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Friday, March 26, 2010

Expected growth in sales for Johor property market

JOHOR BARU: The Johor property market is expected to experience growth in sales this year due to the nation’s economic recovery.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Johor branch chairman Lee Kim Chai said other factors include higher employment in various sectors compared to last year.

He said the higher employment rate led to stronger purchasing power for prospective buyers.

“Prospective buyers should take the opportunity to buy property in the state at this point of time.

“Interest rates for housing loans are also very low, and thus very attractive to buyers,” he told The Star here on Monday.

Lee said property prices in Johor were comparatively low to Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

“For example, double-storey terrace houses are priced between RM800,000 and RM900,000 in areas such as Damansara Utama.

“The properties in Johor are much cheaper and thus much more attractive to buyers,” he said.

Lee noted that the sales performance of Johor’s property market is peculiar as it is also affected by Singapore’s economic climate.

“We have a sizeable population of locals staying in Johor Baru who are employed in Singapore.

“If Singapore’s economy is doing well a lot of locals would be working over there,” he said.

He added that some Johoreans working in Singapore have plenty of purchasing power.

“It is good for them to buy properties here as the exchange rate is favourable.

“Most of such workers prefer to stay in neighbourhoods and townships near the Second Link as it is easier for them to get access into Singapore,” he said.

Besides Johoreans, Lee said that the Johor property market was also attractive to foreigners, especially Singaporeans.

“Certain townships attract foreigners especially in Horizon Hills or East Ledang, which is near the Second Link.

“The strategic locations coupled with much cheaper prices compared to landed properties in Singapore is an incentive for buyers.

“Landed properties in Singapore cost millions of dollars while it only cost few hundred thousand Ringgit here,” he said.

Lee said that the development of Iskandar Malaysia would contribute to the growth of property sales in the state as well.

“I believe that with more foreign investments coming in and other infrastructure projects underway, the boom will benefit the Johor property market,” he said.

By The Star

Tong sees potential in Ho Hup’s property arm

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Tong Yoke Kim, who recently emerged as a substantial shareholder in financially troubled Ho Hup Construction Co Bhd, sees potential in the company’s property arm.

Tan Sri Tong Yoke Kim ... ‘I’m coming in as a private investor only.’

Ho Hup, which saw a months-long tussle between Datuk Low Tuck Choy and Datuk Vincent Lye end in the ouster of the latter and the board headed by him in an EGM on March 17, is a Practice Note 17 (PN17) company.

“I’m coming in as a private investor only and don’t personally know anybody in the management or the major shareholders,” Tong told StarBiz over the phone yesterday.

Tong, together with son Datuk Andrew Tong Ho San, also own a 19.27% stake in another construction firm, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, through investment vehicle Bumimaju Mawar Sdn Bhd.

According to a filing with Bursa Malaysia on Tuesday, the elder Tong had acquired 7.42 million shares, or a 7.28% stake, in an off-market deal on March 10, a week before the EGM that saw Lye and his board ousted.

Low and his family own 27.23% of Ho Hup, which was founded by his father, the late Low Chee. Lye has a 27.95% stake in the construction firm.

The March 17 EGM was requisitioned by Low, also a former managing director of the company, and another shareholder after disagreeing with the previous board led by Lye on the way forward for the company.

Tong added that despite being a PN17 company, there was still some value in Ho Hup, which primarily lay with the property arm.

Ho Hup recently signed a joint-venture agreement with Malton Bhd to develop 60 acres of freehold land the company owns in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, into a mixed project comprising commercial and residential properties.

Based on recent filings with Bursa Malaysia, Ho Hup is entitled to RM265mil from a potential RM2.5bil in gross development value from the project over a 10-year period from the approval date of the development.

Tong said the investment in Ho Hup had nothing to do with his other holdings, in particular with that of Bina Puri. “This is separate from my other investments, including in Bina Puri,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ho Hup director Hew Thin Chay said the board had no knowledge of the change in shareholding except from what was reported.

He said the company would make an announcement soon on the appointment of an advisor for the regularisation plan. Both AmInvestment Bank Bhd and Newfields Advisors Sdn Bhd had resigned from their positions as joint advisors last Friday.

“We will likely ask for an extension of time of up to six months from Bursa for the submission of a regularisation plan,” Hew said.

The deadline had been extended to April 4 in an earlier announcement.

By The Star (by Fintan Ng)

Nilai Res to develop land with GD Devt

Nilai Resources Group Bhd announced today that its subsidiary BBN Development Sdn Bhd plans to team up with GD Development Sdn Bhd to develop 135.52 hectares of land in Putra Nilai, Negeri Sembilan.

The proposal involved a mixed residential and commercial development, the company said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia today.

GD's principal activity is real property and property development.

Under the joint development agreement, BBN Development will be entitled to a sum equivalent to 25.8 per cent of the expected gross profits or actual gross profits from each phase of the project, whichever is the higher.

It will also be entitled to 25.8 per cent of all properties retained by the proposed development.

The proposed development is expected to be completed within eight years, in which the timeframe may be extended for another two years.

Nilai Resources said the joint development will allow BBN Development to leverage on the GD group's strong marketing network for the proposed development.

By Bernama

Glomac Bhd: Hold, target price RM1.40

AMRESEARCH has kept its "hold" rating on property developer Glomac Bhd, with a revised fair value of RM1.40 per share. The rating was maintained as it thinks the stock offers little upside despite a bullish outlook in the property sector.

The fair value is arrived at after applying a discount of 20 per cent to its revised estimated net asset value of RM1.74 per share.

"While demand for residential units should pick up from an expected growth in income and robust buying sentiment, we are neutral on Glomac's planned residential launches for fiscal 2010, which accounts for 36 per cent of planned gross development value this year," the stockbroker said in a March 23 report.

"This is mainly because its launches are not appealing, although modest pricing could entice first time buyers and those from a lower income segment," it added.
However, Glomac's shift to commercial development is showing positive results, it noted. AmResearch was somewhat surprised by the strong sales for the developer's commercial venture in Cyberjaya, which has an estimated GDV of RM205 million. While phase 1 of the project has a 70 per cent take-up, phase 2 was sold out.

Likewise, Glomac Damansara was well received despite a glut in supply of retail and commercial space within the vicinity.

"Given Glomac's knack in securing en-bloc sales for its buildings, we are not ruling out more such deals. It is looking to sell a few more buildings at Glomac Damansara with enquiries for its corporate tower in Plaza KJ4," the report said.

By Business Times

PM: Up to state govts to give land

It is up to the state governments to give available empty lots in their planned land use to second generation Felda settlers, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

In a written reply to Datuk Azalina Othman Said (BN – Pengerang), he said the Government never broke its promise in providing land ownership.

“Up till now, there are as many as 112,635 settlers in the country and 75,747 or 67.3% had been given ownership titles. A total of 36,888 or 32.7% of settlers have not receive the titles,” he said.

As of March 1, 13,264 ownership applications had been sent to state governments for approval, he added.

Najib said every Felda settler was allocated 4ha of land for farming and about 0.1ha for their living quarters.

According to the agreement between settlers and the state government, settlers were given land ownership documents when they had repaid the development costs that the Government had initially forked out for them, he said.

The development costs included that for jungle clearing, estate development, foundation preparation and building houses, and taxes, Najib said.

By The Star

‘Spin & Win’ at the Modern Home & Lifestyle Fair’s 10th Edition

The 10th edition of the Modern Home & Lifestyle Fair is currently held at Mid Valley Exhibition Centre from March 26 to 28. There are approximately 250 booths spanning 3 halls featuring security systems, mattresses, furniture and furnishings, landscaping, banks, massage sofas and interior design firms, amongst others. According to the exhibition’s project director Charles Yong, the exhibition is expected to attract 70,000 visitors.

The exhibition's project director Charles Yong holding two prizes while explaining how the 'Spin & Win' wheel works

“Even in the first hour, the response was good. There were 100 people waiting outside when we opened at 11am,” Yong said.

Yong explained that the10th edition is also referred to as the appreciation edition where prizes are given for purchases. Visitors with purchases of RM200 and above in a single receipt will be entitled to one spin at the ‘Spin & Win’ wheel, while two spins are accorded for purchases above RM1,500 in single receipt. The prizes are valued between RM25 and RM1,600.

“There are a lot of prizes such as stainless steel flasks and bicycle. One 32” LCD TV will be given per day. Previous years, we have lucky draws. There was a lucky draw per night and the chances of winning are one tenth to get one of the fifty or sixty prizes. This exhibition’s appreciation edition, we have more than 6,000 prizes,” Yong enthused.

“The main exhibitor is LG. Other key exhibitors include Alfo (lights) and Kian Classic (interior design),” Yong explained. He commented that the exhibition features various new technologies such as cleaning and mopping using robot, cooking with high tech halogen light and doors incorporating high security features while retaining its aesthetic appeal.

One of the interesting products is the ANABESS BioClean laundry ball. It claims to be scientifically designed to clean laundry without detergent. Another worthy mention is the Cozzia massage sofas, which is distributed by Ogawa World Berhad. Ogawa’s general manager for home funishing division Dato’ Eddy Sik said that Cozzia was launched in Jaunary this year and the response has been very encouraging as Cozzia sofas are the only sofas that offer basic massage functions in Malaysia. The massage sofas are made from Italian leather and only the single seater incorporates basic massage functions.

The Modern Home & Lifestyle Fair is organised by Cyan Event Management, the same organiser as the ONE Australia Property Fair held in early March.

By The Star