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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dijaya plans Jenjarom project launch in 2009

PETALING JAYA: Dijaya Corp Bhd plans to launch the first phase of the RM270 million mixed development on its recently acquired land in Jenjarom, Kuala Langat, Selangor, by end-2009, its managing director Tong Kien Onn told theSun.

“We have yet to decide on the final components of the proposed development, but it will comprise mainly residential properties.

The composition will depend on market studies yet to be carried out,” he explained.

Earlier this week Dijaya Corp announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Nadi Jelita Sdn Bhd had entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Beta Fame Sdn Bhd to acquire four parcels of freehold agricultural land, measuring 93.418 acres in Jenjarom, Kuala Langat, for RM29.5 million.

Tong said the project, which has yet to be named, will be targeted at the upgrader market of the local population in Jenjarom, Banting and its immediate surroundings who are looking for quality products. The site is located within the commercial center of Jenjarom town and along the Klang/ Banting road, which has been seeing rapid development.

The land acquisition for the project, which is slated for completion within six years, is in line with the developer’s direction to increase its landbank for development and to generate long-term sustainable income.

Dijaya Corp is synonymous with the development of its flagship project, the Tropicana Golf & Country Resort and the Damansara Indah Resort Homes.

In the Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, the developer is expecting to launch the first phase of its Tropicana Grande golf-course-fronting condominiums by the third quarter of the year.

Tropicana Grande, one of the final offerings in the resort development in Petaling Jaya, is tagged at an estimated price of RM500 psf.

There will be 298 units with built-ups from 2,208 to 6,138 sq ft.

Tong with a scale model of the integrated development of Tropicana City

Meanwhile, construction on its nine-acre freehold development of Tropicana City located at the crossroads of the LDP and Sprint highways is progressing rapidly. The Tropicana Mall is expected to be completed by the third quarter of the year. More than 40% of its 440,000 sq ft of nett lettable area has been leased out.

The second component of the integrated development is the RM147 million Tropics Designer Suites, which already has a take-up rate of 75%. The 601 units are sized from 625 to 1,176 sq ft and priced between RM222,000 and RM506,000.

The suites, which sit on top of the shopping podium, are scheduled for completion by the third quarter of 2009. Construction work on the third offering — the 105,000 sq ft Signature Office Tower recently commenced. The developer intends to retain the tower for leasing.

By theSun (by Allison Lee)

Select Right Properties For Investment

Every property investor hopes to generate good profit from his real estate investment. Therefore, whether it is for personal use or for investment, selecting the right type of property is important. While there are many views on this subject, here are some basic principles and guidelines that can help investors:

In considering investment in new developments, the reputation and success of the developer is important. - File Photo

1 Location

Selecting a good location is critical; it can include an area which has a high demand for rental, an area that is self sustaining in terms of shopping convenience, availability of schools/colleges, proximity to towns and cities, whether it is self-contained, etc. A location that is established and matured has a record of good yields and returns.

2 Accessibility and transportation system

Accessibility and transportation is another key factor for growth of all townships, as it contributes to the development of surrounding areas. Roads, railways and LRT accessibility not only add value to the property but also the convenience of travel.

3 Selling price

When selecting the property, it is advisable to compare the selling price of similar properties in the neighbouring areas. This is to determine whether the property you are planning to invest in is overpriced or underpriced. These records can be obtained from estate agents and this information can guide you to really understand price movements over a period of time. There are many properties that are underpriced and it takes time to search for them.

4 Brand

In considering investment in new developments, the reputation and success of the developer is important. Developers with a good track record deliver properties as promised with good quality finishes and as scheduled.

5 Timing

It is important to note that timing does help when the property market is in an overheated situation. Since the real estate industry has its own economic cycle, we must try to understand in which cycle we are in. However, in any market properties worth investing in, it is a general rule not to invest in overpriced properties at any point in the cycle.

6 The amenities

The surrounding amenities are an added advantage to the residents as they will give much convenience and result in a comfortable lifestyle. The nearby commercial area and facilities provided by the property itself are among the factors to be considered in real estate selection.

7 Restriction and condition

When investing in real estate, we must make sure it is not bound by too many restrictions and purchase conditions and this can be reflected in the title. Otherwise, one might face a lot of difficulties or trouble by the time we want to sell off the real estate. The restrictions include land usage, private caveats and transfer restrictions which will affect the selling price of the property.

8 Other considerations

We should also think about our own financial constraints to avoid excessive debt, the returns on investment, cash flow consideration, etc. In addition, when calculating the returns, we should also consider our ability to pay for the loan instalment. We should never overlook other hidden costs such as legal fees, security charges, service fees, maintenance fees, assessment, quit rent, etc.

In conclusion, property acquisition planning is important before we decide to acquire a property. We should choose properties which are cost effective and have potential for high return on investment. One should consider wisely from the various angles provided above. In all situations visit and inspect the property before you make a purchase decision. In some small degree non-financial factors such as feng shui and geographical direction also affect the value of your investment.

By The Star (by

This article is part of an on-going real estate education programme by the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA), 88-B, Jln SS 21/39, Damansara Utama, 47400 PJ. Tel: 03-77277477 Fax: 03-77293693 E-mail: Website: my

Construction sector works to plug brain drain

PETALING JAYA: The Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) is planning nationwide road shows this year on employment opportunities in the construction sector as part of its efforts to address the country's shortage of skilled workers in the sector.

According to MBAM president Patrick Wong, the association plans to visit schools, colleges and universities to give talks on the career opportunities in the sector.

“The construction sector has been facing a severe brain/skill-drain problem for the past year, especially at the consultancy levels and we foresee it to be worse this year. Although it can’t be solved overnight, we need to start addressing it from the education level,” he told theSun at the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association open house held recently.

For the road shows, MBAM will be working with the Construction Industry Development Board of Malaysia to recruit jobless graduates to be trained with its 600 members nationwide.

Wong said that local workers have been headhunted to take up offers in Singapore since the start of the two large integrated resort developments there, as well as to Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

“There is a construction boom worldwide and local workers are attracted by the higher pay and better benefits.

Malaysian workers are highly in demand as they speak English, are multi-skilled and can handle the jobs on site,” he added.

On the rising costs of construction, Wong said MBAM members faced average increases of 12% last year, and expected costs to rise between 18% and 22% this year.

“The major impact will be felt in the first quarter due to the simultaneous launches of projects in this period including the Iskandar Development Region, Northern Corridor Economic Region, Eastern Corridor and Penang Second Link. With so much demand, the cost of labour, machinery and raw materials are bound to increase,” he added.

In order to cushion the impact, he advised members to be more productive and seek out new methods to do construction work.

“For example, they can use skim coats instead of plaster walls to bring costs down. Alternatively, use the type of machinery that requires lesser manpower,” he said.

On the automatic price mechanism for setting new cement prices scheduled to start in January, Wong said that it has not taken effect and believed the reason to be that the actual cost of the raw material has not increased.

By theSun (by Loo Pik Kwan)

F&N set to launch maiden residential project

PETALING JAYA: The property division of Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&N) is planning to launch its maiden residential project on commercial land known as Ampang Hilir 233, located on a 1.56-acre tract along Embassy Row in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, this year.

Property division general manager Cheah Hong Chong (pix) said, the niche project comprises 434 serviced apartments with built-ups from 430 sq ft to 1,001 sq ft, as well as office suites and retail lots.

“We are targeting the development at local and foreign buyers and investors looking for quality, high-end residential units in a prime location in the heart of KL’s city centre.

“We are currently evaluating the pricing but it will match the market value of around RM700 psf,” Cheah said.

Also the developer of Fraser Business Park in Sungai Besi, it completed and handed over Phase 1 and is now concentrating on completing the second phase known as Zon.e@Fraser Business Park, which was launched in September 2006. To date, 75% of the second phase has been taken up and is targeted for completion in 2009, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM350 million.

Positioned as the region’s first purpose built ICT hub to be equipped with cuttingedge digital technology, the integrated commercial development will feature ICT retail business lots, Malaysia’s first budget e-hotel, serviced apartments and the city campus of a university college.

Cheah said the transformation of F&N’s former factory land into prime commercial office and retail space has not only benefited the group but also provided purchasers with healthy returns within a short timeframe.

“Capital returns for the 5-and 6-storey shop offices in Phase 1 have shot up, with some units being sold at more than 50% over the initial purchase price during its launch in 2004. For instance, a unit originally priced at RM1.8 million is now worth between RM2.8 million and RM3
million,” he told theSun.

On the group’s future plans, he said F & N would continue to focus on the ICTcentric theme for
all commercial and residential projects. “Other than Fraser Business Park, other good commercial developments at the group’s existing factory sites can be expected down the road,” he said.

F&N will also explore the possibility of collaboration with reputable institutions and brands to develop value-added products that complement the group’s own projects, he added.

In line with the need to build a stronger brand image for its property division and improve customer service efforts, F&N has built a dedicated property gallery and strengthened its in-house sales and marketing team. “The property division will realise its aspirations of owning its own identity once F&N Properties Sdn Bhd is set up,” Cheah said.

While unlocking the value of its current and future property developments, the soft drinks and dairy products manufacturer’s property division will maintain its current conttribution of 8% to 10% to the group’s overall revenue and earnings, he added.

“We expect the property division to continue contributing sustainable income to the group through projects that feature product innovation coupled with an ICTcentric theme,” he said.

For its financial year ended Sept 30, 2007, F & N recorded a net profit of RM152.9 million on revenue of RM2.9 billion. Its property division recorded an operating profit of RM20.6 million on revenue of RM65 million in the year under review.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)

Sime Darby launches latest Putra Heights offerings

PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Property recently launched Garnet, its latest offering of double-storey linked homes, in Putra Heights.

The 82 units of Garnet double-storey link homes, sized at 24ft by 75ft, with built-up from 2,160 sq ft to 3,440 sq ft and priced between RM373,888 and RM705,888, will be completed by January 2010. Since its launch, 47 homes, or 57%, have been sold.

Putra Heights, situated adjacent to the neighbouring townships of Subang Jaya, UEP Subang Jaya (USJ), Puchong and Shah Alam, is an integrated township of mixed residential and commercial properties.

“The newly completed Putra Point commercial centre and the completion of a new RM65 million interchange at the Elite Highway (by year-end) will certainly make Putra Heights one of the preferred townships in the Klang Valley,” said Sime Darby Property senior executive vicepresident Datuk Abdul Wahab Maskan.

Located on prime freehold land along Putra Avenue (within Putra Heights), Garnet offers a choice of four layout plans with standard features including three air-conditioning units, 11-foot high ceilings (ground floor), eight-foot-high main entrances, auto-gate systems and concealed drainage.

“Our corner and end-lot units have been enhanced further with six bedrooms, a larger car porch that can accommodate up to three cars, and three-phase wiring,” Abdul Wahab said. He added the openconcept design for the living and dining areas, and the courtyard allows continuity
and better ventilation between indoors and outdoors.

Abdul Wahab said Putra Heights, a 727- hectare development, is a fast-emerging vibrant township.

Previous launches there include the Sapphire, Ruby, Amethyst and Emerald double-storey link homes that have been receiving very encouraging responses from interested homebuyers. Amethyst and Emerald, for example, have take-up rates of 80% and 61% respectively.

Amethyst units, with built-ups of between 2,160 sq ft and 3,440 sq ft were priced from RM373,888 to RM712,888, while Emerald units, with built-up areas between 2,050 sq ft and 3,860 sq ft, were priced from RM349,888 to RM750,888.

The township will comprise approximately 11,500 units of both residential and commercial properties once it is fully completed within the next four years.

Sime Darby Property’s previous developments include the highly successful Subang Jaya and USJ townships.

By theSun (by Rosalynn Poh)

DRB-HICOM gets offer for mall

DRB-HICOM Bhd, the country's largest integrated automotive concern, has received a S$150 million (about RM344 million) offer for a shopping mall it owns in Singapore's Little India, people familiar with the matter said yesterday.

The offer is some 50 per cent more than what it received in 2006. However, it is unlikely to sway the management team to sell the Singapore asset anytime soon.

"There won't be a fire sale of assets. Instead, there are plans to make additional investment into the asset before a transparent sale can be considered," said a person representing a shareholder of the company. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

It is believed that DRB-HICOM intends to pump in between RM10 million and RM20 million to refurbish and rebrand the six-storey Tekka Mall, which sits on 6,332 sq m of commercial land in between Serangoon and Sungei Road.

DRB-HICOM bought the land in Singapore a year before the Asian financial crisis and only started developing the land in 2002. It is estimated that its cost of investment, including the land, is about S$188 million (RM431 million).

Tekka Mall (the automotive group's first property venture abroad), alongside Raba Nyrt (Hungary's only publicly-traded vehicle parts maker), is among assets deemed as non-core. They have been earmarked for sale to raise about RM500 million in fresh capital.

DRB-HICOM, under the stewardship of managing director Datuk Mohd Khamil Jamil, has been doing a juggling act of selling assets and buying new ones. This is aimed at reducing debts and adding more urgency to the group's focus.

Although a mainstay in the automotive sector, DRB-HICOM has sizeable interest in property development, defence and services.

It also has interest in the plantation business via its ownership of the fully-matured Connemara Estate, which sits on 6.26 million sq m of land in Ulu Langat, Selangor.

The estate land could be converted for property development. But for now, DRB-HICOM is content to reap dividends from firm palm oil prices.

Mohd Khamil declined to speak on specifics, but told Business Times that the management team's efforts thus far had been helped by the free hand given by major stakeholders of the company.

The major shareholders are tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary (15.4 per cent), the Employees Provident Fund (17.48 per cent) and Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the government-owned investment arm (10.33 per cent).

Since his appointment to the job in February 2006, Mohd Khamil's team has shaved off almost RM505 million of the group's debts by getting rid of non-core businesses and improving operational and financial efficiency to strengthen the group's balance sheet.

To date, DRB-HICOM has outlined plans on the sale of its stake in EON Capital Bhd and Uni.Asia Capital Sdn Bhd, which will raise about RM2 billion cash.

As at March 31 2007, DRB-HICOM had debts of about RM2.2 billion. Interest on the debts for the year under review stood at RM143.69 million, or about 94 per cent of its net profit of RM156.53 million.

By New Straits Times (by Francis Fernandez)

Pride of Kota Kinabalu’s waterfront

An integrated mixed development is to take pride of place in Sabah’s capital, right smack on the waterfront in Kota Kinabalu city centre, along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.

Described as the city’s “most exciting tourist attraction development to date”, Kota Kinabalu City Waterfront (KKCW) will take the form of a 2km-long boardwalk rising above the sea on stilts and built with eco-friendly materials.

According to developer Waterfront Urban Development Sdn Bhd (WUD), the project is set to be “a thriving waterfront pedestrian walkway that will seamlessly connect a variety of retail, lifestyle, residential and hotel establishments”.

To be completed by 2010, the RM500 million KKCW will incorporate environmentally friendly features such as high-tech LED lighting, energy conserving air-conditioning systems and solar powered pedestrian lighting along the boardwalk.

“The project was conceptualised after detailed studies of several thriving world-class waterfront attractions,” WUD managing director Reymee Mohamed Hussein said.

These sites included Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia; Cape Town Waterfront in South Africa; Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong; Canary Wharf in London, England; and Clark Quay Riverside in Singapore.

Launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Kota Kinabalu at the close of last month when he also unveiled the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), KKCW is being undertaken in collaboration with the Kota Kinabalu City Hall.

WUD, Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Bhd and a consortium of Malaysian and Middle Eastern investors will fund the project.

“KKCW is in line with Kota Kinabalu’s overall urbanisation and development master plan … it will increase the role of coastal cities as catalysts for modernisation and development,” Reymee said.

“We designed the development to unlock the potential of the city’s waterfront. It will feature one of the longest city waterfront boardwalks in Asia and is poised to become a tourist attraction as well as an integral part of Sabah’s hospitality industry.”

The retail element will be formed by “elegant stores and chic boutiques” in an open-air layout, as well as a luxury fashion mall catering to upscale consumers and tourists.

Aside from giving the city a new lifestyle heartbeat, Reymee said KKCW will also spur economic growth for Kota Kinabalu and provide employment and new business opportunities for local residents and businesses.

WUD is a subsidiary of Orienthold Waterfront Development Sdn Bhd, a private company established in 2004 with the principal objective of promoting the waterfront development concept.

By New Straits Times (by G. Umakanthan)