Updated: Nov 22, 2019
Properties in Mont Kiara may not be better looking than the rest of Malaysia but they certainly have strong appeal for a multitude of reasons. If you have the moola (between RM835,000 to RM1,805,000), this beauty of a location is worth flirting with.
Mont Kiara has come a long way from 30 years ago when it was the Segambut Dalam Rubber Estate. Purchased by Dato Alan Tong of Sunrise Bhd back in the early 90s and renamed Mont Kiara, the first condominium here was constructed in 1993 and named Mont Kiara Pines.
Since then, Mont Kiara has grown to become a highly sought after concrete jungle comprising high-priced condominiums and a myriad of amenities to meet the needs of its upscale population.
Mont Kiara Pines was launched at RM190 psf. In 2019, the median price psf is RM586. That's a 308% increase in 26 years. Not bad at all eh?
Some condominiums here now give among the best yields in Kuala Lumpur. According to iProperty, Kiara Ville and Mot Kiara Damai produced a rental yield of 10.6% and 6.6% respectively in 2017.
It's not just the property yields and trendy, and chic people from many cultures who throng the restaurants, malls, and pedestrian walkways that make Mont Kiara popular. It's a combination of many ingredients like access to other townships, food choices, education, property choices, and accessibility.
Sure, many other locations in the Klang Valley have these ingredients too. But not perceived like Mont Kiara. And I'm not simply exaggerating.
Allow me to break this down for you with 6 reasons.
#1 It Is The Most Sought After Address In Malaysia
Focus in the last 3 years has been on affordable housing. I'll admit, there's huge pent-up demand for affordable housing and we may need as many as 1,000,000 of those by many estimations. To cater for this demand, a lot of developments have been taking place in the outskirts of Greater Klang Valley.
But make no mistake, when it comes to an address that is coveted by many urbanites, Mont Kiara is literally at the top of the game. In Dec 2018, iProperty ran an article that said its listings on Mont Kiara may have been viewed over 12 million times in 8 months.
The article did not explicitly say this but I'm guessing at an average 1.5 million views per month that is one of the highest searches for a neighbourhood in iProperty if not the highest.
If you're wondering, here's how I made that assumption: iProperty has an average 5.4 million visits per month. I assumed each time a visitor visits, they viewed an average 5 pages. So that's about 27 million views per month in total. Out of this (hundreds of locations around Malaysia), Mont Kiara took 6.3% of the views.
So, a huge number of people in Malaysia are looking up properties in Mont Kiara.
And they're doing it with good reason. Development quality, appreciation and yield on properties here have been fairly good.
#2 Large Numbers of Expatriates Are Buying and Renting in Mont Kiara
What do expatriates have to do with the attractiveness of the local property market? Well, a lot actually. Here's why.
For any locality to have good capital and rental appreciation potential, the market has to be equitable there. This means that income and wages are growing in these areas which in turn translates to people being able to afford price increases in property.
Many localities in Greater Klang Valley are bearable markets. Income and wages in these areas are not growing as fast and people can just barely pay their mortgages here.
So equitable markets mean room for appreciation in prices.
The average expatriate salary package in Malaysia is RM51,546 per month. As a general rule of thumb, a tenant’s annual salary should be at least 40 times her monthly rent. Assuming the salary package is net to the expatriate, then she could technically afford a rent of up to RM15,000 per month.
You may now be asking what is the rental rate in Mont Kiara? According to Knight Frank, it is between RM1.80 to RM3.80 per square foot. A 1,000 sf apartment at RM3.80 p.s.f is RM3,800 per month. Pretty equitable in terms of rent, no?
An expatriate earning RM51,546 per month could also easily afford the RM1.8 million asking price for properties in the higher price range here.
As you have it, expatriates make up the biggest group in Mont Kiara by far. The chart below illustrates this.
Mont Kiara also attracts the higher income groups, young and old. They're known as the T20 group. The average household income of this group is RM16,088. For this group, prices in Mont Kiara is also equitable.
#3 A Bustling Vibrant Neigborhood
Let's face it - prices drive most people to stay in suburbs that are far from their workplace which is usually in the epicentre of Greater Klang Valley. If price was not a restraint, many would choose locations that are closer to the epicentre of everything.
Of all the locations within the epicentre of Klang Valley, Mont Kiara is one of the coolest. People WANT to live there. Mont Kiara offers a lifestyle that is attractive with its rich variety of restaurants, cafes, niche supermarkets, fancy retail outlets, and great ambience. If you don't believe me, go back above and read how many people viewed iProperty listings in Mont Kiara between Jan to Aug of 2018.
These numbers show that people covet Mont Kiara.
With the recent opening of Kiara 163 Retail Park on top of the existing smorgasbord of restaurants, the choices for dining here is amazing. You have almost every type of cuisine in Mont Kiara and a delectable choice of cafes.
It's not just the food.
There's so much retail therapy here, you'd be spoilt for choice. You have the very visible 1 Mont Kiara Mall, Kiara 163 Retail Park, and Solaris Mont Kiara. In addition to this, there's also the retail areas in Plaza Mont Kiara, Arcoris, and Verve Suites. As if that's not enough, you also have small retail plazas along Jalan Kiara and Jalan Duta Kiara.
Neighboring Desa Sri Hartamas, which is literally a stone's throw away adds even more choices.
The only thing missing in Mont Kiara is a cinema.
One of the smartest things Dato Alan Tong did from the earliest development of Mont Kiara was to bring in International Schools. It is a major consideration for many of the expat families living in Mont Kiara.
There are 2 prestigious international schools here today - Mont Kiara International School and Garden International School. Not too far away, in Segambut Dalam, there's also the French School of Kuala Lumpur or Lycée Francais Kuala Lumpur.
So much packed into an area measuring roughly 1.6 square kilometres. Not many places in the Klang Valley would be able to measure up to Mont Kiara in this sense.
#4 One of Kuala Lumpur's Most Strategically Located Townships
Mont Kiara's border on the south is the Penchala Link, on the East it is Jalan Duta (now Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim), in the West it is Jalan Segambut Dalam and in the North the North-South Expressway. This gives residents easy access to the major highways and other popular townships.
Via the Penchala Link, Mutiara Damansara, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Bandar Utama, Damansara Perdana, and Kepong are accessible.
Jalan Duta gives access to Jalan Tun Razak and KLCC. KLCC is about 20 minutes away by car. Jalan Duta also leads to the Kerinchi Link from which Damansara Heights, Bangsar and Petaling Jaya can be easily accessed.
The North-South Expressway connects Mont Kiara to Klang, Shah Alam, Rawang and other parts of Malaysia.
KL Sentral is less than 15 minutes away by car.
Mont Kiara's immediate neighbours are Desa Sri Hartamas, Sri Hartamas, Dutamas, and North Kiara.
As you can see, Mont Kiara is nestled amongst some of the poshest neighbourhoods in the Klang Valley and is within easy access of job centres like KLCC, KL Sentral, Bangsar, Damansara Heights, Mutiara Damansara, and Bandar Utama. A high concentration of multinational companies are to be found in these areas.
In terms of a strategic location, this is as good as it gets.
#5 Plenty of Choices for the Home Buyer
If you have a budget of between RM800,000 to RM1,800,000, the choices you have in Mont Kiara is comparable to the plethora of food options.
If budget is not a constraint, then you will have access to some of the most luxurious condominiums in Kuala Lumpur like 10 Mont Kiara, 28 Mont Kiara, Seni Mont Kiara, and Tiffani Kiara.
There are also great landed options like Aman Kiara, Serene Kiara, Amarin Kiara, and Kiara Hills.
In terms of price per square foot, one of the most expensive condominiums here is my personal favourite - Verve Suites Mont Kiara. It commands a price per square foot as high as RM1,181. The units here are generally smaller and therefore the total price no where close to the likes of 10 Mont Kiara. However, the facilities at Verve Suites is something to see.
If you have a smaller budget, there are apartments that carry a decent price tag of below RM500 psf. Examples are Lanai Kiara, Aston Kiara 3, Angkupuri.
The performance of many properties here is also good in investment metrics. As mentioned earlier Kiara Ville and Mont Kiara Damai have fantastic yields. Based on my estimates using listing data from iProperty, Verve Suites has an occupancy level of at least 90%.
With enough research, you'll be able to find anything from a studio to 5-bedroom apartment that comes with the sought after trinity of any high-rise property:
Good capital appreciation
Good rental yield
#6 Good Access to Public Transport
There are no MRT, LRT or monorail routes that pass through Mont Kiara.
I know what you're thinking. Not good right?
Actually, this is not a setback. Let me explain.
First, if a rail line has to pass through Mont Kiara, developments that are a decent distance from the line will benefit greatly but those developments right next to the line will suffer. An overhead rail line will generate sound pollution. It may very probably be too close to many of the high-rise developments.
This effect can be seen in 10 Semantan.
Second, Mont Kiara actually has great connectivity to public transport in the form of buses. 2 bus lines serve Mont Kiara; T852 and 190.
T852 is a feeder bus to the Pusat Bandar Damansara MRT station and makes its round through the entire Jalan Kiara en route to the MRT station. It comes every 20 minutes.
190 is a feeder bus to the Pasar Seni LRT and MRT stations. It is goes through a rather long route through Jalan Ipoh and Chow Kit. You can alight at Chow Kit to take the monorail.
Between these 2 buses, you pretty much have access to MRT, LRT, and monorail.
How's that for a place to stay? Mont Kiara covers almost all the bases as far as a residential area goes.
That does not mean it does not have drawbacks. High-rise living may not appeal to everyone. It is also a concrete jungle devoid of parks and good pedestrian walkways. There is a 25-acre green lung in the western side but it's not a recreational park.
Traffic congestion is terrible during peak hours (which area in Kuala Lumpur is not?) and is the bane of residents.
However, if you have the budget there's a high chance Mont Kiara will appeal to you. I mean, look at the number of people searching for it on iProperty.
For me, an address that people strongly desire to live in as opposed to one where the only consideration is price has far greater long term potential because of the perceived value.