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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Penang residential property market continues to soften

The residential sector is expected to continue to lead the overall property market in Penang this year, despite a contraction in the number of transactions.

The market for residential properties in Penang has softened since the beginning of this year and is likely to continue for the rest of 2009, according to a property analyst.

Henry Butcher Malaysia (Penang) Sdn Bhd vice-president Shawn Ong told Business Times that the residential property sub-sector is set to stay as the most dominant sub-sector this year.

It comprises about 65 per cent of the total property volume, making up half of the total transaction value.

"The residential property sector has always been popular with property investors in Penang and the national All House Price Index shows that Penang's performance is above the national average but slightly below Kuala Lumpur," he said in an interview.

Ong said the residential sector is expected to continue to lead the overall property market in Penang this year, despite a contraction in the number of transactions.

However, an increase in the value of individual transactions was recorded over the same time period.

This could be due to the preference of locals and foreigners to buy more up-market property for investment and/or accommodation purposes.

"On whether this trend will continue or be a one-off phenomenon remains to be seen," he added.

In times of an economic slowdown, rising unemployment and lower disposable income, Ong noted that property will be the last thing on people's mind.

"There is no doubt that the demand for property is weak and in these troubled times, the property sector has lost its appeal."

However, as governments across the globe strategise to drive their stimulus plans, the world's economy is expected to recover and when that takes place, inflation is expected to follow and the best hedge against inflation is property.

"The Penang governments needs to draw upon policies to complement the federal government's various stimulus packages for Penang.

"In view of the current economic crisis, many sectors of the Penang are impacted as the snowball effect from the export-oriented manufacturing sector.

"The Penang real-estate sector is undeniably one of the affected sectors. However, it is during this downturn that we should take stock of the property sector in Penang and plan for the future," Ong said.

By Business Times (by Marina Emmanuel)

Johor poised to become yachting hub of the south

The Marina @ Danga Bay, Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya and Sebana Cove in Kota Tinggi will offer 665 berths once they are fully operational.

JOHOR is set to become a yachting destination of the south with three establishments that offer international class marina facilities for global sailors.

The Marina @ Danga Bay, Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya and Sebana Cove in Kota Tinggi will offer a total of 665 berths once they are fully operational.

Of the three, the Marina @ Danga Bay along Lido Beach has an edge as it is located only 6km from the city centre.

Danga Bay Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Lim Kang Hoo said the project, to be developed at RM65 million, will have a total of 250 berths once it is completed in July.

At present, about 50 berths are in operation and the first boat berthed at the waterfront early this month.

"Our selling point is our proximity to the city. Sailors who berth in our water could visit the city and various places of interest besides getting their supply of water and other goods," he said.

The Marina @ Danga Bay will feature 30 rooms for lodging, food and beverage outlets, a gymnasium and a spa and an office suite.

Over at Puteri Harbour, the development will split into three phases. The first, which was developed at RM10 million, comprises 76 berths and they are already in operation.

The occupancy rate is about 20 per cent, mainly made up of foreigners.

UEM Land Bhd resident and marina manager Mohd Shah Mohd Shahil said another two phases to be developed at RM32 million in the next four years will consist of 232 berths, including 12 for mega yachts.

"With Iskandar Malaysia being put in place, we see a vast growth potential in the marina industry," he said.

Sebana Cove & Marina Resort's marina executive Hamidon Abd Rahman said the marina, which consists of 107 berths, is the first in Johor and was built 15 years ago with a 70 per cent occupancy rate at present.

"Our customers are long-term guests who are mainly foreigners. Our marina is supported by our resort facilities, making it a wholesome retreat by sailors," he said.

Marina @ Danga Bay and Puteri Harbour, which are located at the west of the Causeway, are near to each other.

However, sailors from the two marinas will have to make a huge turn and bypass Singapore in the south before getting to Sebana Cove, which is located at the other side of the Causeway. The journey takes about three hours during fine weather and up to 48 hours if it is against the wind.

Johor Tourism and Domestic Trade Committee chairman Ho Seong Chang said the three yachting destinations will be a favourite among foreigners once they are fully developed.

"We plan to enhance connectivity from one marina to another. Water taxis are being planned at the Johor Straits to provide the connection for sailors," he said.

By Business Times (by Sim Bak Heng)