers 344 serviced apartments with built-ups of 1,170 to 1,600 sq ft at RM500 to RM530 psf, and rents at about RM1.50 to RM2 psf, Tho notes.

As for 121 Residences, which is slated for completion in 2023, the response for this project has been good, he adds. This is mainly due to the confirmation of the LRT and affordable pricing from about RM300,000, given the upside potential.

“In the southern region, Boulevard Residence is a landmark in the area and tucked behind the 10 Boulevard commercial development. It was completed in 2014 and offers 300 serviced apartments with built-ups from 850 to 1,900 sq ft. Currently, the average market price is RM650 psf while the average rent is RM2 psf,” notes Tho.

Going forward

Improvements to road infrastructure, accessibility and a higher plot ratio are some of the things that can further benefit Kayu Ara, say the property consultants.

“Since Kayu Ara was developed by different developers in small plots, there was never a master plan incorporating good infrastructure and traffic circulation, unlike the large planned township developments. As a result, there is traffic congestion during peak hours. A concerted effort has to be made by the local authority to streamline traffic and improve accessibility to the area,” says Siders.

See says a higher allowable plot ratio or density would benefit the area as the remaining land parcels in Kayu Ara are small and leasehold in tenure. 

“Properties in the area are less attractive than the freehold properties in Bandar Utama or the Damansara area. Also, due to the smaller parcels, the access roads are not wide enough to accommodate significant developments beside the LRT3 line and station nearby,” he adds.

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