Property investment is one of the preferred instruments of wealth creation for many people. It is secure and gives a high rate of return through the years. We seldom hear of property buyers getting diminishing returns on their investment and property is the best hedge against inflation.
Each and every one of us know of family members, friends and acquaintances who have done well in their property investments, drawing a good income from their sales or rental of their houses or commercial units. Then there are the astute and smart investors, such as Dato’ Ong Theng Soon, the Executive Director of Binastra Land, who, instead of just being satisfied with acquiring properties,catapulted on to become a property developer.
Dato’ Ong, a lawyer by profession, started off as a property investor, acquiring his first asset, a condominium located in the up-market Mont Kiara, in 2002, after having been convinced that it was a good buy and investment by the CEO of Sunrise Berhad, the property firm behind the development of Mont Kiara condominiums. The Mont Kiara brand was so strong and popular that property agents were hounding purchasers to sell off their units even before it was completed.
“My phone was flooded with calls from agents purportedly representing prospective purchasers even before the project was completed. I sold my first property for 30 percent above the purchase price and my initial investment was only 10 percent. It was a good deal, making a return of investment of 300 percent. I was then convinced that property is a good form of investment, whether you are an investor or developer,’ said Dato’ Ong.
Daring to Go against the Grain
While Dato’ Ong’s story on the profitability of property investment is inspirational; still the question remains: How then did Dato’ Ong venture on to become a developer?
“The 2008 Global Economic Downturn was the turning point which led me to decide to go ‘upstream’ and be involved in property development. Having enjoyed good earnings during the property boom years of 2002 until 2008, the economic crisis affected property prices and caused dwindling returns on investment. This made me think of better alternatives of investment.”
Clearly, Dato’ Ong followed his own path in a time when many dared not.
“Typically during the early years of my investment foray, from 2002 to 2008, property prices were around RM300 to RM400 per square foot. Due to the lower acquisition price, investors like me used to enjoy a price appreciation of 30 to 40 per cent and a rental return of 8 per cent per annum,” explained Dato’ Ong.
His eyes have witnessed the winds of change in the game. With such experience, his savvy in the area became amplified.
Binastra Construction’s foray into property development was a matter of time. Having built a solid reputation as one of the top construction firms in the industry,
“By 2008-2009, property prices in the prime Klang Valley areas had rocketed to RM700 per square feet as a direct result of the Global Economic Crisis which caused a marked spike in the cost of building material globally. As developers increased their prices, the entry level for owning homes was inevitably raised (quite significantly) to an unprecedented level –making houses a lot harder to own and lowering the rate of return on investment for investors.”
Threads of fate led to a meeting with Dato’ Sri Michael Tan, the Founder & Managing Director of Binastra Land, in 2013,which became a vital point of transformation in his focus vocation. The professional encounter led to a business partnership where Dato’ Ong was invited to join the company; and later appointed its Executive Director –thereby bringing his involvement in the property industry to a full circle.
Binastra Land – Building ahead of Schedule
Binastra Land’s roots trace back to 1979 when Binastra Construction was set up as a sole proprietorship by Mr. Tan Nge, the father of Dato’ Sri Michael Tan.
As a construction company, its main focus was on ensuring quality workmanship and timely delivery. Within a short span, the business grew from strength to strength – even to the point it obtained a Class A construction license in 1984.
It was clearly inevitable that Binastra Construction’s foray into the realm of property development was only a matter of time. Having built a solid reputation as one of the top construction firms in the industry, the company was asked to revive an abandoned project which was deserted for 10 years in Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur. Consequently, with the brand’s solid foundation and expertise, the once decade-deferred project was awe-inspiringly completed within six months in 2005; with the end result being the 35-unit Seri Titiwangsa condominium.