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Friday, December 19, 2008

Big property launches delayed

PETALING JAYA: Developers are delaying the launching of any major projects amidst the current weak market sentiment.

According to Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association president Datuk Ng Seing Liong, major launches were being put off for a few months. However, some smaller-scale projects should be introduced after the Chinese New Year.

Datuk Ng Seing Liong

The trend was across the board for all types of properties as buyers were on a wait-and-see mode, he told StarBiz in a telephone interview.

“Deferring projects is a business decision and should not lead to abandoned projects. We have had enough of that in the past,” he said.

Ng believed recovery in the property market would take at least one to 1½ years.

“You can’t go wrong with properties. The most they can weaken is 10% to 15%,” he said, adding that in an economic downturn, it was important that developers could break even and sustain their cashflow.

“If any of them had locked-in sales, it’d be a bonus,” he said.

Dijaya Corp Bhd managing director Tong Kien Onn said the company was keeping tabs on the market to gauge the right time for its next launch.

It is planning to launch three new projects within the Tropicana area in Petaling Jaya over the next one year. They are Tropicana Grande, a condominium fronting the Tropicana golf course; Tropicana Avenue, which is a commercial centre; and Pool Villas, comprising semi-detached villas.

“There are plans for two new landed property developments located south of Kuala Lumpur, which we are targeting to launch by middle of next year,” he said.

The developer is also in the midst of promoting its unsold ready units of Villa Green super semi-detached homes.

“We sold about 75%, which were completed and delivered to our purchasers in April,” he said.

Tong said its property locations at Tropicana Indah and Tropicana City remained attractive for the owner-occupier segment of buyers.

“Most of our available stocks are completed properties and this helps because potential buyers can move in sooner and they enjoy savings on their loan interests,” he added.

Dijaya has unbilled sales of about RM250mil, most of which will be recognised over the next one year.

Mah Sing Group Bhd group managing director Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum said it had completed construction of a lot of housing products at the old lower costs.

Its completed products amounted to RM282mil, which will allow profit and cashflow to be ploughed back to the group immediately.

Together with this amount, gross development value and unbilled sales totalling RM3.9bil would sustain earnings in the coming years, he said.

He added that the group had a war chest of RM143mil and would receive an additional RM212mil in cash after the completion of its Icon Jalan Tun Razak by June next year.

Mah Sing will seek land in prime locations in the Klang Valley, Johor Baru and Penang. Last month, it paid RM13mil for a 2.12ha site in Setapak, which is opposite the upcoming Parkson Grand Setapak to be completed next year.

By The Star (by Yeow Pooi Ling)

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