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Monday, April 27, 2009

Amarin to unveil super luxury housing project

A model of the Amarin Wickham. All the penthouses will have private pools, jacuzzis, a roof sun deck and garden for private entertaining

It wants to tap on the dearth of new launches in inner city of KL

The Amarin group plans to launch its latest super luxury residential project, Amarin Wickham in the coveted Jalan U-Thant embassy enclave in July.

The move is to take advantage of an absence of new project launch in Kuala Lumpur’s inner city since the third quarter of last year following the global financial meltdown.

The enclave of 21 residences are located in the capital city’s prestigious embassy district and within the proximity of the Kuala Lumpur city centre (KLCC) and Bukit Bintang.

According to managing director Lee Vun-Tsir, there were signs that the global economy and capital market were stabilising and “we want to be among the first to catch the worms before other developers start coming back into the market.”

He said unless things turned for the worse, the company would be keeping to its target launch of July 7, adding that the months of June to September were considered good time for new project launch as things started to get back on track after all the festive breaks.

“As we are still in the early days of a potential market recovery after so much uncertainties caused by the global crisis, we will be monitoring the market closely and hope the project will be on track,” Lee added.

The residences will have various built-up from 2, 848 sq ft to 4,792 sq ft for the duplex units; and 3,489 sq ft to 5,527 sq ft for the triplex units. There are also seven triplex penthouses with sizes from 6,682 sq ft to 6,965 sq ft. The most exclusive unit is the premier penthouse with a built-up of 9,258 sq ft.

All the penthouses will have private pools, jacuzzis, a roof sun deck and garden for private entertaining. There will also be a common gymnasium, swimming pool and landscaped garden facilities for all the residents.

The residences will be in two five-storey blocks with the penthouse units build on top of the duplex units.

They will be priced at around RM1,000 per sq ft for a gross development value of RM140mil. It is expected to be completed in 2011.

To attract buyers to take up the premium units first, the penthouses will be the first to go on sale.

“We want to be different from the other developers who will typically launch their least expensive units first and keep the most premium units for the later phase. With Amarin, investors will be able to select the best units first,” Lee said.

When it comes to finishings and fixtures such as kitchen appliances and choice of tile quality and colour, the developer Amarin Wickham Sdn Bhd will allow for some degree of customisation by buyers.

The company has teamed up with a panel of financiers to offer the 10:90 financing package where buyers only need to make a 10% downpayment of 10% of the property price while the developer will bear the interest costs during the project’s construction. Buyers will only start to service their loans after receiving the vacant possession for their property.

The Amarin group was established in 2003 by Lee and two other friends who share a passion for luxury property development.

Lee said Amarin which meant “heavenly” in Sanskrit symbolised a commitment to innovative design, contemporary lifestyle concepts, exemplary quality, above the line finishing and an overall promise of great value for the buyer.

On other potential projects, he said the company was also planning to launch a resort development comprising bungalows, villas and semi-detached houses in Cherating, Pahang. The 10-acre project is expected to start by year-end or early next year.

Its Amarin Kiara project, which comprises 30 semi-detached units with built-up of 3,000 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft, was launched early last year and all the units have been sold.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

SunCity keen to export project expertise

SUNWAY City Bhd (SunCity) is keen to export its expertise in development and investment projects to the potentially high-growth markets of China, India and Vietnam.

Managing director for property investment Ngeow Voon Yean said that besides having the right project plans, the other main challenge in the company’s overseas pursuit was identifying the right joint-venture partners.

“Having good local partners there will be a significant help for our success overseas as they know all the practices of the market and this will help to shorten our learning curve,” Ngeow told StarBiz.

Building up its overseas presence will enable SunCity to replicate its success as a Malaysian community master developer in the other countries in the region.

“These overseas projects will also contribute towards widening our earnings base. In the next five years, some 30% of SunCity’s revenue will be contributed by our overseas projects,” he added.

Ngeow said the global financial crisis had resulted in more favourable costs for new project start-ups as there were better deals around.

“We have been receiving many foreign visitors from the private sector and government-linked companies who are in Malaysia to explore joint-venture opportunities and to find out more about SunCity’s property projects,” he said.

SunCity has been engaged for two commercial projects – involving property designing and management services in China and as a consultant for a hotel development in Vietnam.

“We have the hardware and software to advise our clients on every aspect of a project’s development – from design planning to integration of facilities, marketing and property management. Given our expertise in theme park projects, there is also potential for this kind of management projects in those countries,” Ngeow said.

The contract for the Shenzen Holiday Plaza, a mixed development comprising retail, hotel and office suites, was inked two years ago. The project was opened to the public last September.

In March 2007, SunCity clinched the contract for the Chongqing project which comprised of retail space, hotels and residences.

It is also in the final stages to undertake a five-star hotel development in ChongSan, China.

In Vietnam, the company has been awarded the contract for a four-star city hotel that is under development by VIPTOUR group. SunCity is also working on securing other management contracts for another two or three hotels there.

In property development, SunCity has made inroads into China’s market through a joint venture with Sunway Holdings Bhd’s subsidiary, Sunway Mas Sdn Bhd, and Shanghai Guanghao Real Estate Development Group Co Ltd for a mixed high-rise development in Jiangyin New Harbour City in Jiangsu Province.

The resort-style project on 6.8ha will comprise 1,110 medium- to high-end condominiums with an estimated gross development value of RM473mil. Overseas projects, especially from India and China, will contribute 30% to property sales in the next five years.

Ngeow said locally, SunCity was looking for ways to expand the market for its hotels, shopping complexes and hospital facilities to improve its income streams.

“We have invested close to RM5bil in our property investment assets in the Klang Valley, Penang and Ipoh, that comprise office buildings, shopping complexes, university campuses, a medical college, hotels, theme park resorts and convention and exhibition centres.

“The management will ensure the necessary efforts are expended to optimise the operational efficiency and productivity to derive higher yields from all our assets and projects,” he added.

Under the company’s plans to unlock the value of its property investment, assets to the tune of RM3.1bil will be injected into a real estate investment trust (REIT) that was initially planned for a listing in the second half of last year. The listing had to be postponed when the local market succumbed to the impact of the global financial crisis.

Ngeow said the company would closely monitor the economic and market conditions before deciding on the listing plans for the REIT.

“We are not in a hurry to list the REIT as we can still depend on our strong rental income to ride out the financial crisis,” he added.

About 75% of SunCity’s operating profit of RM175mil for the first two quarters ended Dec 31, 2008, was from property investment assets and the balance from property development.

For the current calendar year, SunCity can look forward to total rental income of RM285mil, of which 70% will be from Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall.

An analyst with a local brokerage said earnings from property investment were expected to remain resilient with the full occupancy of the 1.7 million sq ft net lettable space in Sunway Pyramid while rental rates remained firm.

“With a beta of 1.37, SunCity is a good proxy for a property sector recovery play. Our ‘buy’ call on SunCity is re-affirmed and it remains our top pick for the sector,” he added.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

Glomac mulls expanding Sg Buloh township project

PROPERTY developer Glomac Bhd may expand its ongoing 440ha Bandar Saujana Utama township project in Sg Buloh, Selangor, as demand soars.

The RM1.3 billion township, which is 80 per cent developed, is focused on providing affordable homes priced from RM230,000 to RM400,000.

During an economic downturn, houses in that price range usually move faster.

Glomac has 88ha of undeveloped land within the township but it will use it to build terraced houses, semi-detached homes, shopoffices and apartments, worth RM90 million, from early 2010.

Thus, it would need to buy land to build more houses within the township if it decides to expand it.

Corporate communications director Fara Eliza Tan Sri FD Mansor said Glomac has offers from banks, landowners and receivers, to buy 40ha to 200ha of land, surrounding the township.

"We are considering the offers. This is a matured township and there is soaring demand for properties. The township has attracted civil servants, who are not severely affected by the recent economic downturn," Fara said.

She said the 400ha Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Puncak Alam would be a catalyst for further growth at the township.

Bandar Saujana Utama, which now has a population of 60,000, began in 1998 via a joint venture with private landowners.

When Glomac first started on the project, it had 80ha. The company formed a joint venture with the farmers association to accumulate 200ha, while 160ha was bought from private landowners.

Year to date, Glomac has built and sold RM970 million worth of properties.

Fara told Business Times during a recent tour at Bandar Saujana Utama that the township contributes RM8 million to 10 million a year to the company's gross profit.

She said under construction are 208 units of semi-detached homes, priced from RM398,000, and 84 units of single and double-storey shopoffices, worth more than RM252,000 each. Glomac is also building 85 units of double-storey terraced houses, priced from RM252,800 to RM428,730.

Fara said 65 per cent of the terraced houses were sold within three months from the launch last November. She expects a similar take-up rate for the semi-detached homes which will be launched in May or June.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

I&P to offer incentives to push sales

STATE-OWNED Island & Peninsular Bhd (I&P), one of Malaysia's largest property groups by landbank, will launch a stimulus package to push property sales as it grapples with a slowing economy and fragile consumer confidence.

Group managing director Datuk Jamaludin Osman said he hopes to achieve higher property sales this year.

In 2008, I&P, a wholly-owned unit of Permodalan Nasional Bhd, sold 544 houses for RM245 million collectively, in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

"We will offer incentives for our properties. The business needs to go on despite concerns of slower economic growth," Jamaludin told Business Times in an interview in Kuala Lumpur recently.

I&P will keep property prices competitive and offer, among others, a discount on stamp duty, and incentives such as zero per cent interest during construction.

Separately, despite the company's huge untouched landbank of 5,263ha, it will pace out its launches and release units in smaller quantities this year.

"We will not launch and have balance of stocks as it will lead to cash flow problems," Jamaludin said.

He said the focus this year will be to launch double-storey terraced houses and semi-detached homes within its four townships in Puchong, Klang, Shah Alam and Bangi, Selangor.

I&P is targeting to launch 400 houses, worth a combined RM250 million, by the end of July. It will launch 34 units of terraced houses, priced from RM416,000, and six units of semi-detached homes, worth about RM1.1 million each, in Bandar Kinrara, Puchong, by end-April.

Around the same time, it will launch 76 units of terraced houses in Bayumas, Klang, priced from RM230,000.

Depending on take-up, it will launch 110 units of terraced houses in Bandar Kinrara in June, for RM60 million collectively.

In Alam Impian, Shah Alam, I&P will launch Nukilan 2, featuring 71 units of terraced houses, from RM500,000 each, and Chanting 2, comprising 103 super link-homes that will cost below RM500,000 each.

"We are ready to launch and are optimistic about the rate of sale, especially in Bandar Kinrara, as we have over 1,000 registrations. But we reckon it would be a little slow in Bayumas, although it has cheaper houses," Jamaludin said.

He said buyers are confident of the company's product offering as the properties have proven to have good capital appreciation value.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Langkawi still developers’ attraction

RIDING on its status as a duty-free port and as an internationally-known resort island, Langkawi is still attracting developers from Penang and Kuala Lumpur despite the economic crisis.

The attraction of Langkawi is that the imported and high-quality finishings used for development are sold without duties and sales tax, which enables developers to price high-end properties very attractively, compared with those in Penang.

This advantage offsets the 10%-15% higher construction cost in Langkawi, which is due mainly to the transportation of raw materials.

For example, a terraced property in a prime location in Langkawi could be obtained for about RM230,000, compared with about RM280,000 for a similar property in Seberang Prai. Similarly, a 1,000-sq-ft serviced apartment in downtown Langkawi could go for about RM250,000 against about RM480,000 on Penang island.

Langkawi’s reputation in the region as a Malaysia My Second Home destination and as a holiday getaway has also of late, attracted foreigners in the sailing fraternity to purchase or rent properties there.

The economic crisis has yet to affect properties in Langkawi. According to Penang-based valuer C.A. Lim & Co proprietor Lim Chien Aun, property prices in Langkawi have yet to drop.

“However, the volume of transactions and enquiries has declined by about 80% for the first three months of 2009,” he said.

In Langkawi, developers are focusing on serviced apartments and landed properties, such as double-storey terraced and semi-detached houses, as they attract the most demand.

One project that should boost Langkawi’s tourism industry is a high-end commercial scheme from Thong Sin Development Sdn Bhd, a Penang-based property group.

Managing director K.C. Tan said the project, to be named San Marina, would be located on an 4.6-ha site facing the Andaman Sea.

“About 55% of the area would be used for serviced apartments, and the remaining 2ha for commercial development.

“We plan to model the resort after some of the sea-fronting Mediterranean towns in Europe, with the serviced apartments on top of the commercial properties,” he said.

“There would be around 170 units with a gross built-up area of about 300,000 sq ft. We have not decided on whether to sell or rent them out.”

Tan said the commercial properties would be rented out to enable the group to have a balanced tenant mix.

“The commercial properties will be designed to suit a particular business theme, that includes al fresco dining and boutiques. The plan is also to have a state-of-the-art convention centre to house a recreation clubhouse, a spa, restaurants and meeting rooms,” he said.

All apartments would overlook Pulau Dayang Bunting, Pulau Tuba and the harbour of Kuah town, Tan said.

“This is our second serviced apartment project in Langkawi, following the 147-unit Century Suria Serviced Apartments launched nine years ago. We have sold a significant portion of the Century Suria apartments, the remainder will be sold or rented out.

Other serviced apartments in Langkawi include the Sri Lagenda, Perdana Beach Resort and Kondo Istana, all of which were developed in the early to mid-1990s.

The monthly rentals for serviced apartments generally start from RM1,200 on the island.

Intra Harta (North) Sdn Bhd registered valuer Muzlini Said said the value of serviced apartments had appreciated by 10%-20% over the past three years.

“The Century Suria, for example, priced at about RM200,000 a unit in 2006, is now selling for RM290,000. The Perdana Beach Resort, about RM190,000 in 2006, is now at RM250,000.

“These apartments have built-up areas of 930 to 1,100 sq ft and have two or three bedrooms,” she said.

For landed residential properties, the launches are usually small, from 60 to 80 units per launch.

Bertam Development Sdn Bhd property manager Tan Cheng Chooi said the company’s recent launch of 59 double-storey terraced houses and eight double-storey semi-detached houses in Taman Bukit Indah, an established residential enclave close to Kuah town, had received very good response.

Bertam Development is a subsidiary of Kuala Lmpur-based property group Bertam Alliance Bhd, which is listed on the second board.

“We have sold all the non-bumiputra units. The houses will be completed by August,” he said.

Muzlini said the appreciation of landed residential properties in Langkawi had been about 15% in the past five years.

“The selling price of a terraced property has increased to about RM230,000 from RM180,000 five years ago, while a semi-detached house is now RM320,000 from RM250,000 before,” she said.

By The Star (by David Tan)

Ken's RM700m projects enough for 5 yrs

KUALA LUMPUR: Ken Holdings Bhd expects to sustain its revenue and dividend payouts for the next two to three years despite a slowdown in the property market.

"The projects in hand will be able to sustain us for the next few years. So for this year and the next two to three years, we will be able to sustain revenue and dividend," chairman and managing director Tan Boon Kang said after its AGM on April 27.

The group had projects in hand with gross development value of RM700 million in the Klang Valley and Penang enough to keep the group busy for the next five years.

It was completing its project comprising of 80 luxurious service apartments in Bangsar with a GDV of about RM110 million and it would be officially launched in the third quarter, Tan said.

"The take-up rate was quite good during the soft launch but there has been cancellation of orders especially from foreigners.

"And we have had to spend some extra RM20 million for this project. So we may have to raise the price of the property at the official launch. But we have a special scheme for purchasers and we are quite confident take up would be good," he said.

For financial year ended Dec 31, 2008, KHB recorded lower net profit of RM6.3 million from RM8.4 million last year. Revenue dropped 35.7% to RM39.1 million from a year ago. A first and final dividend of four sen was proposed.

"This is a good opportunity to expand our landbank. As long as it is in a good location and at a fair price, we don't mind the cost. We have strong cash flow and zero gearing," Tan said.

Ken Holdings had over 138 acres of land in the Klang Valley, Penang and Genting Highlands. As at end-2009, it had RM22.2 million cash.

"People are not optimistic about the property market. But even during this time, some segments are still doing well and we believe property will further stabilise in the later part of the year," Tan added.

By The EDGE Malaysia

RM120m Ken Bangsar to complete by Q3

KEN Holdings Bhd's (KHB) exclusive service apartments project, Ken Bangsar, located at Bukit Bandaraya in Kuala Lumpur is to be completed by the third quarter of this year.

The company's managing director, Kenny Tan Boon Kang who disclosed this, said the project has a gross development value (GDV) of RM120 million comprising a block of 14 floors of 80 units.

Speaking to reporters after the company's annual general meeting (AGM) today, he stated that during the soft launch, about 50 per cent of the units had been taken up.

According to Tan, the company has a landbank of over 138 acres in the Klang Valley, Penang, Genting Highlands and other strategic locations in Malaysia.

He said Ken Holdings has plans to expand its landbank and is looking to purchase at a good price.

The company has projects in hand in the Klang Valley and Penang with a GDV estimated at RM700 million to keep it busy for the next five years.

On the property sector, Tan said there are certain areas like the KLCC and Bangsar, where prices are still firm.

"I foresee low and medium end housing being affected rather than that for the high-end properties," he said.

Ken Holdings will spend RM80 million for the construction of its new headquarters at Taman Tun Dr Ismail. It will have a block of 12 floors of office space.

The project is expected to be completed in three years and construction will start by the end of the year or in early 2010.

By Bernama

Lowyat eyes 50pc management service take-up

The Lowyat Group is targeting a 50 per cent take-up rate by year-end for its Fairlane Hospitality, a premier management service.

"Basically we are going the extra mile in rendering such a service to help our customers in getting higher rental returns and better capital appreciation," said the group's general manager, business development and marketing, Daniel Ong.

"Fairlane Hospitality is a rental management service to help owners get the best returns for their property investments. It is not a guaranteed return scheme as we don't force customers to lease back their properties," he said.

Currently, the group is offering the service to all the owners of Bintang Fairlane Residences and the group expects a take-up rate of 70 to 80 per cent by early next year.

Ong said all the 256 units in the project had been sold and response to the management service has been good.

"We had a briefing two days ago and many owners turned up. I would say that 70 to 80 per cent of them are keen to let us manage their properties," he said.

He added that the serviced apartment owners will be looking for both short- and long-term tenants to get income from their properties.

Moving forward, the group will also extend its management service to the myHabitat serviced residences located in Jalan Tun Razak here.

The service will be made available as an option for the myHabitat purchasers.

"We have just started on this, and by focusing on what we have on our plate now which is Bintang Fairlane, and myHabitat by next year, it would be enough to keep us busy," Ong said.

About 70 per cent of the owners from the two properties are expected to opt for Fairlane Hospitality within a three-year period, he said.

"Our vision is to grow this business not only locally but internationally as well. With the current projects, we will grow it strongly in Malaysia and then gradually expand to the international market," he added.

Bintang Fairlane Residences consist of 256 units of serviced apartments with a gross development value of RM160 million.

Scheduled to be opened for tenancy by next month, the project is developed by Hotel Fairlane Sdn Bhd, a member of the Lowyat Group.

The myHabitat project consist of about 168 residential units for Tower 1 which is to be completed by end of next year and Tower 2 with 215 units, with a total gross development value of RM400 million.

It is being developed by APL Development Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of AP Land.

By Bernama