Bangsar 1200x628
Logo3 small

In the early 1900s, this hilltop oasis was merely an undeveloped patch of land on the fringe of Malaysia’s expanding capital, Kuala Lumpur. It was later transformed into a rubber plantation due to the emergence of automobiles, then it was developed as a residential area.

Near the end of the second millennium, Bangsar underwent rapid transformation. Now it’s one of the places in Klang Valley where the most expensive houses are sold. In this article, we’ll discuss how the formerly rural area evolved to become one of the most prestigious places to live in Klang Valley, as well as the most exciting party and hangout spot.

The Origin of the Name Bangsar

In 1906, when Malaysia was still under the British colonial rule, the London-based firm Kuala Lumpur Rubber Co. Ltd. (KLR) started looking for sites around KL where they could establish rubber plantations due to the growing demand for rubber amidst the growing usage of vehicles.

Among the suitable places they found was Bangsar, and two of KLR’s top executives by the name of Edouard Bunge and Alfred Grisar who created a plantation there, giving it the name Bunge-Grisar rubber estate or Bungsar Estate for short.

But how did “Bungsar” become the present-day “Bangsar”? According to a research project jointly undertaken by six professors from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and led by Datin Dr Norizan Abdul Razak, the name symbolises racial unity.

Based on their research on the origin of Malaysia’s town names that was financially supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), Bangsar refers to ethnicity in the Kerinchi dialect originating from Sumatra, Indonesia.

The authorities opted to christen the place as Bangsar as three races (the Malays, Indians and Chinese) all played an important role in the founding of the township and its subsequent growth into a bustling metropolitan area. These include the growing of rubber trees to the construction of a road for easier transportation of agricultural products to sell in the markets in the capital. A wealthy merchant from Sumatra who helped fund the road by the name of Haji Abdullah Hukum renamed the road as Jalan Bangsar from its former name of Sungai Puteh.

From Rubber Estate to Property Hotspot

Ariel shot of Bangsar 30 years ago. Image source:

In 1969, the owner of the Bungsar Rubber Estate, Société Financière des Caoutchoucs (Socfin S.A.), decided to turn the plantation into a housing area. The company started with Bangsar Park, which is among the pioneer residential areas within the capital back then. Subsequently, Socfin S.A. divested its land to private buyers, including real estate developers.

Homebuilders who made a bet of purchasing land in Bangsar while prices were still low are now reaping the fruits of their savvy move, as the township became among the most coveted suburban addresses in the whole of Malaysia.

The township’s strategic location is the first factor why it witnessed such a surprising transformation. Situated around 4 kilometres from the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Bangsar is just a few minutes’ drive from the city centre.

Residents are also spoilt when it comes to public transport options. The government placed many bus stops in key areas across Bangsar. Moreover, the capital’s premier transit hub, the Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station, is just one stop on the LRT line. From KL Sentral, one can easily reach Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2, Malaysia’s Silicon Valley Cyberjaya, and Putrajaya, the seat of the federal government.

Apart from having fast commuting time, people living in Bangsar also like the fact that the township’s breezy and verdant hilltop environs provide a cool haven of tranquillity to escape from the sweltering and noisy city.

Third, the township is reputed as one of the capital’s best nighttime entertainment districts. Most of the exciting venues are located on Bangsar Village along several streets bearing the same name but numbered from 1 to 8 — Jalan Telawi. The place is home to famous bars, pubs, hidden speakeasies (not illegal) and cocktail lounges offering various innovative drinks.

Bangsar is also a paradise for food lovers. There are many cafés there that serve organic and healthy dishes. There are coffee shops similar to those found in New York that brew freshly roasted and ground Arabica beans sourced from around the world.

Finally, there are restaurants that are so popular in Bangsar that they set the culinary trends in Kuala Lumpur. These include The Ming Room’s highly-praised Cantonese cuisine, Yeast Bistronomy’s French pastries and sumptuous whole foods at Ashley’s by Living Food.

Home Prices in Bangsar Tripled

Now, many people want to live in Bangsar thanks to the awesome combination of excellent location, green surroundings and a world-class food scene. However, not everyone can afford to purchase a home in this prestigious neighbourhood. Due to the robust demand for residential properties, home prices in the area have significantly increased, making them out of reach of low-income to middle-income families.

In 2018, Savills Malaysia’s Vice President for agency services and project marketing Melissa Koshy said there’s a huge gap between the cost of older dwellings in Bangsar particularly those over 10 years old and newer developments.

For older residential properties on the secondary market, it’s still possible to find houses costing about RM750 per square foot (psf). But for newer developments such as Nadi Bangsar, One Menerung and Serai Bukit Bandaraya, prices start from RM1,250 psf up to RM1,700 psf.

Image source:

One reason for the price disparity is that the strong appetite for homes has led to real estate developers snapping up land in Bangsar when a sizeable plot enters the market. However, undeveloped land has now become quite scarce in Bangsar, so the trend is for high-rise projects like condominiums that are pricier than their landed counterparts in psf terms.

Zerin Properties’ Head of residential and private wealth Dino Russo added that high-rise properties in Bangsar are costlier. As a matter of fact, the average price for landed properties is around RM750 psf, while that for units in high-rise developments is about RM1,200 psf.

For instance, property agency Chester Properties revealed that a six-bedder semi-detached bungalow can fetch RM5 million to RM18 million, whereas a three-bedroom condo unit is priced from RM6 million due to the higher psf price.

Furthermore, data from the government’s Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) shows that home prices in Bangsar have surged by leaps and bounds. Some houses in certain areas of the township recorded a whopping capital growth of more than 200 percent over the past 19 years. That’s a three-fold increase!

Most Expensive Homes in 2019

It’s no wonder that some residential properties in the area have made headlines for being among the top ten most expensive houses sold in Klang Valley during 2019, based on official statistics.

Compared to the number one spot, an RM16 million home bungalow in Damansara Heights, Bangsar took the 8th and 9th spots. These comprise a condominium unit in Serai Bukit Bandaraya and another condo unit in One Menerung, each transacted for about RM7.45 million.

Interior of Serai Bukit Bandaraya. Image source:

As of February 2020, the median price at the 121-unit Serai Bukit Bandaraya stood at RM1,599 psf, while that at the 229-unit One Menerung reached RM1,277 psf. Both freehold projects were constructed by BRDB Developments.

Serai Bukit Bandaraya is appealing to affluent buyers as it’s just a short stroll from Bangsar Shopping Centre. Apart from the uber spacious units measuring from 4,025 sf to 14,000 sf, the condominium features exclusive facilities like private elevators, a recreational podium, a lounge and children’s indoor play area.

In comparison, units at One Menerung are smaller with built-up areas ranging from 3,013 sf to 10,291 sf. But the project is much closer to Bangsar Shopping Centre at a mere 80 metres. It also comes with many facilities such as a gym, dance studio, a pavilion and a swimming pool.

In conclusion, the RM7.45 million condo units at One Menerung and Serai Bukit Bandaraya are irrefutable evidence that Bangsar has undergone a tremendous change since its roots as a rubber plantation. It is now a place where its homes now attract the cream of society — celebrities, sports stars, politicians and business tycoons.

For more guides like this, visit PropSocial’s discussion page.

(Written by G. Zizan, 21st May 2020)


Attachment small

Good to know about old Bangsar and new Bangsar.