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Friday, July 30, 2010

UEM Land to launch Symphony Hills Phase 1

UEM Land Holdings Bhd is launching phase one of Symphony Hills, a RM1 billion five-year residential project in Cyberjaya, and is confident demand will be strong.

In fact, it expects to sell all 122 superlink houses, townhouses and town villas that will be launched this weekend. Prices range from RM1 million to as much as RM2.3 million per unit.

Managing director Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim is optimistic of strong sales judging from the demand shown by both locals and expatriates in the Klang Valley, especially in Cyberjaya.

"We feel Symphony Hills is hitting the market at the right time. There is Maju Expressway improving connectivity between Cyberjaya and Kuala Lumpur.

"Cyberjaya has announced several new international firms coming on board. These include Fortune 500 companies, which will spur demand for new housing. Cyberjaya is going to fly," he said.

Symphony Hills will feature 450 houses. The project will showcase the connected intelligent community (CIC) concept of state-of-the-art technology and high-speed fibre optic infrastructure.

UEM Land is partnering Mesiniaga Bhd and Cisco Malaysia to develop Symphony Hills, which is the first residential development for the company outside of Nusajaya in Johor.

Each house at the 98ha Symphony Hills will have strata landed status, allowing residents to maintain certain aspects of the project from landscaping to security.

The project, which will be certified green, will also have a floating clubhouse incorporating green technology for rainwater harvesting.

"Although the prices are steep, our margins are very mediocre. We won't get 30 per cent to 40 per cent margin, but the satisfaction will come from being the first developer here to offer such a community.

"A lot of budget is being planned on the ICT (information and communications technology) component. We believe in value. We will make decent margins in the next few phases once we have delivered the first batch of houses," he said.

UEM Land wants to buy more land in Cyberjaya, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu to expand.

By Business Times

UEM Land cashing in on Cyberjaya revival

Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim strikes a pose in front of a showhouse at Symphony Hills, UEM Land’s maiden project in Cyberjaya.

CYBERJAYA: UEM Land Holdings Bhd, which will launch its maiden property project in the Klang Valley this weekend, expects “mediocre margins” from the 122 landed strata homes offered under the first phase of its high-end residential development, known as Symphony Hills, in Cyberjaya.

Managing director and chief executive Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said he was confident buyers would be willing to pay more for future launches at the site once the main components of the development were completed.

“I managed to convince the board of directors that our margins will improve to a ‘decent’ level in upcoming launches after they (buyers) can see what we have delivered,” he told a media preview at the site yesterday.

A number of UEM Land’s projects in Johor have won international acclaim and the company is setting a high target for Symphony Hills.

Going forward, UEM Land will continue to expand its presence outside Johor.

“We have a little war chest that we will use to acquire good landbank in several hotspots,’’ said Wan Abdullah. He identified these so-called hotspots as the Klang Valley, Selangor, Penang and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

He said the group would only consider expanding overseas after 2012.

Symphony Hills is located on a 98-acre site near Multimedia University. UEM Land plans to build 2,865 residential and commercial units with a gross development value of RM1bil over the next five to eight years.

Only 410 landed homes are planned for this project, billed as the country’s first “connected intelligent community” development.

“Symphony Hills was conceptualised under a strategic and intelligent masterplan that reinforces aspects of planning, design and technology.

The concept combines the elements of comfort, convenience, community and security,’’ Wan Abdullah said.

The first of the “intelligent” houses will sell for RM1mil to RM2.3mil each, or RM300 to more than RM400 per sq ft, depending on design, size and location.

Wan Abdullah said a “floating pavillion” clubhouse within the development would be ready by the time the first batch of homeowners received their keys.

To ensure the project would live up to its wired and connected billings, UEM Land has roped in network system provider Cisco and Mesiniaga Bhd as partners.

UEM Land is the master developer of Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, where it has 9,564 acres under various stage of development. The company is also a 25% shareholder in Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd, the master developer of Cyberjaya.

Wan Abdullah credited the Maju Expressway, which significantly cut travel time between Cyberjaya and Kuala Lumpur city centre, as the key to Cyberjaya’s recent revival.

“I believe we are hitting the market at the right time,” he said.

By The Star

Property industry still 'very active' despite FDI slowdown

The local property sector has not been affected much by the slowing foreign direct investment (FDI) last year and can cope with the pressure, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung said.

"All I can say is that the development of the housing industry in the country is very active. Although there is a reduction in FDI, we can still withstand (the pressure)," Chor told reporters on the sidelines of the 13th National Housing and Property Summit in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, yesterday.

He was asked to comment on the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report which said that FDI in Malaysia had plunged more than 80 per cent last year.

Chor said that units offered at property launches in the Klang Valley, in particular, were quick to be taken up by buyers.

"This is probably because Malaysians have high saving rates that enable them to buy these properties.

"Added to this, the prices of properties in the country are still relatively low compared to neighbouring countries."

Chor said foreign investors were still keen to participate in the property industry here as they were optimistic of opportunities to make profits.

He said there were no worries at the moment that rising prices could lead to a property bubble, adding that the government had no plans to control prices.

"There is no property bubble in the country as demand and supply is matched properly. There is no fear of a property bubble here.

"We have not reached the stage yet and the mechanisms are right in place. It is still manageable," he said.

Chor, who is also MCA vicepresident, criticised the DAP for publicly calling for the removal of the 5 per cent discount for Bumiputeras to buy luxury homes.

"The MCA had discussed the idea of slashing Bumiputera discounts for luxury homes even before it was raised by DAP's PJ (Petaling Jaya) Utara MP (member of Parliament), Tony Pua, last week.

"But we did not bring it up in public until a proper study and consultation is made. Unlike them, we just don't simply say anything that crosses our mind."

Chor was responding to Pua's suggestion to the Selangor state government to remove Bumiputera discounts for luxury homes and commercial properties in the state to boost competitiveness and restore investor confidence.

"We have to look at the statistics and discuss the matter thoroughly, including getting feedback from the Bumiputeras themselves," he said.

Chor, however, said the MCA felt that it would be better if the rich Bumiputeras did not take the 5 per cent discount, but channelled that instead to help the poor Bumiputeras.

By Business Times

Penang set to see RM2b projects

SOME RM2.1 billion worth of residential properties in Penang are being lined up for development from this year to next, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

He said that Penang and Kuala Lumpur-based developers were planning a total of 2,696 residential properties, with estimated gross sales of more than RM2.1 billion, on the island and mainland.

"Of this, a total of 1,676 units with estimated gross sales value of RM1.84 billion are located out of the island," Lim said at a luncheon address on the sidelines of the 13th National Housing and Property Summit in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, yesterday.

Apart from this, the state government will also put out to tender some of the prime land in Penang, he added.

Among the sites is a piece of land between the Penang Bridge and Queensbay shopping complex.

"This land is being offered on a freehold basis with the reserve minimum price of RM200 per sq ft. This is considered cheap.

"However, potential bidders will be required to build a hospital, office lots, and reclaim some land. Still, this is a worthwhile bargain," Lim said.

According to Lim, interest was already being shown by overseas investors, including those from Singapore and Hong Kong.

By Business Times

Talam gearing for property launches

Talam Corp Bhd, once the country's largest builder of low- and low-medium-cost houses, plans to launch properties worth as much as RM1 billion once its restructuring exercise is completed.

The property launches will be staggered over a period of two to three years.

The company expects to launch some projects by the second half of next year.

The group has sold off RM676 million worth of properties to settle its debts, of which RM393 million is due to Menteri Besar Selangor Inc and RM266.3 million to lenders.

When its restructuring is completed, the group's current liabilities will be reduced to RM190 million from RM887 million a year ago.
"Once this exercise has been approved by shareholders and regulatory body, we will use the remaining landbank to launch higher-range products," executive director Chua Kim Lan told reporters after the group's annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

After selling off some 1,942.5ha to settle its debts, the group still has 809.4ha in Selangor and plans to develop bungalows, semi-detached houses and industrial factories.

"One of the many things we learnt from this episode was, when we launch low-medium-cost houses, we get low returns. In addition to that, during the peak of the property market in the 1990s, we had a huge landbank of 7,284.3ha and the group's liability then was around RM4 billion to RM5 billion," chairman Tsen Keng Yam said.

"We do not need so much landbank, should only buy when you have money and when you need it," he added.

For this year, Talam is committed to finishing off its incomplete projects, including housing developments in Kinrara Section 3, Jalil Heights, in Petaling, Saujana Puchong and Ukay Perdana.

The projects have progress balance billings of about RM100 million.

By Business Times

White knights sought for idle housing projects

The government is seeking "white knights" to revive 56 abandoned housing projects while coming down hard on directors of companies and property developers out to make a fast buck from the industry.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung said its officers had managed to bring down the number of abandoned projects to 56 from 151 last year.

"In the process of reviving these abandoned projects, we have identified 40 developers who are willing to help revive those projects.

"Now, there are 56 projects that need to be revived, but we have yet to get the needed assistance from the willing developers," Chor told reporters at the 13th National Housing and Property Summit in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, yesterday.

He said that some developers were not really interested in helping to revive the abandoned projects as they were not money-making ventures. On the contrary, they had to fork out more money to revive them.

Taking this into account, the government is willing to top up the RM200 million fund allocated previously to revive such projects, he said.

At the same time, the ministry will be stricter in vetting applications by developers for housing developments.

"We try to weed out unscrupulous or unqualified developers who tend to make a fast buck.

"Their actions are not wanted here. The buyers tend to be the victims as they have taken loans to pay for the houses in advance. If the projects are abandoned, they will suffer," Chor said.

Although he did not have the statistics on errant developers, Chor said the ministry had blacklisted some, including company directors.These directors are not allowed to set up new companies.

On calls for the government to implement the "build first, then sell" policy, Chor said that the country had yet to reach the stage to implement it, but encouraged able developers to do so.

"When we build first, and up to a certain level, then sell, then, of course, developers will have to set aside a lot of capital outlay.

"Currently, a lot of developers in this country can only continue development under the current system of acquiring funding from end-financiers.

"I suppose we are not able to emulate advanced nations such as Singapore where they build first and sell later.

"We have not reached that stage yet, but we encourage those who can afford to do that," he said.

On the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015), Chor said that some 78,000 units of affordable housing had been targeted to be built.

"We are targeting to build 78,000 units although survey shows that there are currently some 95,000 families throughout the nation who have yet to own houses.

He added that there was a lot of demand for such houses in Selangor, Penang, Pahang and Kedah.

By Business Times

Mutiara's unit in RM38 m property disposal

KUALA LUMPUR: MUTIARA GOODYEAR DEVELOPMENT Bhd announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Potensi Naga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), has entered into a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Prosper Palm Oil Mill Sdn Bhd (PPOM) to dispose a property for RM38 million cash.

The company said on Friday, July 30 that the property involved a 13-storey office building together with 230 car park bays in Kelana Centre Point, Petaling Jaya.

The group said the property was acquired by PNSB on May 15, 1999 for a consideration of RM31.9 million, adding that it was a leasehold property with the lease expiring on Jan 23, 2094.

"The property is currently leased to a mixed group of tenants for office use and has a tenancy rate of 77%," said Mutiara, adding that the approximate age of the property is 11 years.

It noted the fair book value of the property based on PNSB’s latest audited financial statements for the year ended April 30, 2009 was RM32 million.

Mutiara said the the disposal represented an opportunity for the Mutiara Group to unlock the value of assets that did not contribute towards its core business of property development.

It added that the disposal would also free the group from future holding and maintenance costs of the property.

The proceeds from the disposal would provide future cashflow for the group’s working capital purposes, reduce its borrowings and/or contribute towards expansion of its core business.

By The Edge Malaysia

Empire Mall eyes full occupancy in 3 months

The Empire Shopping Gallery (ESG), Subang Jaya's new landmark, expects its retail space to be fully taken up in three months' time.

Mammoth Empire Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Sean Ng said most of the company's projects had different concepts to prevent the customers from getting bored.

"To meet the demands of the customers, we have been selective in the tenants we want.

"We also actually have to look at the geographical and demographic factors in certain locations to implement the right concept," he told reporters after the opening of the lifestyle-focused and upscale mall in Subang Jaya today.

The mall is part of the freehold Empire Subang commercial development which also comprises Empire Soho (small office/home office), Empire Tower and a boutique hotel.

Empire Soho consists of 210 units while the Empire Tower is a 12-storey office block.

Empire Hotel offers stylish getaway options for business and leisure travelers.

Mammoth Empire Holdings Sdn Bhd also have two other projects at Damansara Perdana that will be launched by year-end.

By Bernama