Malaysia Property News is a free resource website sharing Daily Property News & information about Property in Malaysia, which related to, Property Market, Property Investment, Commercial Property , Hot Properties Malaysia, Real Estate, Retail Shop, Business Park, Condominium Malaysia, Terraces & Apartment Malaysia, Houses, Residence, Resort and many more.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Rehda to work with new Selangor govt

PETALING JAYA: Property developers in Selangor have pledged their willingness to work with the state government helmed by the newly-appointed Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, says the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) Selangor branch chairman Datuk F D Iskandar F D Mansor.

Iskandar, who believes business would go on as usual, also expects the new state government to encourage investments in the state.

“As Selangor is the most developed state, I believe the new Menteri Besar will continue to support investments and Rehda, as an NGO, will respect and work with the new state government,” he told theSun.

However, Iskandar highlighted a more pressing issue faced by developers in the state which is the shortage of construction materials, particularly cement and steel.

While welcoming the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad’s recent call for the scrapping of price controls of essential items, Iskandar said if the move is extended to construction materials as well, it would certainly benefit the property and construction sector.

“Although steel prices are controlled at RM2,300 per tonne, an additional fee of up to RM900 still has to be paid out under the counter. Since there is a shortage of cement and steel, then we should do away with exports and allow for imports of these two materials. Let the market forces of supply and demand determine the prices,” said Iskandar. Rehda’s Selangor branch represents more than 300 developers in the state.

On the prices of properties, Iskandar noted that it has been increasing by as much as between 10% and 20% since the 2H2007. However, with the recent announcement by the Prime Minister that gas and fuel prices would be maintained, developers hope that the federal government would continue subsidising these items.

“With fuel prices rising, a hike in petrol prices locally will cause a domino effect that will be felt in all sectors. Consequently, prices are just going to go up. However, our purchasing power and disposable income are not rising in tandem with these increases,” said Iskandar. “On the developers’ end, we are facing the same issues as those faced at the national level, which is the rising cost of doing business,” he added.

Iskandar said that developers also hoped to see more improvements in the delivery system which would enhance competitiveness in bringing in foreign direct investments. Another concern which Selangor developers face since the 2H2007 is the levy imposed on them when the bumiputera quota for their development projects are not met.

“Although the national policy for bumiputera quota is 30%, some places in the state have higher quotas of easily 50% to 70%. There are certain areas that cannot meet such high quotas but can only sell 30%.

It is unfair that we are being penalised for the unresolved quota,” said Iskandar.

By theSun (by Loo Pik Kwan)

Fiabci’s new vice president

PETALING JAYA: Newly appointed Fiabci network and marketing vice president Michael Geh (pix) said he would be enhancing and building on the achievements of Fiabci Malaysia and Fiabci Asia Pacific, making it more relevant as a local professional group.

Last December, Geh who is also senior partner of Raine & Horne International, was elected by Fiabci (the French acronym for International Real Estate Federation) to the post for a two-year term ending 2010. This is the first time a Malaysian property consultant was selected for the post.

“Being chosen for this high profile position speaks volume of the standing of the country in the eyes of the international fraternity. My role is to strengthen existing ties between Malaysia and Fiabci International. I am expected to accompany the Fiabci world president when he attends
functions in the region,” said Geh.

He also hoped to bring Fiabci University to the region, especially Malaysia, as it is timely for local property and real estate professionals to make their push overseas. Fiabci University offers international graduate programmes in real estate. Fiabci is recognised as a special consultant with non-governmental status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It is a business club of real estate professionals in 60 countries and a federation of 100 national real estate associations representing 1.5 million professionals.

By theSun

Klang-Shah Alam corridor a future hub

The advent of big developers with sizeable and well-planned townships has transformed the area, which used to be a relatively quiet property market

Aerial view of Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang

The Klang-Shah Alam corridor has the potential to grow into a robust regional hub for well-sought-after residential and commercial addresses, judging by new property developments underway or planned by developers.

For the past two decades, property projects remained pretty much unchanged but the landscape is fast changing with the launch of planned community projects such as Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Setia Alam, Setia Eco Park, Aman Perdana and Bandar Botanic.

Klang has outgrown its image as an old port town and a new village in the past decade with improved infrastructure connectivity that opens up the western corridor of the Klang Valley.

Its proximity to Port Klang, one of the world’s busiest seaports, and Selangor's administrative city, Shah Alam, has been a boon to Klang.

Today, Klang is the second largest city in the country after Kuala Lumpur with a population close to 900,000 people. It is also 10 times the size of Petaling Jaya.

Shah Alam has also seen a spurt of new township developments. Its population of 600,000 is among the highest in Selangor.

The Klang-Shah Alam corridor is today one of the more exciting corridors in Malaysia and the entrance of big developers have significantly changed the property landscape.

According to WCT Land Bhd executive director Lai Yeng Fock, there was a pent-up demand for housing in the corridor, as the number of projects coming on stream had not caught up with the rising demand.

Klang, which has a population of one million, needs over 10,000 new housing units a year but now, only 5,000 to 6,000 units are being built.

Meanwhile, housing needs for Shah Alam's 600,000 people are also on the rise, especially with the improving trunk roads and expressways.

SP Setia Bhd group managing director Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said it was a natural progression for development activities to head towards the Klang-Shah Alam corridor owing to the scarcity of land in matured suburbs.

Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin

“The advent of sophisticated highway linkages was one of the most important catalysts in opening this new frontier of development in Klang and Shah Alam.

“The completion of the SP Setia-funded NKVE-Setia Alam Link has transformed the profile of Klang and Shah Alam by shortening the travelling distance to other key urban locations,” he noted.

SP Setia is credited as one of the first developers to introduce master-planned community living in northern Klang through its Setia Alam project in 2004.

The project, with its green street concept of concealed utilities and extensive landscaping, promised a new lifestyle for home seekers.

The “green” Setia Eco Park, which showcases semi-detached homes and bungalows in an ecologically balanced environment, has added a new lifestyle living dimension into the corridor.

Mah Sing Group Bhd president Datuk Sri Leong Hoy Kum concurred that soaring property prices in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya in recent years had resulted in sub-urbanisation of Shah Alam and Klang, with developers shifting their attention to this corridor.

»Prime land suitable for development has grown increasingly scarce« DATUK SRI LEONG HOY KUM

“Prime land suitable for development has grown increasingly scarce, as the excellent trunk roads and expressways has made this corridor even more accessible,” he added.

He said the advent of big developers with their sizeable and well-planned townships had transformed the Klang-Shah Alam corridor, which used to be a relatively quiet property market until about 10 years ago.

The profile of buyers showed that the company's project Aman Perdana had benefited from increasing interest from non-Klang folks to buy properties in the corridor.

“We have been a beneficiary of this trend, as can be seen by our house buyers’ profile for Aman Perdana.

“Besides 64% buyers from Klang, we have 22% from Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Puchong and Sungai Buloh. The balance 14% is from other Klang Valley areas and outside Klang Valley.

“For our Kemuning Residence project, 52% is from Subang Jaya, Shah Alam and Klang; 16% from Petaling Jaya; 21% from Kuala Lumpur and 11% from outside the Klang Valley,” Leong said.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

Attractive land price, availability the pulling factors

The cheaper land price and availability of land in the Klang-Shah Alam corridor will continue to attract developers and house buyers to the property market there.

Henry Butcher (M) Sdn Bhd property consultants said transaction prices for residential title land for bungalows in Klang was relatively lower than Shah Alam and other first-tier cities in Malaysia.

Bungalow vacant lands were transacted between RM50 and RM60 per sq ft in Teluk Pulai, Klang, and RM65 to RM80 per sq ft in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam.

Newer townships such as Bandar Botanic was transacted from RM70 to RM80 per sq ft and Kota Kemuning had the highest transaction price from RM80 to RM100 per sq ft.

Meanwhile, transaction prices in Setia Alam in Shah Alam was from RM80 to RM90 per sq ft.

The Glenmarie-Saujana-Subang corridor and newer areas in Petaling Jaya such as Mutiara Damansara was transacted from RM220 onwards per sq ft.

Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd managing director Ho Chin Soon said: “It is a natural progression for people to move away from Kuala Lumpur to Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam and finally, to Klang as land become more expensive and scarce.”

With population growth at 4.8% per annum in the Klang Valley, developers are hard-pressed to move to second-tiered cities.

PPC International Sdn Bhd executive director Thiruselvam Arumugam concurred that land price was relatively cheaper and the built up of the properties was bigger in Klang.

“We believe Klang will continue to develop rapidly over the next three to four years, especially in the north,” he said.

Residential projects in Klang due for completion this year include D'Anjung in Teluk Pulai, Bayuemas, Taman Selat Damai in Pandamaran, Bandar Botanic and Glenmarie Cove.

Many new townships in Klang that which were launched in several phases consist of 70% residential units in view of higher demand for houses, he said, adding that property owners in Klang are cash-rich and price cautious.

According to PPC International Sdn Bhd executive director Kamarud-zaman Saad, property owners prefer Klang to Shah Alam, thanks to the freehold status.

He said WCT Land Bhd's Bukit Tinggi township, which is freehold, had led to the opening of Jaya Jusco and hypermarkets like Tesco and Giant. This has transformed Klang into a lively town with better facilities.

The landscape in Klang had gradually changed with the development of Bandar Botanic in the south by Gamuda Bhd that had also led other developers to promote similar lifestyle concept living, he noted.

Kamarudzaman said capital appreciation in Klang averaged from 10% to 15%, with good locations reaching up to 20%.

Meanwhile, Setia Alam township by SP Setia Bhd, which occupied 4,000ha in Shah Alam, is expected to trigger more new developments in north Klang, he said.

“The Setia Alam township will have a positive impact in Klang and Shah Alam,” he said, adding that the mixed development project was expected to complete in 10 to 15 years.

Reapfield Properties Sdn Bhd president David Ong said Setia Alam was the new growth area in Klang-Shah Alam corridor.

The new residential projects in Shah Alam are Kemuning Utama, Bukit Jelutong, Alam Impian, Alam Suria, Setia Eco Park and Subang Permata.

On the property market outlook, Kamarudzaman said the current volatile stock market would lead buyers to become more cautious in buying properties.

“We expect another year of slowdown in local property market in tandem with worldwide property market,” he said.

By The Star (by Shannen Wong)

Major highways help draw buyers to second-tier cities

The well planned community development of Setia Eco Park in Shah Alam

GREATER accessibility through major highways has contributed to the rapid growth of Klang-Shah Alam corridor in the past decade.

Reapfield Properties Sdn Bhd president David Ong said four major highways – North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), North-South Expressway Central Link, Shapadu Highway and Federal Highway connects the second-tiered cities to city centre.

With the opening of these highways in Klang-Shah Alam corridor, new townships development was further extended with the infrastructure in the surrounding areas.

Ong said NKVE is a 35km expressway that runs between Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Bukit Raja, which is a new industrial and urban area in Klang.

“NKVE is a heavily utilised route for residents in Damasara, KL, Klang Petaling Jaya, Subang and Sungai Buloh,” he said.

Meanwhile, the North-South Expressway Central Link, better known as Expressway Lingkaran Tengah (ELITE), is a critical link that connects the north and south with an uninterrupted journey bypassing the congestion in KL, said Ong.

ELITE starts at a new interchange on the existing NKVE near Shah Alam, transverse towards the south through Batu Tiga on Federal Highway Route 2, towards the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.

It continued towards the east to connect with the existing North-South Expressway that is about 6km at the north of existing Nilai interchange.

Ong said the 63km expressway, which connects NKVE in Shah Alam to ELITE at the Nilai North interchange, was a popular route for travellers heading to KLIA and the Sepang F1 circuit.

Additionally, Shapadu Highway, or North Klang Straits Bypass Highway, is a new 17.5km dual carriageway that linked North Port to Bukit Raja and connects to NKVE, ELITE and Federal Highways Route 2.

Ong said the accessibility to North Port and West Port in Klang would enhance the growth in the area due to the huge upside potential for the two main ports.

“With the Government encouraging foreign direct investment, these ports are expected to increase activities and stir the economy,” he said.

There is also the Federal Highway Route 2, which is a 16km upgraded expressway that connects Batu Tiga in Shah Alam and Sungai Rasa in Klang, he said, adding that it has two toll plazas and connects to Federal Highway.

PPC International Sdn Bhd executive director Thiruselvam Arumugam said travellers would not mind paying the tolls for these highways along Klang-Shah Alam corridors.

Meanwhile, there are three proposed highways around Klang – the South Klang Valley Expressway, West Coast Expressway and Kemuning-Shah Alam Highway, said Ong.

However, the West Coast Expressway, which stretches from Taiping, Perak, to Banting, Selangor, and runs parallel to ELITE, is believed to have been delayed due to the high price tag of some RM3.1bil for construction, he said.

By The Star (by Shannen Wong)

Well-planned projects change landscape

The advent of big developers with their sizeable and well-planned townships has transformed the Klang-Shah Alam corridor from a sleepy hollow into a robust address.

The developers have brought new concepts, including lifestyle resort living and modern, contemporary designs, in well-planned developments.

Besides offering new standards in home design, quality and concept, they also helped to improve the existing infrastructure and amenities.

New trunk roads and highways have sprouted, making this corridor more accessible to homeowners from suburbs like Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya.

More exciting and innovative property products, both residential and commercial, have been lined up for the Klang-Shah Alam corridor.

At SP Setia Bhd's Setia Alam, the first commercial hub, Eramas is shaping up well with prominent tenants such as banks, eateries, clinics and convenience stores.

The new modern commercial centre Setia Avenue will have a Tesco hypermarket as the anchor tenant while the Setia Alam Clubhouse will break ground soon.

“Our priority is to enhance the commercial vibrancy of Setia Alam by providing more entertainment and recreational facilities,” SP Setia group managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said.

Lai Yeng Fock

“The Klang community is very family-oriented and likes to stay close together, so it is seldom they will uproot to other locations.

“With its vibrant community-centric focus, Setia Alam has become an ideal township for house buyers in search of a living environment that balances the four aspects of human life – live, learn, work and play – the guiding philosophy of all SP Setia’s projects,” Liew said.

Mah Sing Group Bhd president Datuk Sri Leong Hoy Kum said developers were coming up with more appealing residential enclaves and using innovative product differentiation.

The company's 315-acre Aman Perdana in the Meru-Shah Alam growth corridor comprises some 3,000 units of mainly semi-detached homes and bungalows, supported with some shop offices.

Since its launch in 2005, a total of 1,800 units have been sold and this year, products worth RM92mil comprising mainly bungalows and shop offices have been lined up for launch.

“Our good take up is by listening to our customers – for example, they wanted more land for their homes, and we recently launched Type E bungalows with bigger land of 50ft x 80ft, and saw a 70% take up rate during the weekend launch,” Leong said.

Meanwhile, Kemuning Residence, on 21 acres in Shah Alam, is a RM127mil gated and guarded development of exclusive bungalows.

So far, 57 units of the 141-unit enclave have been launched and this year, RM80mil worth of garden bungalows will be launched.

Besides a tropical grand entrance and plenty of green spaces, there will be a playground and clubhouse complete with swimming pool and gymnasium exclusively for the residents.

WCT Land Bhd executive director Lai Yeng Fock said Klang folk were rather simple when making decision on buying their dream homes.

“The people here believe in simple practicality. Projects that offer practical designs, wide space and good access have been getting good response,” he said.

WCT Land's Bandar Bukit Tinggi has received a thumping endorsement from Klang folk, going by the strong occupancy rate of 90% for its houses and shops.

“We understand the mentality of the Klang folk and provide them with 50-ft wide roads, multiple accesses, free security and 11-ft ceiling height.

“Our buyers also appreciate our efforts to promote strong neighbourhood bonding through community events such as moon cake festival and other family activities,” Lai said.

Since its debut in 1998 as the second township development in Klang after Bandar Baru Klang, Bandar Bukit Tinggi has become one of the fastest growing in the Klang corridor with its affordable and semi-detached homes, commercial properties and vacant commercial land, as well as the presence of two hypermarkets, Tesco and Giant.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

Villa for grand living

This house is situated on a slope and with a view of the jungle

A professional house-builder bought a piece of hill slope property because of the great views and spent 18 months constructing a six-level villa. Now he is willing to part with it.

Situated on a slope and with a view of the jungle and a pond, this grand house comes with all the amenities any home-owner could hope to own.

The property comes with 11 bathrooms and a beautiful, restful and peaceful view all around.

Gan Eng Thai has been building houses for 10 years. With his vast experience, he has been able to keep the work flow smooth, moving the various contractors along.

“As the house is built on a slope, there were a lot of geo-technical issues to iron out. But I chose to build on a slope because the different elevations and levels allowed me the opportunity to realise the full potential of the house,” says Gan.

With six levels, including a roof-top, the opportunities for the new house owner to go in and stamp his own style on all the spaces are simply tremendous. For the person who loves fitting out a house, filling out the spaces, taking into account the beautiful forest view, this should be a labour of love.

In his years of building, Gan has seen house-buyers tear down parts of a house, renovating and redoing the bathroom, kitchen cabinets, etc. This, says Gan is very wasteful, besides being costly. “Sure, everyone has their likes and dislikes, but there are certain basic things that no one would want to argue with: more space, more height and more natural light. ”

Gan has put in the basics, and done up the house only to a certain extent, so that the new house owner can have the flexibility to mould the house to his particular lifestyle. No cupboards or kitchen cabinets have been installed as “everybody has a different concept”.

Gan’s wife has taken care of the little practicalities which a house should have for day-to-day living. When the lady of the house comes back from the supermarket with the groceries, she doesn’t want the maid to be lugging shopping bags all over the living room and into the kitchen, therefore, a side door to the kitchen leading from the car porch is the answer. A pantry in the kitchen is a welcome addition.

A house this size is made for entertaining, and when the caterers come, they can use a side-gate down a staircase to the lower level to set up their workstation. This passageway also provides space for the maids and drivers of visitors to relax.

The main entrance is situated 14.1m (47ft) from the gate to give a sense of grandeur. The living room on the ground floor has a double volume ceiling; the ceiling is 8.4m (28ft) from the floor. There are two powder rooms on this floor, which also has the dining and audio visual room.

The formal dining is wide enough, but for that added luxury, it offers the option of terrace dining with the forest as a backdrop.

The house is painted in white, adding to the feeling of spaciousness. And to complement the white walls, the ground floor has pure white slabs of a composite material of glass and stone.

The AV room, which can be done up as a library, is on the ground floor. The floor is lined with Balauwood. The same type of wood is used for the four bedrooms, and the numerous rooms which can double up as nursery, recreational rooms, computer rooms, etc.

The walls that separate the AV room from the hall are laminated material. All windows are framed in powder-coated aluminium. The doors are of solid timber, “Tengkawan” wood from Kalimantan.

The master bedroom is a suite by itself, spanning 83.7m (930sq ft) with a walk-in wardrobe and attached bathroom. The occupant can relax in an open-air jacuzzi and an attached room which can be turned into a multi-purpose area.

Relax in an open-air jacuzzi

The bathrooms have dark ceramic tiles forming a strip against a beige wall.

Further up is the open-air rooftop. “The roof is made of heavy gauge steel, which can last and provide insulation against the heat and noise with 15.2cm (6in) of padding. It is also aesthetically pleasing.”

The infinity edge swimming pool offers views of the jungle

A lift, with glass walls which look out to the forest reserve, is installed at the corner of the house. The swimming pool is situated on the lower ground, which is the recreational floor. There is a rumpus room on this floor.

This area has its own kitchenette for the hungry swimmer.

Wide stairs link the floors

At the lowest level, there is even more space which can be converted into a wine-cellar. There is enough room for a billiards table, basketball post and other sports equipment.

It is a grand house, and when furnished, would be even grander. The asking price is RM8.5mil. The land area is 1,080sq m (12,000sq ft) and the built-up area is 1,224sq m (13,600sq ft).

Gan’s e-mail is

By The Star (by Annie Ooi) (Pix by Chan Tak Kong)

Evolution of housing industry

It has evolved from catering to mass market to undertaking niche projects

Gated and guarded communities have mushroomed over the past decade

HOW time flies. Before we know it, many of us, including this writer, have hit the magical age of 55 and suddenly we find ourselves at a crossroads, eager to take on new challenges.

Having been a property columnist for the past 18 years and a journalist for 33 years, it is time to pause and make a brief observation of the housing industry over the past 20 years.

There are too many things to discuss in one article, but I am glad to note that thanks to keen competition, the housing industry has evolved from merely catering to the mass market to undertaking niche developments and over the past two decades, have seen new designs and concepts introduced not only for residential but also commercial properties.

Developers, conscious of the need to fulfil the requirements of a very discerning house-buying public, have made many improvements.

This include giving quality ceramic tiles and timber strips replacing old-fashioned broken marble and parquet, double-volume ceiling height to houses and some offices, high ceilings (some 14ft high) to even link houses to give them a majestic look, and more interesting facade and interior layout.

Eco-friendly homes (like those in Mulpha's Leisure Farm Resort in Gelang Patah, Johor, whose Pinggiran Bayou Village Homes won the FIABCI Malaysia Property Award 2007 for best residential development (for low-rise category) and “back to nature” themes have become very popular, especially among the younger generation who have grown up in barrack-styled houses.

Gated and guarded communities, green street concept (underground cabling), and zero-lot concept have mushroomed over the past decade.

And in recent years, the Safe City concept where CCTV cameras and other security surveillance systems are incorporated into a development have become the trend in view of the rising crime rate.

One of the companies that embraced this concept is Brunsfield, which has teamed up with Sime Darby Property in projects such as Oasis Ara Damansara in Selangor to provide top-notch security in its developments.

Asian Pac Holdings Bhd's RM1bil KK Times Square in Kota Kinabalu also set new industry benchmarks with many features such as ventilation fans and air wells in the basement car park, many CCTV cameras, double-volume ceilings and chimneys for its ground floor shop lots.

One thing good has also come out of the last recession. The house buying public has become more discerning and, with so many new developments, can afford to pick and choose.

Gone are the days when only a few big names dominated the industry.

Today, many of these big players, especially those that have failed to deliver, are gone.

In their place sprouted a new breed of caring developers such as SP Setia, Bukit Kiara Properties, YTL Land, Gamuda Land, Mulpha Land, Sunrise, Dijaya Corp, Mah Sing, Ken Holdings, KIP, Ireka, Mitraland, Sunway City, Glomac, E&O and Perdana Parkcity, to name but a few, which have helped to raise industry standards.

They have come out with innovative ideas, vastly improved the quality of their products and tirelessly branded themselves not only for the local but international markets.

In the process of promoting their brand names, the developers have added value to their products and improved the image of the industry that was once badly hit by shoddy workmanship and abandoned projects.

The “bad boys” just cannot survive in today's demanding market.

SP Setia has spearheaded its signature town parks in all its township projects in the Klang Valley and Johor.

Under the stewardship of group managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, SP Setia has grown by leaps and bounds.

Older players such as Sime UEP Properties, Hap Seng Land, Berjaya, I&P and TTDI Development are re-branding themselves.

Sime UEP, a household name since the 1960s, has been re-branded under Sime Darby Property, a regional giant.

Meanwhile, Hap Seng Land, a household name in Sabah, will be the company to watch as it spreads its wings to Peninsular Malaysia, bringing with it some 30 years of experience in property development in East Malaysia.

An important gauge of a development's success is its capital appreciation and rental yield. In this respect, I foresee the next winning UPS (unique selling point) is to have a Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status. It is the way to move forward.

One company that has the foresight to work towards an MSC status for its project is I-Bhd.

Its proposed i-City, Selangor's first cyber centre with MSC status in Shah Alam, is testimony of a bold private initiative that will bring enormous benefits to its investors.

With rapid modernisation and transformation of the working and living environment, an MSC project will particularly appeal to foreign companies who expect world-class physical and IT infrastructure. Hence offices in i-City will have a true plug and play experience.

Companies, especially foreign start ups, can save time and money from hiring staff to support their infrastructure, and there will be no long waiting period to get services such as telephone numbers and broadband.

I-Bhd is offering an advanced ICT infrastructure that is at par with developed countries.

Upon completion in five years, i-City will create 50,000 jobs for knowledge workers.

By The Star (by S.C.Cheah)

Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT in for more upside

Analysts are bullish of the oil palm plantation REIT as the future of palm oil remains bright due to its diverse applications

Despite uncertainties in the US economy, industry experts are bullish on plantation as palm oil supply is still tight and expect CPO prices to trade above RM2,500 per tonne – AFP

MOST analysts are upbeat on Al-Hadharah Boustead Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), saying there should be further upside to the stock's performance.

A local analyst said while market sentiment remained weak, the Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT could continue to perform well in the medium to long-term.

“Our confidence in the REIT stems from the prevailing positive trend in the global commodities markets and buoyant crude palm oil (CPO) prices,” he told StarBiz.

Last Friday, the CPO price closed at RM3,543 per tonne and commodity price is expected toremain firm in the near-term.

Currently, Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT was the only oil palm plantation REIT listed on Bursa Malaysia and was shariah-compliant.

The analyst said: “The REIT manager plans to grow its asset base and expects to acquire at least two more plantations before year-end to add to its stable of eight palm oil estates and two palm oil mills in Peninsular Malaysia.”

“The new plantations should translate into better performance of the trust,” he added.

At the end of last year, Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT had a market capitalisation of RM665mil covering 12,000ha, making it arguably the second largest REIT listed on the exchange at that time.

Another local analyst said the REIT had a dividend policy that took account of performance based on profit sharing and rental income from plantations.

For financial year ended Dec 31, 2007, Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT registered RM55.2mil in revenue and RM49.8mil in net profit.

Due to the phenomenal rise in CPO prices over the last twelve months, the analyst said the trust had outperformed its forecast fixed dividend distribution of 7.38 sen by 48% in its fiscal year ended 2007.

“The performance-based dividend is the first of its kind in the domestic REIT market. In total, 10.91 sen is distributed to unit holders in its first fiscal year,” said the analyst.

She said the strong performance of the trust had attracted many local and foreign investors since the REIT's listing on Feb 8, 2007.

Boustead REIT Managers chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin said the timely listing of the trust on Bursa Malaysia and significant progress in CPO prices kept the REIT ahead of the pack in the local REIT market.

Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin

Lodin said: “We are exceptionally pleased with the performance of the REIT, which can be directly attributed to soaring CPO prices”.

He said the management was of the opinion that further upside to the REIT's performance, including share price performance, was conceivable.

Most brokers are also positive on the REIT's performance, going forward.

A broker said stocks with exposure to oil palm plantations and oil and gas sectors were deemed to be more defensive in nature as global demand for such commodities remained strong.

“Since the REIT is a plantation-based stock that commands good demand, we are optimistic of its performance, especially if the REIT managers can expand its asset base to capitalise on the buoyant times of the sector,” he said.

Despite uncertainties in the US economy, industry experts are bullish on plantations as palm oil supply is still tight and CPO prices are expected to trade above RM2,500 per tonne.

“I'm sure at current CPO prices, they aren't complaining,” the broker said.

Palm oil futures (FCPO) prices have doubled in the past year, hitting a record high of RM4,486 per tonne on March 4.

A Singapore-based economist said demand for palm oil was expected to grow as the reduction in soy oil production in recent years had resulted in an increase in global demand for palm oil, especially from industrialised countries.

“We are seeing greater interest and regulatory mandates imposed on developed countries to use biofuel and biodiesel as an alternative form of energy due to environmental concerns and escalating fossil fuel prices,” she said.

She added that the future of palm oil remains bright due to its diverse applications.

Year-to-date, Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT share price reached a high of RM1.60 (Feb 5) and a low of RM1.39 (Jan 25) before closing at RM1.40 last Friday.

By The Star (by Danny Yap)

Mission to boost halal industry

MALAYSIA External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) will take part in several world-class exhibitions to further globalise Malaysian halal industry, particularly among 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.

Specialised missions overseas are also being organised to promote the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) further, Matrade products and services director Wan Norma Wan Daud said.

The global market value for food products is estimated at US$1.3 trillion (RM4.2 billion) per year, with the halal sector worth some US$150 billion (RM480 billion).

Malaysia's halal exports to member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference in 2006 totalled RM2.66 billion.

This accounted for 23 per cent of the country's exports in processed foods, beverages, essential oils, cosmetics, perfumery and toiletries and pharmaceuticals.

Wan Norma said Matrade wants to increase awareness that halal products are beyond meat and beverages, besides making Malaysia's domestic sector more visible internationally.

She said last year, the trade body brought along many Malaysian companies to participate in trade fairs in Iran, Turkey, South Africa and China.

"This year, we are planning to participate in 16 trade fairs on food alone, including in the UK and France.

"We have started our programme with the Gulf Food fair in Dubai in early March, bringing along 40 local firms there," Wan Norma said in a recent interview in Kuala Lumpur.

By New Straits Times (by Zuraimi Abdullah)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Getting proper property valuation

If you were getting your house sold, you’d most probably be getting it valued.
Or perhaps you need to get a loan from the bank. Or maybe the authorities are buying up the land on which your house sits, and you’re not satisfied with the amount awarded as compensation.

“Property valuation is done for various purposes, most commonly for loan financing. Besides that, properties being auctioned by banks need to be valued too, to establish the reserve price,” says Low Khee Wah, valuation assistant manager of Henry Butcher Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Low: Valuers need to understand the market

What is property valuation? According to C Y Lim, general manager of City Valuers & Consultants Sdn Bhd, it is “the art and science of estimating the value for a specific purpose of a particular interest in the property at a particular moment in time, taking into consideration all the underlying economic factors of the market, including the range of alternative investments”.

Lim: Art and science of estimating the value

Henry Butcher’s Low elaborates: “It is an art because valuers need to understand the market, they need to have a “feel” for it, and which is acquired the longer the valuer is in the industry. It is also a science, because formulas are needed to do cash flows.” In short, property valuation is to estimate the value of the property for a specific purpose.

There are five methods used to value property: comparison method, investment method, residual method, profit method, and cost method, and each method has its specific use. According to Low, the investment method is usually applied for the valuation of office towers, shopping complexes and plantations, while development lands are usually valued with the residual method. Profit methods are used for hotel valuations, and detached factories would be valued with the cost method.

“Different valuations are done with different methods for different types of properties, the most common being the comparison method, which is used for the valuation of residential properties,” says Low. This approach compares a property with similar properties that were either transacted recently, or listed for sale within the vicinity or other comparable locations.

“The valuation process takes about 10 working days for a residential property. Nowadays, it is quite fast with the help of technology, since everything is computerised,” says Low. If there are hiccups within the process, such as not being able to contact a client, it might take longer. For a corporate office, the process could take three weeks and for big corporate exercises, it could take about a year.

When a property is valued, several factors are considered for adjustment. The first is the location, both specific and overall. The specific location would be the address, and the overall location being the surrounding area or the neighbourhood. “The condition of the property is important as well. Valuers will check for any visible defects such as cracks, leakages and termite infestations,” says Lim of City Valuers & Consultants, adding that house owners getting their property valued should fix all visible defects prior to the inspection date. “Try to clean your house and arrange it in such a way that it looks spacious during the inspection,” he advises.

In general, renovations and extensions that increase space would add value to a property, provided that the quality is good. Other factors taken into account would be the tenure, accessibility, shape of land, land terrain, land size, renovations and extensions done to the property. All things being equal, a property on the top of the hill is most likely to be worth more than a property at the bottom of a slope, says Lim.

“Common sense tells us that a house on higher ground would be naturally more secure than a house which you can look into from the road,” he explains.

“In past experiences, properties located at T-junctions don’t sell as well as others. Imagine that your house is located at a T-junction; it would be inconvenient and there would be no privacy. Some may call it feng shui, but it really is just common sense,” says Lim. “In particularly Chinese
areas, feng shui would matter a lot more.”.

In addition to the above, valuers would consider economic and legal factors too, says Lim. “Demand and supply, economic cycles, special growth areas and changes in land use patterns all affect the value of property. The tenure of the land, restrictions and conditions of the land title as well as legal encumbrances such as squatters are considered too,” he elaborates.

Having considered all of the above factors, valuers will then arrive at the value of a property. “It may appear simple when an experienced valuer is at work, but this is only because he had previously gone through all the processes of training and is now so familiar with the job that it appears simple and rapid,” says Lim, who has been in the industry for 17 years.

According to him, the mathematical contents of a valuation will be very simple, but the art of expressing an opinion in mathematical form is complicated and only comes with experience.

“We must also understand that there is no such thing as ‘the value’ or a specific value,” says Lim. There is always a range of values, he explains. “There are also many misconceptions when it comes to property valuation. Prices in newspaper advertisements and listings do not reflect the going rate, rather these prices are indications of how much owners think their homes are worth. And of course, as a home owner, you would like to believe that the highest value is the value of your home,” he says.

“The problem with speculating prices is that the professional is often ignored, especially in local areas. People tend to think that they know the market very well especially if they live in that area, but no two properties are the same,” says Lim.

For example, a property near Mont’ Kiara would not necessarily appeal to expatriates the way a property located within Mont’ Kiara does.

Henry Butcher’s Low says that most valuers work in specific locations, as it would help them understand the market in the area better, which in turn would make the process of valuation much smoother.

Low advises anyone who wants to get property valuation done, to approach a respectable valuation firm. “Besides valuing property, they do provide advice as well,” he adds.

By theSun (by Yeong Ee-Wah)

City condos receiving youthful response

You only have to look to UDA Holdings Bhd's Gaya Bangsar condominium in Kuala Lumpur to see the penchant among youthful urbanites for city living.

Just weeks after the project's official launch in January, all its 285 units have been sold to the " young and upwardly mobile crowd".

According to the developer, demand was driven by the city's hip and affluent crowd for trendy, avant-grade homes in vibrant, prestigious locations.

The up-and-coming 34-storey Gaya Bangsar is being built on 1.27 acres beside Dataran Maybank along Bangsar's Jalan Maarof and near the Jalan Telawi nightlife hub, Bangsar Shopping Centre and MidValley City. It is also close to the city's main transportation hub of KL Sentral.

Choice of units ranged from 671 sq ft studios to 1,610 sq ft three-plus-one bedroom units priced from RM 359,000 to RM 945,000, which would collectively generate a gross development value of RM155 million.

In keeping with style, UDA said all the units, which are expected to be ready by 2010, were designed with built-in kitchen cabinets and balconies overlooking either KL city, Damansara, Petaling Jaya or Seputeh.

Larger units would also come with private lift lobbies.

Earlier this year, another condominium targeting young and wealthy urbanites also experienced similar response.

One Jelatek by Tan & Tan Developments Bhd, situated at the fringe city enclave of Ampang, saw 90 per cent of its units sold within hours of its official launch, at prices equating to RM 460psf.

By New Straits Times (by Chris Prasad)

Are global investors shying away from Asia?

It looks like better opportunities now lie outside Asia, "for investors who think they can spot a market trough and ride a recovery".

With the markets in United States and Europe rapidly softening, opportunistic investors are now refocusing their sights and looking at distressed assets that are mush-rooming in the wake of the US subprime crisis.

Also in their sights is Japan, as the country starts practising tougher loan approvals.

Fund managers at a recent conference in Hong Kong said many global hedge funds have stopped dabbling in the region's property and though private equity players continue to develop in India and China, they are more likely to buy buildings on the cheap in the West than in Asia.

A recent Reuters report said many funds and private equity firms that made "fat profits" from the revival of Asian property markets following the 1997-98 financial crisis are now looking elsewhere.

It quoted Morley Fund Managers' Asia fund strategist Guy Cawthra as saying, " Six months ago, we didn't have to answer questions about why invest in Asia ... now investors say, "we might not want to invest in Asia, we want to invest in Europe, UK and the US".

JPMorgan analysts said US commercial real estate values could, in the next five years, fall 20 percent from their 2007 peak because of tight credit and a worsening economy, while London's office rental values, which dropped 12 per cent from their peak last June, would fall a further 10 per cent through to 2009.

Fortis Investments head of real estate Bart Coenraads thinks " a lot of investors would return to home markets and some would buy distressed properties and refinance them ... ( in order to) make good returns".

By New Straits Times (by Zoe Phoon)

Hilton building Doubletree presence in Malaysia

The full-service brand can increase performance of underperforming hotels, says executive

Doubletree by Hilton Beijing in China, the first Doubletree in the Asia Pacific, is scheduled to open for the 2008 Olympics

The country’s growing affluence and attraction as an international tourist destination, especially among Middle Easterners, has caught the attention of Hilton Hotels Corp (HHC) that’s on a multibillion-dollar global expansion drive.

“We see great potential for resort destinations to continue to grow and we’re actively looking for opportunities to open Hilton and Doubletree hotels in places such as Langkawi, Penang and Kota Kinabalu, as well as in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca,” said HHC president for Asia Pacific Koos Klein.

“We expect rates to continue to grow and are very confident about the Malaysian hotel and resort markets.”

Klein was in KL recently to meet with potential hotel owners and investors on development opportunities through management and franchising as well as to explain its Doubletree upscale full-service brand.

“Malaysian hotels can benefit from the value-adds of Doubletree by Hilton because it’s a slightly smaller product than the Hilton product, and is very flexible in terms of ability to be used as a new-build brand or a conversion brand.

“Around 90 per cent of the Doubletree hotels in the United States have, in the past three years, been converted from existing branded hotels and their return on investment is clear.

“Once converted to a Doubletree, on average their ‘revenue per available room’ performance would improved by 27 per cent within 12 months of operation,” Klein said, adding that the product also has the potential to be located in central business districts, resort destinations, airports, office precincts or industrial parks.

“For instance, the Doubletree by Hilton Beijing is opening in downtown Beijing, 8km from Tiananmen Square, while Doubletree by Hilton Kunshan is opening in a part of China that sits between Shanghai and Suzhou, an industrial park.

“The Doubletree that’s opening in Thailand this year is located at the foot of Sri Racha Hills and on a golf course, with a leisure and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) appeal.”

On Doubletree’s other value-drivers, Klein said it has access to the Hilton sales and marketing engine that powers the performance of over 3,000 HHC hotels worldwide, as well as access to training programmes for hotel sales staff.

It also has access to the customer relationship management programme, Hilton HHonors, which has 21 million members in 230 countries.

“Our flexible pricing and modelling software enable us to set our pricing by day and length of stay, and to maximise revenue,” Klein explained.

HHC also engages in search word marketing and buys 155,000 words on search engines in 60 countries, and employs an online marketing specialist that optimises the presence of its hotels in global search engines.

For those interested in Doubletree’s managed or franchise aspects, its brand performance vice-president J. Michael Williams said the cost of converting to, or building a Doubletree hotel, depends on the hotel owner’s existing property or plans for a new property.

“We often see the Doubletree brand increasing the performance of underperforming hotels,” Williams said, adding that the company’s architects, designers and interior designers would assess an existing asset and advise on what is required for the conversion process.

The HHC brand, Klein said, caters to every price point – the value-conscious (via the Hampton brand) to the elegant and sophisticated (the Conrad) and the super wealthy (the Waldorf- Astoria Collection).

In Malaysia, the four Hilton hotels in KL, Petaling Jaya, Kuching and Batang Ai are “performing well, with revenue per available room growing 12 per cent and the average room rate increasing 14 per cent year-on- year”.

By New Straits Times (by Zoe Phoon)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

PDC unit to launch condo projects in Bayan Mutiara

An Artist's impression of Mutiara Pica which is set for launch in October

PENANG Development Corp's (PDC) property arm PDC Properties Sdn Bhd (PDCP), which has built high-end homes at Bayan Mutiara on Penang island, will embark on three condominium developments with total gross development value of RM671 million.

The project, also at Bayan Mutiara, spreads out in three parcels on 7.8ha of land.

"The first condo project at Parcel 1 is called 'Mutiara Pica' and is set for launch in October," PDCP chief executive officer Osman Kallahan told Business Times.

OSMAN: Mutiara Pica will comprise of 432 mid-range condominiums

Construction of the first phase is expected to commence in January 2009 and completed in July 2011.

Osman said Mutiara Pica will comprise of 432 mid-range condominiums priced between RM260,000 and RM420,000 per unit.

The second and third parcels, which are expected to be completed by 2012 and 2013 respectively, will feature 980 units of high-end condominiums.

The Bayan Mutiara development, which is sited on a 40ha site, will boast of high-end homes, affordable housing units, schools, a mosque and a government administrative complex, including the State Legislative Assembly building, when completed.

It is also sited within the Penang Multimedia Super Corridor cybercity.

Last June, PDC sold a 0.82ha plot to the Inland Revenue Board to build a 16-storey corporate tower there.

The Marine Police department has also purchased land totalling 4ha within the development.

Other projects on the drawing board for Bayan Mutiara's residential component include the construction of affordable homes and these will comprise low-medium cost and medium- cost apartments.

"The affordable units will total 536 with a price range from RM75,000 to RM200,000.

"Both projects, which are sited on 2.2ha, carry a gross development value of RM70 million," Osman added, saying that the projects are slated to begin construction in July 2009 and be completed by December 2010.

Already under construction by PDCP are its D'Residence bungalow and courtyard homes.

By New Straits Times - Business Times - (by Marina Emmanuel)

Penang goes posh

E&O launches seaside bungalows

FOR centuries, Penang has attracted traders, seafarers and adventurers from far and wide. Today, the island is no less popular, being one of Malaysia’s front-runners in the real estate investment market after Kuala Lumpur. It is against this backdrop of sun and surf, and city living that E&O Property Development Bhd is building the largest waterfront project there.

The company laid the foundation for the Seri Tanjung Pinang community by first selling double-storey terrace and semi-detached housing. It recently took things a notch higher by launching bungalows in three designs.

Known as Skye, Abrezza and Martinique, the bungalows are set apart from other landed developments taking place on the island because of several factors.

The first is the overall ambience. Each home design draws inspiration from the different elements around the world that make living a pleasure.

Although the look, feel and design vary, a single thread binds them and the buyers who take to them – the desire for the finer things in life.

Those who have visited the show village and the show houses would probably agree that Martinique is the most spectacular of the three.

It blends classic lines with the best of materials like nyatoh balustrades, Italian marble flooring and Burmese teak.

Fronting the Straits of Malacca and enveloped by a meandering waterfront promenade, Martinique is a double-storey white sprawling mansion reminiscent of the white and beige plantation manors of the Caribbean Islands.

Much thought has gone into interior decor to give ideas and options to potential buyers. There are several living areas, depending on the purpose and degree of formality of the occasion.

The guest pavilion on one wing offers breathtaking views that sweep into the lawn, sea-front promenade and the azure blue sea. Your guest will not want to leave after this by-the-sea experience.

Depending on the land size, which varies between 11,000 and 13,000 sq ft, Martinique (built-up: 9,000sq ft) begins from RM6.7mil. There are 12 units of Martinique, of which four have been opened for sale. Of these, two have been sold.

Martinique, one of three designs of waterfront bungalows with pool fronting the Straits of Malacca by E&O Property Development in Seri Tanjung Pinang.

Abrezza is named after the sea breeze that winds through the halls and corridors of this triple-storey bungalow.

Elegant yet modern, with a whiff of British opulence, it offers great contrast in terms of colours and details.

There is a clearer definition of private and public spaces, family corners and visitor’s enclave. The developer has dressed up the show units with a lot of dark feature walls, door and window frames and balustrades to add colour and contrast.

No less exciting is the Skye series. Natural light from large windows, high ceilings and skylight give rise to its name. This collection is popular with young families.

Both Skye and Abrezza have built-ups exceeding 5,000sq ft and are priced from RM2.6mil onwards. Abrezza has six plus one rooms while Skye, five plus one. So it is really an offering that considers the needs of several generations, with luxurious ground floor rooms and pantries for higher floors.

E&O marketing and sales director K C Chong says the company is setting a new benchmark for lifestyle living on the island.

About 80% of Seri Tanjung buyers are from Penang, Ipoh, Sungai Petani and Kuala Lumpur.

For some of them, the houses in Seri Tanjung will be their holiday homes. The remaining 20% are foreigners, mostly Westerners.

Says Chong: “Penang is very popular with the expatriate community and those who are in the Malaysia My Second Home programme.”

He says the 240-acre phase one will keep the company busy for the next three to five years.

The second phase comprises two islands, which the company will reclaim from the sea and will be connected to the first phase.

“Because Penang is an island, land is scarce. And with burgeoning demand, it is only natural that prices move up,” he adds.

It is this scarcity of land and the growing popularity of Penang among foreigners, and local and foreign investors, that several developers other than E&O have gone into land reclamation. Among them are IJM Corp Bhd, Penang Development Corp and C P Land Sdn Bhd.

Says Chong: “The land component is different between Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Comparing a guarded development here and another in Kuala Lumpur, the land cost would be higher in Penang.

“At the end of the day, it is this single component that drives up our house prices.”

Cruising along Jalan Tanjung Tokong, which leads to Seri Tanjung, you can see the development that straddles the sun and surf of Batu Feringghi at one end and the city at the other.

When completed, it will be the newest address to join the international list of world-class waterfront communities including The Palms in Dubai, Australia’s Sovereign Islands and Sentosa Cove in Singapore.

Keys to its terraced housing were handed over to buyers in the first quarter of last year. Its first series of chic and elegant terraced houses set tongues wagging when it was launched at the end of 2005 at RM735,000, an unheard-of figure then for double-storey housing on the island.

In the secondary market today, intermediate units are going for about RM800,000 and corner units in the RM1mil region.

There are altogether about 260 units of terraced housing, 215 units of semi-detached, 48 plots of vacant bungalow land (all have been sold) and 73 units of bungalows, comprising Skye, Abrezza and Martinique.

The first phase of the master-planned development will also have 160 units of serviced suites facing a marina and seven condominium blocks.

The marina will be ready in 2009. Land reclamation works for its second phase will begin in three years.

Says Michael Geh, director of property consultancy at Raine & Home International Zaki + Partners: “In many ways, E&O has achieved new benchmark in terms of pricing, architecture and design. The company is giving us modern designs with a very cosmopolitan feel.

“We are seeing other developers following suit. SP Setia has started lush courtyard garden terraces, IJM is giving us Nautilas Bay by-the-sea terraces.

“Other developers must follow this new trend in Penang terraces if they are to keep up. Lifestyle and community housing is here to stay.”

For more information, please click here

By The Star (by Thean Lee Cheng)

Glomac's Q3 earnings up 27% to RM9.53mil

Better revenue from ongoing projects boosts profit

KUALA LUMPUR: Glomac Bhd posted net profit of RM9.53mil for the third quarter ended Jan 31, 2008, up 27% from RM7.51mil a year ago, underpinned by improved revenue from its on-going projects including the high-end residential project Suria Stonor and its commercial project Plaza Glomac.

It announced yesterday revenue rose 44.4% to RM85.82mil from RM59.42mil a year ago. Earnings per share was 3.31 sen compared with 3.39 sen. It also declared a gross dividend of three sen for the current financial year ending April 30.

For the nine-month period, net profit jumped 93.9% to RM30.81mil from RM15.89mil in the previous corresponding period. Revenue rose 36.9% to RM252.29mil from RM184.29mil. EPS was 12.37 sen compared with 7.17 sen.

Group executive chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Mansor Fateh Din said in a statement the group’s healthy growth was driven by strong progress billings in its high-end residential project and commercial project.

“Group sales have also been robust. Glomac Galleria, which was launched recently through a tender process, was fully sold. The first two phases of our gated mixed development in Bandar Baru Bangi, launched in February this year, were also fully sold,” he said.

The Glomac Galleria comprised of 20 units of 4 ½ storey shop offices in Sri Hartamas, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM85mil. The Sri Bangi project in Bandar Baru Bangi had an estimated GDV of RM120mil.

He added the group recently completed the sale of Glomac Tower for RM577mil and this would be a significant contributor to our earnings from the next financial year.

“The group’s prospect remains promising. Our unbilled sales of RM346mil at January 2008 is yet another record high, and this does not include the recent sale of Glomac Tower,” he said.

Mansor said Glomac would be launching the first phase of Glomac Damansara in the second half of this year. The mixed development project along Jalan Damansara would comprise of shop offices, office suites and serviced apartments and would have an estimated GDV of RM600mil.

By The Star (by

Glomac 9-month net profit up 94pc

GLOMAC Bhd's nine-month net profit jumped 94 per cent to RM31.6 million on the back of RM252.3 million revenue, driven by strong progress billings of ongoing development projects.

The group said it has launched close to RM1 billion worth of new projects this year, and will have more than twelve projects ongoing concurrently.

By New Straits Times

Metrojaya to invest RM10mil in second JB store

JOHOR BARU: Metrojaya Bhd will invest RM10mil to set up its second department store here after its Plaza Pelangi outlet.

Chairman Datuk Ahmad Khairummuzammil Mohd Yusof said the outlet at Danga City Mall at Jalan Tun Razak would start operation this July.

Danga City Mall director Gary Lee (left) exchanging documents with Datuk Ahmad Khairummuzammil Mohd Yusof. With them are Danga Bay Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Lim Kang Hoo (second from left) and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman

He said the 11,000 sq m outlet would be the biggest department store in Johor Baru and was Metrojaya’s sixth in the country.

Other stores are located at Kuala Lumpur’s Mid Valley Megamall, Berjaya Times Square and Bukit Bintang Plaza, and Island Plaza Penang.

“We are confident that the retail sector in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) will flourish with the influx of local and foreign investors,” Khairummuzammil said at the tenancy agreement signing between Metrojaya wholly-owned unit MJ Department Stores Sdn Bhd and Danga City Mall Sdn Bhd yesterday.

The RM240mil mall was originally known as Best World Plaza which was forced to close two years after its opening in 1996 during the Asian financial crisis.

Danga City Mall acquired the property for RM50mil from Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd and spent another RM50mil to give a complete makeover.

Khairummuzammil said the company was confident that it would be able to attract shoppers to the mall with the opening of the store.

“Our main targets are locals. Singaporean shoppers will be an added bonus and we believe we have our own strengths and niche,” he added.

He said the IDR was expected to attract an influx of foreign residents who would need places to dine and shop, and Metrojaya wanted to bank on this development.

He said the company would probably look at Nusajaya where the new Johor State Administrative Centre would be located for a future store within the IDR.

By The Star (by Zazali Musa)

Developer goes ahead with project

Green lung: A file picture of the PJ side of Bukit Gasing.

DESPITE the on-going legal battle on the long-standing Bukit Gasing issue, the developer has gone ahead with construction work at the Kuala Lumpur side of the hill.

Residents received letters dated March 24 notifying them that work would be going on and the developer has begun felling trees and clearing the hill.

In the letters, the developer makes reference to approval letters by Kuala Lumpur City Hall dated October and November.

“City Hall refuses to show us the approval letters and it is very frustrating for the residents.

“I’m urging that City Hall issue a stop-work permit until the legal matter is resolved,” said the residents’ legal advisor R.S. Sivarasa, who is also Subang MP.

“Even though the development is on the Kuala Lumpur side of the hill, the effects are detrimental to residents in Selangor as well.

“We are not denying development but we are for preserving the environment because there are not many green areas left in the city,” Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee said.

“The judge in this case has given directives that residents can apply for a court order to stop work if construction begins while she is on leave until she comes back to deliver the judgement,” he added.

“We urge the Federal Territory MPs to fight for the interests of the residents. Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong will be meeting Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah to discuss the matter as well,” Lee said.

He added that the piece of land must be preserved even if the government had to buy it back at an appropriate price.

By The Star

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dubai & Co

DUBAI & CO is MUST read for any person or company that is interested in capturing the OPPORTUNITY in one of the world's fastest growing markets

We all knew that BUSINESS is booming in the Dubai and also other country in the Gulf.

Really thanks for the author (A.A. Rehman)(as he is also an expert in global corporate strategy) have being done so much job of highlighting nuances that are essential for doing business in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC), this's the book most looking for and have given facts and some thoughtful points on how the GCC occupy larger role in the global economy. Those information’s are very useful ...

Have you brought the book (DUBAI & CO) ??? Recommended & great review.
For those who have brought this book, please SHARE your great comments here, appreciated that…

This book was published on Nov'07, you can get it now from Amazon Don’t forget to grab the highest discount given before April.

Putra Heights’ Topaz launch today

Artist’s impression of the Topaz double-storey link homes in Putra Avenue

SIME Darby Property will be launching an additional 110 units of double-storey linked homes at its freehold, 727ha Putra Heights development today. The 22ft by 75ft Topaz homes with built-ups of between 2,080 sq ft and 2,870 sq ft are located within the Putra Avenue enclave. Prices of Topaz units start from RM378,888.

According to the developer, the launch of Topaz follows the “overwhelming response” for the 82 units of 24ft by 75ft Garnet link homes also located in Putra Avenue that was launched in January. The launch weekend saw more than 70% of the Garnet units snapped up and today, it has sold 62 units, or 80%. With built-ups from 2,160 sq ft to 3,440 sq ft, the Garnet homes are priced between RM373,888 and RM705,888.

The 30-acre Putra Avenue was launched last year and features 722 units of double-storey homes. To date, some 544 units including the Topaz homes have been launched. With a total gross development value (GDV) of over RM300 million, Putra Avenue is due for completion by mid-2010.

Sime Darby Property senior executive vice-president Datuk Abd Wahab Maskan told PropertyPlus that apart from upgraders staying in nearby areas of Subang Jaya and USJ, it is also targeting business and working professionals for the Topaz homes which have GDV of RM46.3 million.

“Apart from the large built-ups, we also have many value-added features such as the built-in security alarm system that will give our buyers added peace of mind over and above the Unit Peronda security patrol service that we provide for the residents of Putra Heights,” said Abd Wahab.

He added that the key to the success of its new launches in recent months were the homes’ spacious and practical designs, as well as the upgraded finishing and quality workmanship.

“Sales for our recent launches – Royale Palms Villas and Garnet homes – were very encouraging with 50% and 70% sold respectively,” said Abd Wahab.

The developer launched 36 units of Royale Palms Villas, which are two- and three-storey zero lot bungalows, at Putra Heights in December last year. With land areas ranging between 3,825 sq ft and 7,276 sq ft and built-ups of 4,170 sq ft to 4,900 sq ft, prices start from RM1,388, 888. More than 50% of the units have since been sold.

Meanwhile, Abd Wahab said the completion of the Putra Point shopoffices at Putra Heights would also add value and enhance the appeal of the township.

“Access to the township will be excellent with the completion of the new RM65 million interchange at the ELITE highway at the end of the year as well as the existing interchange at the LDP highway. There will be time savings of up to 15 minutes for journeys to Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur International Airport too,” he added.

The developer has completed and handed over five of six phases of the Putra Point two- and three-storey 24ft by 80ft shopoffices totaling 324 units, all sold out. The prices ranged between RM548,888 and RM808,888.

About 10% of the businesses have moved in and they include restaurants, mini markets as well as furniture and hardware shops.

Putra Heights was first unveiled in 1999 and to date, the developer has completed about 6,000 properties including double-storey linked homes, bungalow lots, apartments as well as shopoffices. It comprises eight enclaves featuring 11,500 residential and commercial properties. It is expected to be fully completed by 2013.

Sime Darby Property has also launched the last phase of its gated RM200 million Planters’ Haven development located near Nilai in Negri Sembilan. There are 95 units of one- and two-storey bungalows left for sale. The homes come in three designs with land areas of one to 2.2 acres, and built-ups between 4,720 sq ft and 7,100 sq ft. respectively. Prices start from RM1.5 million and the maintenance fee is set at three sen psf based on the land area. About 200 people attended the launch, most of them from Kuala Lumpur.

The 270-acre freehold project comprising 158 bungalows was introduced in 1996. It is set within matured orchard land with amenities such as a recreational lake, tree house, stables, horse trail, playground, barbeque area and jogging tracks. There is also a lakeside clubhouse with swimming pool, gymnasium, multipurpose hall and a tennis court. Planters’ Haven would be completed in the next four to five years.

For more details on Sime Darby’s projects, visit its sales gallery at Wisma UEP in UEP Subang Jaya which is open daily from 9.30am to 6.30pm.

By theSun (by Loo Pik Kwan)

New business park in Cheras

The heavy industrial area of Taman Shamelin Perkasa in Cheras is gradually evolving into a popular hub for corporate offices and light manufacturing plants. In line with the changing landscape in the area, Y&Y Group is offering its Shamelin Heights Business Park.

The group’s joint marketing and leasing consultants Dennis Yong and Billy Tan told Propertyplus that due to the area’s close proximity to the Kuala Lumpur city centre, land costs and rentals are rising rapidly making it unfeasible to house heavy industrial factories.

Yong (left) and Tan

The 12.6-acre freehold Shamelin Heights Business Park offers 30 units of 3-storey semi-detached and one 3- storey detached corporate industrial buildings with average land area of 8,500 sq ft and built-ups from 8,500 sq ft.

“The Y&Y Group would be retaining the units and managing the business park. This is perhaps the first and only built-for-lease landed business park in KL. There are others, but none of this size and by a single owner.

The project will be promoted as a single landmark, making it a desirable business address,” said Yong. He added that the Shamelin Heights Business Park has competitive rental rates.

“Rental in the surrounding locality ranges from RM1.80 to RM2.20 psf while rental at Shamelin Heights will be RM2 psf. The first phase of 15 units will be completed in May, and the remaining phases by year-end. We expect to start leasing activities in mid-April,” said Yong.

Tan said the corporate industrial buildings are suitable for use as distribution centres, product and operations hubs, corporate offices, sales and service centres, showrooms and training centres. The buildings have column-free layouts and a modern design with a contemporary outlook. It will be guarded and landscaped.

Apart from Shamelin Heights Business Park, the Y&Y Group is also developing the 1 Shamelin Shopping Mall which is just down the road from the business park. The RM408 million mall is modelled after successful shopping havens such as Bangkok’s Platinum Fashion Mall and MBK Centre, Singapore’s Bugis Junction and Taiwan’s Wu Fen Bu.

The mall is situated on a 4.5-acre plot of leasehold commercial land in between the busy intersection of Jalan 4/91 and Jalan Perdana 10/5 of Taman Shamelin Perkasa. All of the 1,167 units for sale have been taken up since the launch last November and the developer is leasing out the remaining 466,000 sq ft.

The mall will be divided into various themed zones such as Fashion & Trendy, Beauty & Pamper,
Eateries & Snack, Integrated & Cyber Lifestyle zones. It will also have food and beverage outlets and a fitness centre, along with a leisure entertainment zone housing a Cineplex, blowing alley and karaoke outlet.

The retail lots have a unique floor-to-ceiling height of 16.5ft. Standard lot sizes are of 108 sq ft and 126 sq ft with prices from RM128,000.

There will be over 1,500 parking bays. 1 Shamelin is developed by Lambang Ehsan Sdn Bhd, while Shamelin Heights is being developed by Y&Y Property Development Sdn Bhd, Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Y&Y Group. The mall and Shamelin Heights are accessible via a network of roads such as the Middle Ring Road 2, Jalan Cheras, Jalan Perkasa and Jalan Pandan.

Over the past 10 years, the group has developed residential and commercial projects in Cheras, Seri Kembangan, Taman Desa Aman and Taman Shamelin Perkasa, and an upcoming project would be a RM27 million boutique hotel in Tengkat Tong Shin, KL.

By theSun - Propertyplus -(by Allison Lee)