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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Becoming a millionaire

Enroling in a property investment programme may save you needless anxiety when you are ready to buy property when bargains come up.

When done correctly, property investment can yield huge returns. However, in order to reap the benefits of such investments, it's important that investors first learn how to invest right before spending their hard-earned cash towards the purchase of a property.

To avoid wasting good money, a property investor needs to have an understanding of the dynamics of property investment, and one can learn through Renesial Leong.

Renesial, who has over 20 years worth of experience in property investment, has a proven track record. She is the author of one of Malaysia's first property investment guidebooks and a national best seller, ''Property Jewels''.

Her second book, ''Your Tenants, Your Jewels'' is also a must-read for every landlord. Renesial is an avid believer in sharing her experience and expertise with anyone interested in property investment.

She said, ''Looking back at those 20 solid, long years and especially recalling how lost I was when I started, I feel that there is so much I can share with people who want to venture into property investing.''

Renesial has successfully conducted various seminars on property investment locally as well as in Singapore and Hong Kong.

So don't miss her seminar titled ''The Property Mastery Programme — Road Map to Profitable Residential Property Investment'' happening on May 16 to 17 in Kuala Lumpur. The main objective of the programme is to help people understand property investment inside out, the rewards and the risks.

''I hope through the programmes, I can help shorten investors' learning curve by at least five years, while comprehensively guiding them to understand the formula for success,'' she explained.

The programme is designed to help property investor to map out a sure path to gain financial independence and ultimately achieve financial freedom.

''It is easy to get into properties but difficult and costly to get out. Wrong property investments may take years of undoing the damaged done.

''That is why this programme is designed to ensure participants get it right the first time and every time.''

Many past participants of the programme have successfully bought properties with low to zero down-payment and are now enjoying a positive cash flow every month from rental returns.

Participants of this seminar stand to gain indispensable knowledge of all aspects of property investment, including learning how to cut their mortgage repayments by half and leverage on property loans for other investments and gain valuable insight on tenant and property management.

Owning properties is an excellent long-term investment vehicle to fund your children's education and retirement needs.

In property investment, inflation works for the investor, whereas in other portfolio investments, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or endowment policies, inflation will erode returns.

''The Property Mastery Programme — Road Map to Profitable Residential Investment'' is organised by Real Property Mastery Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between MasteryAsia (M) Sdn Bhd and Renesial Leong to provide the best in education and mentorship programmes in the area of Property and Real Estate Investment.

The two-Day programme will be held on May 16 to 17 in KL. Seats are limited. Call Liew at 03-9059 6488, toll free line: 1800-88-1426 to register.

By The Star

High-end landed property still in demand

Property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd group president and chief executive Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum gives his views on the future direction of the company and the outlook for the industry

WHAT are some project launches that can be expected from Mah Sing in the coming months?

We believe this year will see continued demand for medium- to high-end landed products and we have planned our launches accordingly.

For example, we will have Garden Bungalows in Hijauan Residence and designer bungalows in the re-branded One Legenda in Cheras.

The 30 Garden Bungalows come with a land size of 45’x80’ and a built-up area of about 3,407 sq ft and will be priced from RM1.1mil per unit.

One Legenda will offer only 26 limited-edition bungalows with a generous land size of more than 8,000 sq ft and a built-up area of about 5,000 sq ft. They will be priced from RM2.5mil each.

Kemuning Residence in Shah Alam is reaching completion and there will be a few last bungalows which we are offering on a build-and-sell concept.

We will also continue to launch semi-detached houses and bungalows in Aman Perdana, where the take-up rate has been very good.

For our commercial projects, we are optimistic about Southgate Commercial Centre which has done very well, with 90% of Vivo and 80% of Vox & Vertex blocks sold at about RM1,100 per sq ft (psf) for retail and RM550 psf for office suites.

We will also launch our new project, StarParc Point, a freehold commercial project in Setapak directly opposite the upcoming Parkson.

In Penang, we are offering medium- to high-end homes with Residence @Southbay, where there will be some 288 super-link homes with land size from 22’x75’ and built-up from about 3,000 sq ft, priced from RM755,000.

We also have 88 resort bungalows in Legenda @Southbay, which offers land size from 5,000 sq ft to more than 10,000 sq ft, as well as built-up areas of 3,800 to 8,000 sq ft.

These bungalows are priced from RM2mil to RM5mil.

In Johor, we plan to launch more phases in Sierra Perdana and Sri Pulai Perdana 2. Sierra Perdana is enjoying more visibility now as the construction of the upgraded six-lane coastal highway, which will cut through Sierra Perdana, has reached an advanced stage.

With the highway, we are only a few minutes to Permas Jaya and Johor Baru city centre. Sri Pulai Perdana 2 will ride on the success of Sri Pulai Perdana and the spill-over demand from this matured township where UTM is one of the key attractions for people moving into this area.
In your opinion, how has the global financial meltdown impacted the performance of the local property market?

We can still see transactions, albeit at a slower pace, as the medium- to high- end segment has a pool of buyers who are higher income earners. These people have a wider savings/expense ratio, and generally look to invest their excess funds in properties as there are limited investment options right now.

What is the impact on the company’s property sales and new project launches?

We achieved RM367mil in sales in the first nine months of 2008, against our sales target of RM450mil for the year. During the period, we launched properties worth RM399mil against our 2008 target of RM484mil.

For 2009, we are looking to maintain our sales and launch numbers. Besides that, we have pre-constructed projects worth some RM282mil for sale and launch, which will allow us to ride out these challenging times.

How is Mah Sing riding out the current property market slowdown?

Our balance sheet is very healthy with RM143mil cash as at Sept 30. We shall receive an additional RM213mil this year when our The Icon project at Jalan Tun Razak is completed by June.

We still have about RM3.9bil in outstanding gross development value and unbilled sales to last us for the next five years, of which RM282mil is pre-constructed products locked in at old construction costs. Our strong research and development, unique business model of quick turnaround and the right product mix have put us in a better position to ride through these challenges.

What is your outlook for the local property market in the next 12 months?

We expect the medium to high-end landed property segment to continue to yield decent long-term positive capital appreciation going forward.

By The Star

Top Investment

Empowered: Recent participants of the workshop. Photo courtesy of the Entrepreneur Action group.

Over the years, real estate has proven time and again its stability, attractive returns and ability to hedge against inflation. Thus, it is not surprising that most of the rich invest substantially in properties.

It is an expert opinion that most people's Asset Allocation Model and Investment Portfolio should look something like this (give or take 5%):

Assuming you have RM100,000 set aside for investment purposes, at least RM60,000 should be invested in properties. Less than RM30,000 go directly into the stock market and the balance (less than RM5,000) into high risks, highly leveraged, volatile investments such as Options, Futures or Foreign Exchange (Forex).

Many people make the mistake of concentrating too much of their time and money into the upper levels of the pyramid, as their portfolio returns are highly volatile and unpredictable.

First, it's extremely important to build up a solid investment base using real estate before venturing into other investments to give your portfolio regular and predictable rental income and to enjoy capital appreciation.

If you have an hour per day to look after your various investments, you ought to be spending 60% of that time for properties, 30% for equities and less than 5% for high risk investments.

Some trainers mention that you only need less than 20 minutes a day.

Yes, only if you have invested at least two hours per day over the next three years mastering the subject - a hidden fact many are unaware of.

In Malaysia, two main direct investment vehicles are real estate and stocks. Properties are stable and long term in nature, whereas the stock market is volatile and short term.

Hence one needs to practice Tactical Asset Allocation between these two.

Another mistake is buying investment products giving single digit returns with high upfront charges.

You should only take the risks and invest when you see the opportunity to make more than double of what you can save with minimal risks.

For real estate, it is advisable to have a portfolio of various property types.

Whichever way the property cycle goes, you will be able to enjoy benefits either from Rentals or Appreciation.

Your foundation must be solid. For beginners, start investing for rental returns beginning with medium cost apartments.

The risks are minimal as long as your chosen location is strategic. ''Using creative financing techniques, many of our graduates have even bought properties with little or zero Down Payment and achieved a positive cash flow.

It's extremely easy to earn long term compounded returns from both Rental Yields and Capital Appreciation of 10-12% p.a.'' according to Milan Doshi, best-selling author and independent financial trainer.

Once you have built a firm base, move up and invest in landed houses for capital appreciation.

The risks here are higher as landed properties will give you negative cash flow if you put in the minimum down payment.

Your ultimate goal in property investments is to eventually move to the commercial sector once your budget grows to RM1 million.

* Milan Doshi will be conducting a three-hour Financial Workshop on ''How YOU can become a Multi-Millionaire Property and Stock Investor... with Little or No Money Down!'' on Sun, Jan 11. Call 019-2263262.

By The Star

2011 launch for Resorts World at Sentosa

RESORTS World at Sentosa Pte Ltd, a unit of Genting International Ltd, says its integrated resort may be fully completed and officially launched in 2011.

The casino, the Universal Studio Singapore theme park, the Festive Walk and four hotels (namely Hotel Michael, Maxim Towers, Hard Rock Hotel and Festive Hotel) are due to be launched in the first quarter next year.

However, the world's biggest oceanarium, Marine Life Park, the Spa Villas and the Equarius Hotel will be launched later.

"It will be launched after the first quarter of 2010, it may be end-2010, it may be 2011. We are working closely with the Singapore government on it. We will be able to have a clearer picture on the launching and opening dates after a few months," said Resorts World at Sentosa vice-president and head of communications Krist Boo during a company visit yesterday.
When completed, the integrated resort will offer six hotels comprising over 1,800 rooms, two major attractions, a casino, a six-star spa and wellness retreat, and a Maritime Xperiential Museum, among others.

Currently, the resort is under construction and is about 60 per cent completed.

It is expected to generate about 45,000 jobs, of which 10,000 people will be staff of Resorts World at Sentosa.

By Business Times

ARA plans China, India, Japan property funds

SINGAPORE: Singapore property fund manager ARA Asset Management said yesterday it plans to launch country-focused funds for China, India and Japan to take advantage of declining real estate prices that it expects will bottom in late 2009.

ARA, partly owned by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong (Holdings), would also consider taking its listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) private if share prices remained weak, group chief executive officer John Lim said in an interview.

"In terms of deal flows, we see more opportunities coming up," he said in reference to properties that are being offered at reduced prices. Credit markets have also loosened from October-November last year in that bankers were now willing to consider proposals from investors such as ARA, he added.

Asian property prices have fallen sharply since the middle of last year, and listed developers and property trusts in Asia excluding Japan are now trading around 30 per cent below net asset values, JPMorgan said in a report on Monday.
Suntec REIT, which owns office and retail space in Singapore's central business district and is the largest of four listed property trusts managed by ARA, was last traded around S$0.815 (S$1 = RM2.38) a unit - less than half its value at the start of 2008.

"As a responsible manager, we always explore all options (and) privatisation is one of the options," Lim said when asked about the fall in REIT prices.

Besides Suntec, ARA also manages Fortune REIT in Singapore, Prosperity REIT in Hong Kong and AmFIRST REIT in Malaysia along with several privately held funds.

Lim also said that although office rents in Singapore have fallen from the highs reached in the middle of 2008, most tenants renewing leases this year would have to pay higher rates as current rents are still more expensive than three to four years ago.

"It has to be. Most of the leases were signed in 2005, 2006. Our average passing rent is S$6.50 per sq ft and rentals in the Suntec area are still achieving S$10 psf," he said.

Looking ahead, Lim said ARA hoped to launch country-specific closed-end funds that will invest in China, India and Japan to buy assets near the bottom of the property cycle.

The firm hoped to raise a minimum of US$500 million (US$1 = RM3.50) for each fund, he said.

ARA's flagship Asia Dragon Fund, which on Monday bought a 51-storey office-cum-retail building in Nanjing, China, for about S$340 million, has more than US$1 billion available for new investment.

The fund plans to focus on China, Hong Kong and Singapore, fund director Ng Beng Tiong said.

By Reuters

AEON to open two Jusco stores

AEON Co (M) Bhd, which operates the Jusco department store chain, expects to open two retail stores this year.

Its general manager of the corporate affairs division, A. Rashid Adam, said one of the new stores will be located in Malacca and the other in Cheras in the Klang Valley.

There are now 26 Jusco stores, all located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

“We will continue with our strategy of capturing strong market share in the retail industry through our J-Card loyalty programme which provides discount price privileges and gift redemptions,” Rashid said during a prize-giving ceremony for outstanding employees at the Setiawangsa Jusco store yesterday.
Consumers are expected to be cautious in spending this year but Jusco is confident of generating strong sales through attractive sales promotions and its J-card loyalty campaign, he said.

Stating that 2009 will be a challenging year for retail operators due to the economic conditions, Rashid said the company remains confident of at least maintaining last year’s sales with its strong branding.

“Due to the economic downturn, spending especially on electrical products and apparels has slowed down. However, the spending on food items has remained relatively unchanged,” he said.

By Bernama