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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Utusan Seni's semidees attract upgraders in USJ

ResTrees in USJ 17, Subang Jaya; first two phases all sold out

PETALING JAYA: Homeowners looking to upgrade in the Subang Jaya area has taken to Utusan Seni Sdn Bhd’s (Utusan Seni) development of semi-detached homes in USJ 17, Subang Jaya.

The development called ResTrees – Utusan Seni's maiden foray into property development – is doing well with its first two phases already sold out.

The RM140 million project was first launched in August last year. Its first two phases, comprising 20 units and 36 units respectively, have been 100% taken up while 19 out of 48 units in the third phase have been sold.

“Ninety percent of our buyers are from USJ, with a few from SS 19 Subang Jaya and Shah Alam.
Most of them are upgraders,” said Norhashimah binti Hashim, executive director of Utusan Seni.
Phase 1 of ResTrees offers 2 ½ -storey semidees sized at 3,600 sq ft and tagged at RM1.3 million. Phases 2 and 3, also offering 2 ½ - storey semidees, come with larger builtups of 3,800 sq ft and are priced at RM1,533,800 and RM1,688,800 respectively.

Apart from the semidees, there will also be 10 units of 3-storey bungalows to be launched in June.

According to Norhashimah, these homes, tagged at RM3.8 million each, will have built-ups from 7,000 sq ft and each unit will have a swimming pool.

“We began construction on Phase 1 last August, and it will be completed with CF by this September. At Phase 2, we have already started piling works and this week, we will commence piling works on Phase 3 and the bungalows,” said Norhashimah, adding that the entire ResTrees will be completed at the end of 2009. The show unit, recently completed, was opened to the public last Saturday.

The project takes up 15 acres of leasehold land and the homes have a modern, contemporary concept. The gated and guarded project comes with perimeter fencing, emergency alarm system and 24- hour guard patrol.

According to Norhashimah, the enclave features a lot of greenery and the homes are divided by green landscaping instead of the usual wire fencing. Maintenance fee is RM280 per month, including security and landscaping maintenance.

Utusan Seni is involved in construction, manufacturing, investment and trading. For more information, call 03-5630 1996 / 0069 or visit The show unit is open for viewing daily between 10am and 6pm.

By theSun (by Yeong Ee-Wah)

Henry Butcher ties-up with Aussie builder

PETALING JAYA: Henry Butcher Malaysia, an international real estate consultancy firm has tied up with the Metricon Group, one of Australia’s leading home builders and land developers to offer Malaysian investors, customised investment home packages in Melbourne, Australia.

Henry Butcher Marketing Sdn Bhd COO Tang Chee Meng (pix) said in a statement that the tie-up is the beginning of the group’s plans to increase its international property marketing portfolio. He added that the group plans to introduce properties from the UK, Singapore, Dubai, India, Vietnam and other fast-growing markets to the increasingly sophisticated Malaysian investors.

The collaboration with Metricon aims to tap into Melbourne’s property market which has performed strongly over the last year, supported by a solid economy and an increasing number of international immigrants.

The Metricon group which has over 30 years of experience in home building and is Victoria state’s largest home builder, has moved aggressively into the development of residential communities and integrated housing projects, after having established its core business as a boutique contract homes builder since 1976.

Also in 2006, Metricon was named Victoria’s leading builder by the Housing Industry Association for its awardwinning range of homes in Victoria and Queensland.

Metricon homes are covered by a 25-year structural guarantee. According to Tang, the collaboration with Metricon will help launch Metricon Homes’ entry into Malaysia, making available to Malaysian investors, quality and affordable homes from less than A$300,000 (about RM900,000) strategically located less than 25 km from Melbourne’s Central Business District.

Three projects by Metricon located in Tarneit, Point Cook and Sanctuary Lakes, Melbourne will be showcased at a Henry Butcher–Metricon special preview for Malaysian investors at the Crown Plaza Mutiara Hotel, Kuala Lumpur from March 21 to 23.

"These projects have not yet been released in Australia, so Malaysians will have the first pick of the units in these projects. Investors who are looking into diversifying their investment portfolio in Australia will be attracted by the home and land packages that come with attractive financial packages and free consultation regarding legal implications, migration and multi-currency packages," said Tang, adding that talks in investment and migration in Australia will also be held on the days of the preview.

In the near future, Henry Butcher also plans to promote projects located in the Gold Coast, Queensland, another property investment hotspot in Australia.

By theSun

UM Land identifies three sites for projects

All the land is within Iskandar Development Region

From left: UM Land general manager, projects division, Goh Hong Seong, Mohd Noor Abdul Salam and assistant general manager, finance division, Tan Siew Peng with the model of the Arista Homes.

JOHOR BARU: United Malayan Land Bhd (UM Land) has identified three new locations in south Johor for future development projects.

UM Land Johor region general manager Mohd Noor Abdul Salam said all three were within the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), including one in Nusajaya city.

He declined to give details on the other two locations and how much the company would invest to acquire the land.

“We can’t say much now but our headquarters in Kuala Lumpur will make the announcement soon,” he said.

Noor said this on Sunday after Johor Baru mayor Datuk Mohd Naim Nasir handed over house keys to buyers of the company’s Deanne Homes in Seri Austin.

UM Land is currently undertaking two integrated township projects in Johor – Seri Alam in Masai and Seri Austin in Tebrau – both within the IDR that spans 2,216.3 sq km.

Covering 1,497.33ha, Seri Alam was started in 1992 and is now 60% developed. Seri Austin was launched in 2005 and 20% of its 202.34ha has been developed.

At the event, the company also launched 40 double-storey link houses – Arista II – with expected gross development value of RM35mil.

Noor said the construction of new intersections, highways and road upgrading worth RM4.9bil for the IDR this year augured well for the property sector here.

“Better connectivity and accessibility will boost demand for residential and commercial properties within the IDR,” he said.

Noor said prices of new houses would increase this year due to high construction and building materials cost resulting from high petroleum prices in the world market.

He said the main challenge now for developers in the country was to offer affordable houses for buyers and make profit at the same time.

By The Star (by Zazali Musa)

Developer transforms properties into exclusive high-end abodes

Those looking for property in niche areas such as Bukit Ledang, Bukit Tunku and Damansara Heights should consider the exclusive high-end properties developed by Ingenious Network Sdn Bhd (INSB).

The boutique developer’s expertise is in transforming old properties in the Klang Valley into exclusive high-end abodes.

INSB managing director John Tan said the company would acquire old properties in niche localities, demolish them and build new designs in their place.

“It is a ‘build-then-sell’ concept. Either the buyer purchases the property the way it is presented or we make modifications to the home, both to the interior and exterior, the way the new owners see it fit,” said Tan.

Tan: ‘We strongly believe there is a good market for niche products.’

Unique: A glass house project that is nearing completion in Bukit Damansara.

Alluring: This three-storey project in Bukit Damansara comes with an inviting swimming pool.

He said it was the company’s policy to deliver houses that were of value for money and user-friendly, which means ensuring good quality workmanship and good quality furnishings and fittings from the United States and Germany.

Some houses, especially those in Bukit Ledang, are also fitted with lifts to ensure that the needs of the purchaser are well taken care of till old age.

Although the company has acquired several old properties in the Klang Valley which is being transformed, their concentration is however the Ledang Court property in Bukit Ledang and in Bukit Tunku.

Some of the properties have a built-up of 5,000 to 6,000 sq ft and priced as much as RM7 million.

“We strongly believe there is a good market for niche products,’’ he added

Tan said the company’s emphasis was the locality and they would go to any length to purchase old properties for the right price.

For more information, visit

By The Star (by Charles Fernandez

RM1b target for RHB MY1 scheme

High take-up seen for home loan plan

KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Banking Group has set a target of RM1bil for its MY1 Revolving Home Loan in the first phase.

“We are looking at the minimum of three or four months because we believe that this is a great product. So, the take-up will be very high,” head of consumer product management, Angela Christine Tan, told reporters after the launch yesterday.

Angela Tan

The loan scheme, she said, was the first in the market with a revolving feature.

It offers the flexibility to withdraw up to the approved loan amount, which not only includes the paid monthly instalments but also any extra payments that have been credited to the loan account.

Withdrawals can be made as many times as needed without any service charge.

Nevertheless, the combined withdrawn amount must remain within the approved home loan limit and each withdrawal must be a minimum of RM5,000.

“We believe that people looking at this product would actually be more financially-savvy,'' Tan said.

RHB head of retail Renzo Viegas said the product could be applied to both completed projects and those under construction.

“This product will enable the bank to capture a larger share of the home loan segment,” he said, adding that RHB currently accounted for slightly less than seven percent of the home loan market.

By Bernama

Malton going into more high-end projects

It is embarking on brand building initiatives

Yeoh Teng Tatt and Tracey Lai showing a model of the VSQ project.

MALTON Bhd is making efforts to further strengthen its branding in the residential and commercial property segments with a line-up of more exciting projects over the next two to three years.

The company is looking at adding more value to its land bank of more than 600 acres in various parts of the country.

“At present, some 70% of the company's projects are high-end while 30% are projects in the various existing townships, including in Puchong and Bukit Rimau, Shah Alam,” chief operating officer Yeoh Teng Tatt told StarBiz.

He said that having multiple projects at the right addresses would drive the company's earnings over the next three to five years.

“We are moving into more prestigious developments and will offer more superior and higher end products as part of our brand-building initiatives,” he added.

Malton director of sales and marketing Tracey Lai said the company had RM2.1bil worth of new projects lined up for launch in the next two to three years, including the unveiling of new phases in existing developments.

“For the current financial year ending June 30, Malton is targeting sales of RM400mil compared with RM120mil recorded last year,” Lai said.

Niche developments to be launched this year include Ukay Springs, an upmarket residential enclave on 56 acres in Hulu Klang, comprising 150 units of 2½-storey semi-detached house and bungalow.

In Sungai Long, Malton will build high-end residences on a 67-acre site worth a gross development value (GDV) of RM330mil, while in Taman SEA, plans are afoot to build 35 bungalows, semi-detached houses and zero lot residences.

A mixed commercial development on 2.7 acres in Taman Maluri, Cheras, will comprise service apartments, office suites and a retail mall worth a GDV of RM195mil.

In Penang, a 36-storey condominium block on 0.7 acre along Cantonment Road will mark Malton's maiden entry into the state's property market. The RM47mil project will be launched later this year.

Malton's recently launched projects include Pearl Villas, comprising 42 units of 3-storey semi-detached villa and two bungalows on 4.8 acres in Petaling Jaya's Section 16, with a GDV of RM110mil.

Another flagship project is Amaya Saujana @ Saujana Subang in the vicinity of the Saujana Golf & Country Resort comprises three blocks of 13-storey residential suites. The project has a GDV of RM250mil.

Planned as a resort lifestyle development, Amaya offers generous spaces in its unit layout and its surrounding landscape. The initial soft launch of phase one has attracted 80% take up rate so far.

Meanwhile, an integrated commercial project is underway on a 2.6-acre plot in Jalan Utara, Petaling Jaya, which used to be the site of a Lutheran Church.

V Square (VSQ) features two blocks of corporate tower, a block of corporate business suites, and two blocks of corporate offices, with retail space on the ground floors. The project will have a GDV of RM207mil.

“Vibrant, vital and visionary, VSQ is designed to offer a stylish working environment in a prime location,” she added.

Lai said Malton was also the project development manager for The Pearl @ KLCC, which comprises a high-end condominium project along Jalan Stonor in Kuala Lumpur.

The 41-storey block of 177 luxurious condominiums is located on a 1.8-acre site, opposite the Embassy of Vietnam, within the KL City Centre enclave.

The spacious residences, including seven duplexes and three penthouses, will have built-up areas from 3,000 to 20,000 sq ft.

“Its international architecture design and futuristic concept have won admiration from many interested buyers, including foreigners and expatriates.

“Besides state-of-the-art security system, the residences will be fitted with smart home features. There will also be a well-equipped clubhouse,” she said.

In Seremban, a 17-acre plot will be developed into bungalows and shop offices worth a GDV of RM160mil.

By The Star - StarBiz - (by Angie Ng)

Revamped Magna Prima on stronger footing

SECOND board construction player Magna Prima Bhd is on a much better footing from three years ago when it was making losses.

With a turnaround plan in place after a reshuffling of the top management and the board of directors, the company turned in a net profit of RM26.58mil for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2007 (FY07) compared to a net profit of RM119,000 the previous year. Revenue increased by 326% to RM344.44mil.

Magna Prima has three current projects: the 88-acre leasehold Metro Prima in Kepong, a joint venture with landowner Kuala Lumpur City Hall that is almost completed; The Avare, a freehold 41-storey luxury condominium project located in the vicinity of KLCC; and the three-acre leasehold MagnaVille in Selayang comprising three blocks of 22-storey condominiums.

It is also the turnkey contractor for Muafakat Kekal Sdn Bhd, the developer of the Dataran Automobil project in Shah Alam, a joint venture with landowner Selangor State Development Corp. Taken together, all the projects have unbilled sales of RM250mil and ongoing gross development value (GDV) of RM1.7bil.

Magna Prima chief executive officer Lim Ching Choy said the company was now in the second phase of the turnaround.

Lim Ching Choy

“The first phase involved streamlining the company's resources into three business divisions and hiring new management teams for the divisions,” he said.

In the second phase, integrated-lifestyle developments, comprising commercial and residential elements, would be the way forward as the company makes plans to transfer to the main board by 2009.

As such, two more projects had been lined up for launch this year that would provide not only greater earnings visibility for the next two to three years but also recurrent income from certain commercial properties that the company would retain, Lim told StarBiz.

The projects would be launched from land that the company acquired late last year in two locations - a 4.78-acre leasehold parcel in Section U1 of Shah Alam and two parcels of freehold land totalling 10.23 acres in Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur.

Now the company is embarking on its second phase. “We don't have a large landbank and we're small compared with the likes of SP Setia Bhd and other listed property developers, so we need to find our niche,” Lim said.

He said the estimated RM135mil Shah Alam project, whose proposed name is Dataran U1 Shah Alam, would be an integrated three-in-one project comprising shops, small office home office units and serviced apartments. “This project will be launched by May and will have a two-acre landscaped park on the third floor of the retail podium,” Lim said.

He said the yet-unnamed Jalan Kuching project would be launched by August. “This will be an integrated five-in-one project comprising 3-storey shops, a 3-storey retail podium, an 8-storey office tower, two blocks of serviced apartments and a 250-room hotel with an estimated GDV of RM1.1bil,” Lim said, adding that the company was looking for a joint-venture partner for the mall, which would be retained for recurrent income.

Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2011.

“We've not gotten into any serious negotiations yet although we have three potential partners in mind, one of which is local. We hope to conclude a deal in the next six months,” Lim said.

He said the mall, with an estimated net lettable area of 1million sq ft, would be modelled along the lines of malls that had been coming up throughout the South-East Asian region in the past two to three years.

Lim said there may be another integrated project on the cards should negotiations for a project located in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle be successful.

“Hopefully in the next one or two months we'll be able to conclude the negotiations, which will be a joint venture with a landowner,” he said, adding that the project would include a Grade A office tower among its components.

Lim said the company would continue to pursue the strategy of sourcing for projects in matured areas of the Klang Valley. “We'll continue to look for areas in which we can develop high-density projects, this is the model we'll continue to work on, and going forward we'll most likely enter into joint ventures with institutional and private landowners in order not to burden our finances,” he said.

Lim said efforts were being made to balance out the revenue stream from the various divisions in the company. “Property development currently contributes 75% of revenue, but going forward we'll like to see a more balanced revenue contribution and hope that construction will contribute at least half,” he said.

At present, most of the construction jobs were from the property development arm but in the future, as the company's brand-building exercise and quality became better known, more projects would come its way from outside. “We'll continue to concentrate on civil works for our construction arm,” he said.

By The Star (by Fintan Ng) (posted on 17th March '08)

Wireless@KL project to start in May

The "KL Wireless Metropolitan" or "Wireless@KL" project to transform Kuala Lumpur into a "wireless city" with world-class communication channels will begin in May, city mayor Datuk Ab. Hakim Borhan said yesterday.

“In line with the Wireless@KL project, a community website, KUL.COM.MY, will also be set up and updated regularly to provide the relevant information to city dwellers,” Ab.Hakim told reporters after the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the Metropolitan Kuala Lumpur portal project between Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Synapse Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd.

The agreement is under the initiative of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on behalf of the government, which has provided a grant of RM500,000 to City Hall for the purpose.

On December 17 last year, City Hall signed a memorandum of understanding on Wireless@KL with MCMC and Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd to enhance broadband facilities for City Hall offices and community centres and both public and residential areas in the Klang Valley by 2010.
"Wireless@KL uses WiMAX technology and for the first phase of this project 1,500 Wi-Fi zones will be developed,” Ab. HAkim said.

He also said the KUL.COM.MY portal will be a “one-stop source of information” on Kuala Lumpur for people in and out of the country. The information will cover social, development, economic, trade, education, entertainment, tourism and other aspects, he said.

Ab. Hakim said the portal will use the “broad spectrum approach” where it will collate and upgrade information from various sources for user convenience.

By Bernama

Firm targets China and Vietnam

Venturing overseas has become a viable option for many Malaysian property companies to widen their earnings base and establish a stronger brand image in the region.

Developers with good track records and interesting project concepts to “export” to other emerging markets are making a beeline abroad.

According to Malton Bhd chief operating officer Yeoh Teng Tatt, the company is eyeing China and Vietnam to introduce its brand of properties to the growing middle class and newly rich population.

“We are talking to potential partners in those countries for possible joint ventures to undertake projects. Having established its name in building townships and niche residential projects, including gated and guarded projects in the Klang Valley, Malton is looking forward to replicate its success in other potential markets outside the country,” Yeoh pointed out.

It has also made a name in the commercial property market, including through the construction and project management for shopping malls such as Pavilion KL and commercial buildings such as Menara Uni Asia. Malton's construction arm, Domain Resources Sdn Bhd, was also looking to undertake building infrastructure projects overseas.

Although construction jobs currently contributed some 60% to group revenue, he said, the line-up of more exciting property projects in the next two to three years would most likely make property the bigger contributor.

Malton director of sales and marketing Tracey Lai said the company would be lining up more interesting products for its existing Bukit Rimau township and in Mutiara Puchong and Mutiara Indah. The 385-acre Bukit Rimau township will see more high-end houses launched this year.

“Instead of selling bungalow land, the remaining land will be turned into ready-built bungalows complete with interior designs and furnishings. Each of these tastefully designed bungalows will be going for between RM1.7mil and RM2mil,” she added.

Since the launch of Bukit Rimau in 2002, property products worth RM404mil have been launched to date while sales amounted to RM378mil. The RM780mil project will comprise mainly bungalows, semi-detached houses, townhouses, super-link terraced houses and apartments.

The remaining 40 acres will feature the commercial precinct comprising three-storey shop offices, service apartments, retail lots and hotel suites. The two gated community projects in Puchong - the 64-acre Mutiara Puchong and 83-acre Mutiara Indah will also see more new launches this year.

By The Star (posted on 17th March'08)