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Monday, January 7, 2008

Beauty needs under one roof

PETALING JAYA: Looking for a place that fulfils your beauty and lifestyle needs? NPO Development Sdn Bhd, a member of the Titijaya Group, is developing Beauty City, a one-stop centre for beauty, fitness and wellness. Beauty City forms part of the group’s RM180 million Tiaraville Serviced Suites development in Jalan Kemajuan, Subang Jaya.

Above: An artist's impression of Tiaraville

Launched in end-2006, Beauty City comprises 55,000 sq ft of retail space. The main components of Beauty City would cover beauty, cosmetic surgery, fitness and health and childcare. The retail centre will have designated female parking lots for the convenience of customers.

The group will be retaining half the space for rental, while the remainder is open for sale. Rentals for units in Beauty City are from RM2 to RM8 psf for units of 157 to 3,966 sq ft, while
prices for units on sale are at RM223,650 to RM1.8 million of 284 to 1,200 sq ft.

Titijaya director Charmaine Lim told theSun that the response from buyers and retailers has
been positive with a take-up rate of 75% so far. “Most are excited about the concept of having all your beauty needs available under one roof and are keen on healthy competition as it will draw in the crowd. There would be other types of complementary businesses as well,” she said.

She added that the group had decided to offer such a product because it realised that the beauty industry is a “hot business”.

“Everyone [including men] are willing to spend money nowadays to look good. The beauty industry has great potential as there is rising demand from locals as well as foreigners, especially
with the promotion of medicaesthetic tourism. We see that this boutique retail could enhance the value and image of the overall Tiaraville development,” Lim said.

She added that the group’s market research showed that residents in the surrounding areas of Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam were looking for a product such as Beauty City.

The 3.3-acre freehold Tiaraville Serviced Suites is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2008. The 671 units of suites are almost sold out.

Lim said Beauty City retailers would benefit from the immediate catchment market of more than 1,000 residents from Titijaya’s projects of Tiaraville and the E-tiara Serviced Suites, which is next to Tiaraville.

Tiaraville Serviced Suites fronts the Federal Highway and is near Carrefour Subang Jaya and Subang Parade. It is accessible via the Federal Highway, New Pantai Expressway, New Klang Valley Expressway, LDP and Kesas Expressway.

The Titijaya group has over 20 years’ experience in the industry and is behind many projects, such as Sentral Walk @ Klang Sentral, Sungai Kapar Indah in Klang, Tiara Square Business Centre in USJ12, Subang Jaya, Harbour Point Business Centre in Port Klang and First Subang in SS15, Subang Jaya. For details, call 03-3348 6666 or visit

By theSun (by Allison Lee)

Showcasing properties in Penang

PENANG: The third installation of the Penang International Property Expo 2008 (PIP2008) will be showcasing residential and commercial properties in the state with a cumulative value close to RM3 billion.

The expo, to be held from March 14 to 16 at the Penang International Sports Arena, is expected to attract about 30,000 visitors and prospective purchasers locally as well as from overseas.

Unlike its previous expos over the last two years, organisers of PIP2008 have engaged the assistance of Fiabci (International Real Estate Federation), Penang branch, to bring in foreign developers to participate in this event.

To attract more foreign visitors, the organisers have also teamed up with the Malaysia Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA), Penang branch, which will be promoting the fair abroad.

It is understood that MIEA will be offering travel packages, such as its “Discover Penang Property Weekend” where foreign purchasers of properties under the Malaysia My Second Home programme would have their air fares reimbursed. There are also incentives for the estate agents overseas who bring in these buyers.

Speaking at the media launch recently, state housing committee member Wong Mun Hoe
said with the recent launch of the Northern Corridor Economic Region, there is great potential for every industry player.

“We are also fortunate to have established property development players from Kuala Lumpur, who, in addition to our local players, are contributing to new projects,” Wong said.

He added that industry players were also taking advantage to develop largescale projects on both sides of the second link, off the coast on the northern and eastern sides of the island, as well as near the site of the Penang Global City Centre.

By theSun (by Jonathan Chen)

Titijaya fast becoming innovative developer

An artist's impression of the HP Mall to be developed in Klang by Titijaya Group

It will launch several new projects such as Subang Soho and Sentral Walk this year

The Titijaya Group is fast making a name for itself as an innovative property developer, shedding its previous image as merely a builder of traditional shop offices.

This year will see the group launching several new projects in Selangor that will include the Subang Soho in SS19, Subang Jaya, and Sentral Walk in Klang Sentral after the coming Chinese New Year.

It also has a 500-acre development in Sungai Kapar Indah and nearly 300 acres in Kapar Bestari, a joint venture project with Worldwide Holdings Bhd.

Group director Charmaine Lim Puay Fung is upbeat that its new line-ups would do as well as its previous developments.

The Sentral Walk will have a concept similar to The Street@ Curve in Damansara. There will be 80 units of three and four-storey hybrid/shop offices with dual frontage and a landscaped courtyard in the middle.

The ground and first floor will be retail lots while the office unit will be on the third floor. Prices are from RM988,000.

With 90% of the 220 units of three-storey Phase 1 shop offices sold, it is obvious that there is a strong demand for retail units in the RM12mil Klang Sentral transportation hub.

The Phase 1 units were priced from RM788,000 to over RM1mil. There will also be a proposed hypermarket on a six-acre land.

Meanwhile, the1.6-acre, freehold 19-storey Subang Soho with RM90mil gross development value will cater to young, single professionals who yearn to have their own “working pad” that is within easy reach of many amenities.

Again, Titijaya has researched people's lifestyle and feels that the time is right to launch 448 Soho units despite the rising number of apartments in the nearby Subang Parade stretch.

Subang Soho's special features include a sky club, rooftop garden, broadband connectivity, 16ft-high double-volume concept and fully furnished units that include air-conditioners.

Unit sizes are from 560 to 1,084 sq ft and priced around RM350 per sq ft (priced from RM198,800). There will be two wings.

In Sungai Kapar Indah, Titijaya will soon be selling 80 units of houses completed by Guthrie previously.

These include two-storey link houses priced from RM178,000 for the 20ft x 65ft type and from RM186,000 for the 20ft x 70ft type.

Realising a demand for single-storey terrace houses in the area, the company is going to launch some 20ft x 65ft, single-storey terrace houses priced from RM160,000.

Other projects in its stable include:

Harbour Point This retail and office development on 3.4 acres of leasehold land in the town centre in Port Klang was launched recently. About 60% of the 21 units of three-storey shop offices and priced from RM799,000 have been sold.

This project is in a good location as it is between the main thoroughfare of Pesiaran Raja Muda Musa and Jalan Depoh.

There will also be a neighbourhood mall called HP Mall. The anchor tenant will be Giant that will be taking up 30,000 sq ft of space.

The retail lots from 250 to 800 sq ft will be priced from RM143,000. There will be 80 covered parking bays as well as an open car park.

Titijaya is keeping 30 of the 100 retail lots. About 90% of the saleable lots have been sold.

Titijaya has done its research well as it knows there is a strong demand for modern retail lots with very few sub sales from existing retail units in the area. Most of the buyers are also up-graders.

Tiara Square in UEP Industrial Park in USJ12. All 94 units of two-storey shop offices have been sold and completed. Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CF) is being handed over to purchasers. The value has appreciated by 20%.

It is also building the RM20mil Chinese Cultural Centre that would be handed over to the Selangor Government to operate.

It will be a one-stop centre for all things Chinese such as Chinese cuisine, Chinese medical treatment, and Chinese products.

First Subang This 1.5-acre freehold mixed development in the SS15 commercial centre in Subang Jaya, Selangor, comprises two office towers on top a three-level retail podium.

About 80% of the first tower called the Southern Tower (11 floors) has been sold since its launch a year ago. Those who bought the 500 to 1,270 sq ft units are mainly up-graders.

The second tower called Northern Tower (10 floors) is not opened for sale yet. Both towers are under construction.

E-Tiara (next to Carrefour/Subang Parade) is fully sold and completed. With demand continuing to exceed supply for such quality apartments in the area, rentals are expected to remain firm.

A studio unit priced around RM150,000 is said to fetch RM1,200 rental a month. It is about 70% occupied.

The Tiaraville apartment next to E-Tiara is also sold and would be handed over in May.

By The Star (by S.C.Cheah)

Signature seeks more tie-ups - It aims to capitalise on the active property sector

Kitchen cabinet and wardrobe manufacturer Signature International Bhd (SIB) is seeking more tie-ups with property developers to capitalise on the active property sector.

According to co-founder and managing director K.C. Tan, the kinship between SIB's product line and the property development industry allowed the group to fast track its business globally.

“Our products are very much related to the property sector. Over time, as our brand began to expand, we had more tie-ups with property developers,” Tan told StarBiz.

Our products are very much related to the property sector« K.C. TAN

SIB, en route for a listing on Bursa Malaysia second board on Jan 18, has tied up with developers such as Sunrise Bhd (Mont'Kiara), Asia Quest Holdings Sdn Bhd (Kiaramas), Malaysia Land Properties Sdn Bhd (Mayland) and has also been involved with a number of Government-based projects in Putrajaya.

For the financial year ended June 30, 2007 (FY07), the group secured and delivered close to 30 projects (tied up with developers) overseas worth RM6mil.

SIB currently has 30 to 50 ongoing projects, locally and overseas, valued at about RM50mil.

Tan said the company planned to raise RM22.1mil from its initial public offering (IPO) to boost its business operations and brand equity, primarily in the foreign market.

“We are excited about our future growth in the overseas market,” Tan said, adding that SIB was targeting Dubai, New Zealand and China markets in the next two years.

The group now has a presence in 14 countries.

With a healthy presence overseas, it is not surprising that SIB currently counts foreign retailers as its main competitors.

“Our products are generally benchmarked against European products. Our products are also more cost and price effective compared with theirs, so we have an advantage.

“That advantage has allowed us to fast track into 14 countries very quickly. The acceptance, together with the right price and the right products, has given us a competitive edge against most retailers,” Tan said.

Another advantage, he said, was that the group provided one-stop services to its customers. “We send our people overseas to undertake installation services. This is something the Europeans cannot compete with,” he said.

According to Tan, the group's products are manufactured locally before being exported. Dealers would also be appointed overseas to coordinate the installation where necessary.

He said SIB aimed to increase revenue from exports to RM11.35mil or 12% for the year ending June 30, 2008 (FY08) compared with RM6.65mil or 8% in FY07.

“We are also targeting to increase our revenue from exports to 30% annually within the next three to five years,” he said, adding that he was confident the IPO would help SIB achieve its target.

Co-founded by Tan and partner Michael Chooi, SIB began as Cabinet Industries Sdn Bhd in 1994.

Maintaining a low-price strategy for the low-end kitchen cabinet industry proved successful for the company until it started targeting the high-end branded kitchen systems industry in 2000.

According to a recent research report by Vital Factor Consulting Sdn Bhd, SIB is currently the largest company among 80 in terms of revenue and size in the country's branded kitchen sector.

It is also the market leader in terms of number of retail outlets. SIB has 22 showrooms in Malaysia and seven overseas.

It plans to open one showroom in the country and five abroad in its current financial year.

SIB will become the first counter from the kitchen and wardrobe systems sector to be listed.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam)

Strong fundamentals will support uptrend in 2008

Given the country's still solid footing, there's time yet to make more hay this year, despite the intermittent showers.

The rate at which new projects are being launched and building construction activities are going on, you would think that most of the real estate developers in the country are trying hard not to miss out on the property market's current up cycle.

It's not that they are oblivious to the turbulent economic and financial weather in other parts of the world, or to the notion that nothing lasts forever.

It's that market consensus has emerged that the year 2008 promises to be as buoyant for the real estate industry as 2007 was.

And the country's fundamentals offer a pretty compelling argument, given the steady economic growth path, liberal foreign property ownership laws and supportive policies to drive domestic demand for real estate, to name a few.

Jump in commercial property stock The focus of the feverish activity seems to be on the commercial sub-sector. Based on official records from the Ministry of Finance's Property Market Report for the first half of 2007, a total of 19.48 million square feet of shopping centre space were under construction during the first half of last year.

Another 18.4 million square feet of retail space have building plan approvals. Should all these new projects materialise as planned, the country's retail space will jump to 125.25 million square feet, up 43.4 per cent from the existing supply of 87.37 million square feet in a couple of years from now.

During the same period, the total office space under construction in the country amounted to 17.43 million square feet. With the additional 24 million square feet of approved office space, the nation’s total supply will add up to 199.38 million square feet, rising 26.2 per cent from its existing total of 157.96 million square feet.

Contributing further to the commercial space supply are the 3,995 shops being constructed and potentially another 6,703 shops given building plan approvals as at the end of June 2007.

The buoyant construction activity in the shops subsector stemmed from the record increases in market transactions since late 2006. Shops represented 67.3 per cent and 49.1 per cent of the total volume and value of commercial transactions respectively in the first six months of 2007!

The hotel sub-sector, which enjoyed improved occupancies, also witnessed more vibrant construction activities in 2007 compared with the year before.

In addition to the existing 149,820 hotel rooms in the country, a total of 16,177 rooms are reported to be under construction. There will be a jump in the total stock when all the 33,713 rooms with building plan approvals become a reality.

Upbeat trend to continue The positive momentum in Malaysia's real estate industry is expected to continue this year on the back of a growing economy. Bank Negara Malaysia reported the gross domestic product (GDP) for July-September 2007 has expanded at a faster rate of 6.7 per cent than the 5.7 per cent registered in the second quarter and six per cent for the same period in 2006.

Given the 5.5 per cent registered in Q1 ’07, the average growth rate for the first three quarters of last year would be 6.15 per cent despite the topsy-turvy global conditions then proving its resilience compared with the last decade.

In spite of an expected slowing down of exports, and lower estimates from private analysts, the government is confident that an average growth of six per cent is achievable in 2007, and that the past three years’ growth momentum (5.2 per cent in 2005 and 5.9 per cent in 2006) should help 2008 achieve a growth of six to 6.5 per cent.

Improving investment environment The positive outlook for Malaysia is also supported by the Japan External Trade Organisation's (Jetro) 2008 Economic Outlook for East Asia report released last December. It said the nation's economy would expand by 5.8 per cent in 2008 against a backdrop of reduced corporate taxes that will help improve the investment environment. More push is also expected from rising private and public investments projected at 7.5 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively, while the strength of the ringgit will help in stabilising import prices.

Underpinned by strong domestic demand and the anticipated execution of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) projects, the confidence level among the business community held up well last year and is showing no sign of faltering.

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research's (MIER) Business Conditions Index (BCI), which reflects business sentiments, was 117.5 points in Q3 '07 – up by almost 10 points from 107.8 points in Q3 '06 and 12 points from 105.5 points in Q3 '07.

On an equally bullish note are the Malaysian consumers whose sentiments have been partly buoyed by measures in Budget 2008, which include the opportunity for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors to make monthly withdrawals for financing one house.

Armed with positive job market perceptions, their confidence level was recorded at 117.5 points in Q3 '07, up from 115.9 points in the previous quarter and 107.5 points in Q3 '06.

Global uncertainty mitigated The growth momentum of previous years, together with the upbeat sentiments, should provide a backdrop of "blue skies" for 2008. However, the volatility in global financial markets will continue to persist and this will cause concerns of potential spillover into the real economy.

According to the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council's (PECC) State of the Region Report 2007-2008, the Asia Pacific region’s economic outlook has never been more uncertain since the financial crisis that struck the region 10 years ago. There is the unwinding of the crisis in the United States subprime mortgage sector that is still taking place amid global inflationary pressures and emerging speculative bubbles in Asia.

However, notwithstanding these risks, there is some good news that should not be ignored: Increased stability of the region’s economies, considered by the rest of the world as "emerging markets".

On solid footing Other than the world's first tier emerging markets, China and India (which are all anyone talks about these days), the second tier ones in East Asia, such as Malaysia, have never been on more solid footing than today.

Many have built up sizeable foreign currency reserves, thus shielding themselves from attacks on their currencies. Currency risks are further minimised because they are now able to borrow in their own currencies rather than in dollars and euros. Besides their debt levels being far more manageable relative to exports, their financial systems have improved and exchange rates are set at more realistic levels this time. In short, although crises are not out of the question, they are less likely to happen.

For all you know, US economic woes could turn out to be a good thing for the region’s real estate markets: Lower interest rates as a result of repeated rate reduction by the US Federal Reserve would mean lower bank returns combined with the fact that the US real estate market is in the doldrums, it may just be enough to push global investors to look for better returns elsewhere.

And Malaysia as part of East Asia, which Jetro has forecast to grow at a brisk rate of 8.2 per cent in 2008, would be a beneficiary. Thus, amid intermittent showers, the sun should still shine brightly enough in 2008 for real estate players to make some more hay.

By New Strait Times (by Lim Lay Ying)

Lim Lay Ying is managing director of Research Inc. (Asia), a company specialising in market research and consultancy for all facets of real estate development. Access past articles and more at or call 03-2092 4966.

Mideast fund snaps up Sunway City condo

Sunway City Bhd has concluded its second en bloc sale - the Sunway Pallazzio Block B for an estimated RM220 million to a firm linked to a Middle Eastern fund.

The buyer for the property, which is under construction, is Radiant Splendor Sdn Bhd, a special purpose vehicle affiliated to the fund, sources say.

Sunway Pallazzio
, an 80-unit super luxury condominium in Sri Hartamas, was sold at around RM750 per sq ft. The building is due to be completed in 2010.

The sale underscores the attraction of Malaysia's property market, which has been buzzing since the government lifted a sales tax and made it easy for foreigners to own property.

The source added that with the sale, Suncity could save up to RM10 million in promotional and marketing costs.

The announcement is set to be made this week.

Suncity's chief financial officer Koong Wai Seng declined to comment on the deal when contacted.

However, Koong noted that Suncity had completed its first enbloc sale - the Sunway South Quay deal with a South Korean investor - on December 27 last year.

This 249-unit luxury condominium in Sunway South Quay, was sold for RM170 million to Luxury Court Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between property developer CI Korea and Daol Fund.

Daol Fund is South Korea's First Real Estate Asset Management Specialists with US$10.7 billion (RM35.1 billion) asset under its management.

Established in June 2006 with a US$310 million (RM1.02 billion) real estate fund, it is backed by South Korea's four top-tier banks and two major securities firms including Worri Bank, Hana Bank and National Agricultural Cooperative Federation Bank.

The Sunway South Quay Korea community will be a twin city of the the US$337 million (RM111 billion) HongCheon Senior Leaders country project under development.

"With the Daol Fund, the likelihood of the option given to CI Korea to purchase another enbloc property next to the first property has increased," Koong said, adding that the price tag on the option is around RM200 million.

By New Straits Times

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