When UNESCO accepted George Town as a World Heritage Site together with Malacca in 2008, several individuals expected that place to remain solemn just like a lot of other heritage internet sites in the world. However, we see a revival of the area, having a lot of refurbishing of old pre-war houses, restoring them to the way they ought to have been when they were initial built.
This caused the prices of heritage buildings to rise, and selling price of these heritage buildings don’t yet contain the restoration works. Some extremely old buildings had been termite infested but sold at high costs simply because of its heritage value, hence most of these homes are now being bought over by corporations to develop them into boutique houses, themed restaurants as well as other companies.
Component of the growth of the heritage area includes collaborations with the tourism department, which not only promoted the region as a must-see place, but also allowed the development of the area for enjoyable sight-seeing with trishaws, typically conducted by travel and tours organizations. The travels and tours firms would hire the trishaws and bring in bulk of tourists to tour the area which could span from E&O Hotel to Ford Cornwallis and then over to smaller routes such as Little India. It is no surprise then that the heritage buildings which were once homes had been converted to retail outlets, probably as merchants carry with them the hope of excellent business around the area with both the local and tourist market.
To see how much prices have hiked for the heritage buildings in Georgetown, we could look at the average prices of properties at other locations. A primary double storey terrace home in most areas cost an average of RM500,000 onwards. A restored heritage house for sale on Love Lane asked for RM3 million! Pre-war shophouses, without restoration, carries an average sale price of RM2.2 million on average. Rental for a 1.5 storey shopoffice carries an average of RM6,000 per month rental.
No doubt the state government will continue to create opportunities to let the island grow, without neglecting the mainland either. Penang has recently been identified as the number one state in attracting total capital investments for manufacturing projects in 2010, and it is believed that this effort will continue. The total capital investment comes up to RM12,238 million, up nearly five times compared to its previous amount of RM2,165 million just a year ago in 2009.
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