The name conjures a scene that isn’t far off from a Beverly Hills 90210 episode. Coveted address, luxury properties, uber-chic cosmopolitan society, utopian schools, fancy restaurants, and all the icing one would expect from an urban paradise.
Since its inception, Mont Kiara has maintained a prestige few neighborhoods can compete with. It has grown into a dense concrete jungle with access roads that are choking with traffic, yet, it appeals to a huge number of people.
If you’re reading this, Mont Kiara probably appeals to you too. You hear the naysayers’ criticism but you also see the amount of new developments mushrooming. You see the neighborhood expanding, swallowing up adjacent areas.
You’re wondering; is Mont Kiara a good investment?
Your observation tells you that Mont Kiara has too many condos but the investor in you feels money can be made here. The dilemma!
This post is meant to help you crush that dilemma. It will provide you with a thorough understanding of this area and give you reasons why Mont Kiara is a good investment.
Ready? Let’s go back to the beginning.
Mont Kiara History: 30 Years in the Making
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.
Mont Kiara Pines was launched at RM190 psf. In mid-2020, the median price psf here had risen to RM608. That's a 320% increase in 27 years. Not bad at all, eh?
Mont Kiara Pines was followed by the construction of Mont Kiara Palma. The new 400-unit development sold well.
The success of Pines and Palma, kicked-off a wave of other residential and commercial developments along Jalan Kiara, the main artery of Mont Kiara. Mont Kiara quickly grew into a highly sought after concrete jungle comprising mid to high-priced condominiums and a myriad of amenities to meet the needs of its upscale population.
Mont Kiara Property: Some Important Details
People have mixed feelings about Mont Kiara. Some people will tell you that it’s a great investment location and others will tell you stay away from it.
Therefore, we should ponder this question first...
Is Mont Kiara Still a Good Investment Area?
To begin answering this question, we need to look at another important question - what makes a good investment area?
A good investment area is a place where:
the market is equitable,
good amenities are within a 1KM radius,
access to job centers is good, and
demand is healthy.
Mont Kiara meets all the criteria above and therefore, is a good investment area.
Properties in Mont Kiara may not be better looking than the rest of Malaysia today but they have strong appeal for a multitude of reasons. If you have the moola (between RM740,000 to RM1,700,000), this beauty of a location is worth flirting with.
Some condominiums here now give among the best yields in Kuala Lumpur. According to iProperty, Kiara Ville and Mont Kiara Damai produced a rental yield of 10.6% and 6.6% respectively in 2017.
If you’re wondering what’s a good rental yield in Malaysia, it’s anything from 4% and above. The average rental yield in Kuala Lumpur has been declining and is below 4% now.
Since 2010, Mont Kiara prices have been stabilizing and may not have had the growth spurts of its more contemporary neighbors like Mutiara Damansara and Desa Park City but prices have been increasing nevertheless.
For example, in 2019, the median price psf for Mont Kiara Pines was RM586. By mid-2020, the median price had increased to RM608. That’s a 3.7% appreciation in less than a year. Not amazing, but sound.
This is expected of established and mature neighborhoods. Look at areas like Bangsar, Damansara Heights, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, and Damansara Utama. You may not see steep appreciations here but they’re evergreen locations, charting a slow and steady rise with good demand.
Mont Kiara and the Market Slowdown
When it comes to investments, you have no guarantee of zero risk. But I can make one guarantee with certainty. That is; markets fluctuate - all economic markets have ups and downs.
If you’re in a growth period, you can bet on a slowdown coming.
Likewise, if you’re in a slowdown, you can be certain a growth period is coming.
If you buy any property on the heels of good fundamentals, you should not have to worry too much about these fluctuations.
We’ve established the fact that Mont Kiara is a good investment location. A market slowdown doesn’t mitigate this fact. It simply delays the inevitable benefits.
Despite a slowdown in the Malaysian property market since 2015, Mont Kiara remains a preferred location not just because of the property yields and trendy, and chic people from many cultures who throng the restaurants, malls, and pedestrian walkways. The combination of many ingredients like access to other townships, food choices, education, property choices, and accessibility add to the appeal.
Sure, many other locations in the Klang Valley have these ingredients too. But few do it like Mont Kiara. That’s not an exaggeration.
Segambut Mont Kiara
Demand for Mont Kiara has been good but the supply of land is limited. Mont Kiara has therefore been gradually expanding out of its borders. One area that this expansion has been encroaching on is Segambut Dalam.
Many condominiums have been or are being built along Jalan Segambut Dalam. This place is not in Mont Kiara but close enough and developers have leveraged the Mont Kiara brand to sell properties here.
The access road that is Jalan Segambut Dalam is narrow and poorly maintained. As you go along Jalan Segambut Dalam, you can tell that you’re leaving the affluence of Mont Kiara.
This may change in time.
Condominiums here are cheaper than those in Mont Kiara proper. They’re worth considering if you have a lower budget.
6 Reasons Why Mont Kiara Is a Good Investment
#1 The Mont Kiara Address Is One of the Most Sought After Addresses in Malaysia
Make no mistake, when it comes to an address that urbanites covet, 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.
At an average 1.5 million views per month that was probably one of the highest searches for a neighbourhood in iProperty if not the highest.
In iProperty’s Residential Property Market Report (Klang Valley and Johor Bahru) as at December 2019, Mont Kiara was in the Top 10 listed and searched areas. In the same report, Mont Kiara was the most searched “for sale” area in the condominium category. It was #2 in terms of transacted area for condominiums.
Mont Kiara deserves this position. Development quality, appreciation and yield on properties here have been fairly good.
But, what about Mont Kiara’s density? Isn’t this a big put-off for people.
Mont Kiara may be a concrete jungle comprising many high-rise buildings but this is not necessarily a big negative. As dense as it may be, it doesn’t actually feel so crowded. The developments have been well planned.
Most condominiums here have been built on large tracts of land, so you get a feeling of space within these developments. In addition to that, the location is filled with pockets of commercial spaces that add to the list of amenities. You have schools, restaurants, shops, and malls. Basically, everything you need for a self-contained neighborhood can be found inside Mont Kiara.
The density has purpose.
The downside is the traffic. The entry and exit points out of Mont Kiara are bottlenecks that cause long traffic jams during peak hours.
#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.
For any locality to have good capital and rental appreciation potential, the market has to be equitable there. This means that income and wages have to be growing in these areas which in turn translates to people being able to afford price increases in property.
So equitable markets mean room for appreciation in prices.
Many localities in Greater Klang Valley are bearable markets. Income and wages in these areas are not growing as fast and people can just afford their mortgages here.
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.
What’s the rental rate in Mont Kiara? According to Knight Frank, 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 are still equitable.
#3 A Bustling Vibrant Neighborhood
Let's face it - prices drive many people out of the job centers in 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 here.
The statistics confirm this.
It could be because of the smorgasbord of restaurants. The choices for dining here are amazing. You have almost every type of cuisine and a delectable choice of cafes. And they’re spread nicely across all of Mont Kiara.
But the food is just the tip of the iceberg.
You have Mont Kiara Malls. You'd be spoilt for choice with all the retail therapy here.
This is a list of Mont Kiara Malls and other malls close by:
1 Mont Kiara
Kiara 163 Retail Park
Solaris Mont Kiara
Hartamas Shopping Centre
Damansara City Mall
Bangsar Shopping Centre
You’ll find small shops 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 further choices.
Your office could also be a stone’s throw away. Between Plaza Mont Kiara, Kiara Gateway, Kiara 163, Solaris Mont Kiara and Solaris Dutamas, there are plenty of good office spaces.
One of the smartest things Dato Alan Tong did from the earliest development of Mont Kiara was to bring in International Schools - a major consideration for many of the expat families living in Mont Kiara.
Two prestigious international schools stand here - Mont Kiara International School and Garden International School. Not too far away, in Segambut Dalam, you’ll find the French School of Kuala Lumpur or Lycée Francais Kuala Lumpur.
The only thing missing in Mont Kiara is a cinema.
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 is Jalan Duta (now Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim), on the West is Jalan Segambut Dalam and on the North is 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 provides 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.
It should be evident by now that 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 where a high concentration of multinational companies can be found.
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.
Great landed options like Aman Kiara, Serene Kiara, Amarin Kiara, and Kiara Hills are also available.
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 is nowhere close to the likes of 10 Mont Kiara. The facilities at Verve Suites are something to see.
If you have a smaller budget, apartments that carry a decent price tag of below RM500 psf are available. Examples include Lanai Kiara, Aston Kiara 3, and Angkupuri.
Many properties here have good investment performance. As mentioned earlier Kiara Ville and Mont Kiara Damai have shown 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 for any high-rise property:
Good capital appreciation
Good rental yield
#6 Good Access to Public Transport
How do I get from Mont Kiara to public transport? This is a common question.
A big fallacy about Mont Kiara is that it’s not close to public transportation. 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 would 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 30 minutes.
190 is a feeder bus to the Pasar Seni LRT and MRT stations. It takes 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.
Is Mont Kiara Safe?
Alright, the 6 reasons above make a compelling case for Mont Kiara. But how safe is it?
Crime does happen in Mont Kiara but within the city’s average limits, which is not bad. Snatch thefts on the roads have been recorded but this is a rare occurrence.
Being an upscale neighborhood, policing in Mont Kiara is better. Most of the properties here are gated and guarded with good security systems.
Mont Kiara also has a great community that comes together in keeping the place clean and safe. In 2018, Kuala Lumpur CIty Hall awarded Mont Kiara with a Grade A rating for its cleanliness and safety.
Generally speaking, Mont Kiara is a safe, family-friendly neighborhood.
Challenges and Opportunities in Mont Kiara
Mont Kiara has matured into an established neighborhood in the Klang Valley. It has a reputation as an upscale neighborhood and is highly attractive. It has had a good run in the last 30 years.
With no more plots of new development land inside Mont Kiara, the number of new launches here have dwindled. Most of the new developments are now on the outskirts of the neighborhood in Duta Kiara, Dutamas, and Segambut.
Properties in Mont Kiara itself are therefore becoming aged. This presents challenges and opportunities.
A major challenge is whether older properties in Mont Kiara will be able to maintain good capital appreciation. So far, such properties have continued to have decent appreciation but it remains to be seen if this will continue.
On the bright side, maintenance of Mont Kiara apartments are good and this will contribute to appreciation.
Expatriates have been a major driving force for Mont Kiara’s success. The current global situation with Covid-19 and low oil prices will likely affect growth in the expatriate market. This will have a spillover effect in Mont Kiara.
The biggest opportunity in Mont Kiara is the fact that land here is extremely scarce. This limits supply in Mont Kiara proper, which by extension should contribute towards stable price appreciation.
Limited supply also means less competition for tenants. In the past, owners of older condominiums would see an exodus of tenants to newly completed developments. This will become less of a problem as supply consolidates.
The Final Analysis
Mont Kiara covers almost all the bases as far as a good residential area goes.
But you’ll find some drawbacks.
Mont Kiara is a concrete jungle devoid of public parks and lacking good pedestrian walkways. There is a 25-acre green lung on 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.
Despite this, Mont Kiara’s appeal is strong. It’s a Grade A neighborhood in terms of cleanliness and safety. Besides that, it’s a poster child for the “live, work, play” catchphrase that exemplifies modern living.
Being one of the most searched addresses in the Klang Valley is a strong indication of its appeal. 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.
With a median price of roughly RM1,000,000, Mont Kiara is not for everyone. It’s clearly an upper-middle class suburb. It attracts buyers from the T20 group and tenants who are largely expatriates.
Is Mont Kiara a good investment? You bet!
It is still an equitable market. If you can afford to invest in a property here, it may well be worth it..
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below.