MALAYSIAN Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) is beefing up its operations in Australia as it aims to be a long-term player in the housing market there.
The group is specifically targeting the middle- to high-income market in Melbourne and Sydney, according to Alex Lim, director for MRCB Land (Australia) Pte Ltd.
The Australian venture would help MRCB diversify its earnings, Lim told NST Property.
MRCB made inroads into Australia in 2009 via its wholly owned unit, Bitar Enterprises Sdn Bhd, which acquired a 70 per cent equity interest in Australian firm, Yes 88 Pty Ltd.
Yes 88 owns 5,025 sq m of land in Burwood, located 15km from Melbourne’s city centre.
In 2011, MRCB announced that it would develop the site and another location in Carnegie.
The group launched in 2014 its first project in Australia — Easton Burwood, consisting of only 126 units. The units were sold out in less than eight months at prices of between A$330,000 and A$800,000 (RM1.13 million and RM2.74 million) each.
The A$65 million Easton Burwood project is now complete.
It offers one-, two- or three-bedroom apartments spread across four blocks of five-storey buildings.
“Easton Burwood has the right mix of residential amenities, transport connections via rail and road, and other facilities. It is close to schools and Deakin University, which is attractive to owner occupiers, renters and investors,” said Lim.
He said the majority of buyers comprised Australians, Singaporeans, Chinese and Indonesians. Malaysians accounted for 15 per cent of the sales.
MRCB is bullish on its second venture in Australia, following the success of Easton Burwood, said Lim.
The group is developing 1060 Carnegie in one of Melbourne’s most sought-after established suburbs, Carnegie.
Carnegie is an established residential location in south-east Melbourne, 12km from the city’s central business district (CBD).
Lim said 1060 Carnegie has a gross development value (GDV) of A$105 million.
The 10-storey block has a total of 173 well-apportioned apartment units, with sizes ranging from 500 sq ft (one bedroom) to about 1,000 sq ft (three bedroom).
The selling price for the smallest units (500 sq ft) starts from A$430,000 to A$480,000 while the two-bedroom units (800 sq ft) are priced between A$580,000 and A$725,000.
Lim said the three-bedroom units (about 1,000 sq ft) were priced from A$730,000 each.
“We have sold more than 70 per cent of 1060 Carnegie with only 30 units remaining. The bulk of the buyers were also Australians, Singaporeans, Chinese, Indonesians and Malaysians.
“It took us less than six months to achieve 70 per cent sales. So, we are quite confident that we will be able to sell the rest within the next six to eight months,” he said.
Lim added that construction for 1060 Carnegie would start at the end of this year.
The project is expected to be completed in two years.
Malaysian developers, including MRCB, are heading to Australia because it is a stable economy, said Lim.
“Australia is also known for its wide range of international universities which is why you have a lot of people, including Malaysians, buying properties there, especially in Melbourne.
“Demand for housing is increasing in tandem with population growth. The population in Carnegie has grown 26 per cent over the past 15 years to roughly 19,000 people in 2016,” he said.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics, this figure is expected to increase by 19 per cent over the next 15 years.
Lim said the vision of moving into Australia came from MRCB group managing director Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din.
“He sees the potential and numbers and finds it suitable to venture into Australia. There is no right or wrong timing. It is just his business acumen. If he has a good feeling about something, he will do it.
“Tan Sri Salim has the foresight for choosing the sites. We bought two sites in Melbourne a few years ago and both are bearing fruit now,” he added.