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Saturday, October 2, 2010

CapitaLand intends to get bigger

Quill Building 3 is one of the commercial buildings owned by Quill Capita Trust, CapitaLand’s listed entity in Malaysia.

SINGAPORE-BASED CapitaLand Ltd is looking to expand its presence in Malaysia’s real estate sector with the strong turnaround of the country’s economy at an expected gross domestic product of at least 6.5% this year.

According to CapitaLand Commercial Ltd vice president of marketing Catherine Yao, the company maintains a long-term view of Malaysia’s property market and is committed to being a long-term real estate player in the country.

“CapitaLand is one of the largest foreign real estate players in Malaysia today. It believes the market holds good potential and is actively looking for suitable sites to undertake more residential and commercial projects where appropriate,” she tells StarBizWeek.

To expand in the country, it will tap on its strengths in the residential, office, shopping mall and service residence business.

Besides Kuala Lumpur, which the company has quite a large presence, CapitaLand is also looking at other parts of the Klang Valley and strong growth markets like Penang.

Yao says projects will be planned according to market needs and opportunities for best returns for CapitaLand.

“Generally, the fundamentals of Malaysia’s property market are still good and we expect sustainable demand for residential properties by both owner occupiers and investment buyers,” she adds.

Meanwhile, the country’s Economic Transformation Programme to pave the way for Malaysia to become a high-income nation by 2020 will open up more growth opportunities for a broad spectrum of the economy, including the property industry.

In Kuala Lumpur, CapitaLand has undertaken a number of high-end residential projects in city centre, Bangsar, KL Sentral and Mont’Kiara. These projects include Suasana Sentral, Marc Service Residence, Kiaraville, Hampshire Residences, Seni Mont Kiara and Zehn Bukit Pantai.

In the last few years, it has also completed a number of commercial projects, notably in Mont’Kiara and Lot J in KL Sentral.

Yao says other than Singapore, Malaysia is the only country where CapitaLand has listed entities – Quill Capita Trust and CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust – through which it has a stable of commercial properties.

“In line with CapitaLand’s overall strategy for its REITs, both the listed entities are expected to grow in their asset size,” Yao adds.

In the service residence sector, CapitaLand’s service residence business unit, The Ascott Ltd, is also on the lookout for suitable opportunities to grow its presence in Malaysia.

Ascott is the largest international service residence owner-operator with close to 1,200 units across nine properties in the country.

Sastra U-Thant (artist’s impression) will be launched in November.

Yao says CapitaLand’s latest residential project in Kuala Lumpur, Sastra U-Thant, will be launched at the upcoming Star Property Fair which will be held from Nov 19 to 21 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

The company will assume the role of a joint developer and will exercise its expertise in design and project management to ensure that the quality of the high-end condominium project is delivered.

Located on 1.77 acres at Taman U-Thant, a prestigious diplomatic enclave off Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Sastra U-Thant will comprise 126 residences with most units overlooking the swimming pool and landscaped gardens.

Located within the enclave of other landed houses and low-density apartments, the project is close to international schools, golf courses, medical centres, shopping malls and supermarkets.

“The condominiums, with built-up from 1,744 sq ft to 5,436 sq ft, will be priced at an average of RM1,000 per sq ft. By pricing it more affordably, we would like our buyers to benefit from capital upside of their property,” Yao adds.

The development offers facilities such as jacuzzi, sauna, gymnasium, function hall and lounge.

Yao says since the pre-launch registration in August the company has received very encouraging bookings for the residences.

By The Star

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