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Friday, December 3, 2010

Johor developers face future challenges

JOHOR BARU: Demand for residential properties is still good in Johor but developers will face challenges in the coming years due to labour shortage and a hike in building material prices.

Simon Heng .... ‘The take-up rate for new houses in Johor is still good despite the increase in prices.’

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Johor branch chairman Simon Heng said developers did not have much choice but to pass the additional cost to house buyers.

He said building materials costs had increased by 10% to 15% in the past two months, translating into higher selling prices for new houses, especially in Johor Baru.

The take-up rate for new houses in Johor is still good despite the increase in prices and hopefully the trend continues next year,'' Heng told StarBiz on Wednesday.

He said banks were still offering attractive home loans, including full-loan facility for first-time buyers with a monthly household income of less than RM3,000 as announced recently in Budget 2011.

He said developers should look at coming out with innovative packages, including gated-and-guarded precincts and high-speed broadband facilities, to attract buyers.

Heng said the construction industry was also facing labour shortage and had to depend on foreigners as locals were not interested to take up the job.

He said many Indonesians that had been working in the construction sector in Malaysia for more than five years had left home as the construction sector in the republic was booming.

He said despite having workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam, contractors still preferred Indonesians as they were more hardworking and easy to communicate with.

By The Star

RM27b investment spent in Iskandar Malaysia

A total of RM26.89 billion or 42 per cent of the committed investments of RM64.38 billion in Iskandar Malaysia have been spent on projects on the ground as at end of September.

A statement from the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) said the 9th meeting of the Members of Authority (MoA) of IRDA, which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Monday, was pleased that several key projects were on track and ready to commence operations in 2011/2012.

These include the Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology (recruitment to start in 2011); Newcastle Medical University Malaysia (in October 2011); Johor Premium Outlets (in November 2011); LEGOLAND theme park in Medini North (2012); Lifestyle Retail Mall@Medini (2012); and Marlborough College Malaysia (2012).

Najib is the IRDA co-chairman with Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

The statement said Iskandar Malaysia's positive growth continued to be on track for 2010 with greater awareness locally and internationally.

This was achieved despite the weak worldwide economic growth last year but following a strong rebound of regional economies in 2010.

It said the meeting also discussed strategies to woo more local and foreign investments to Iskandar Malaysia.

IRDA members were also informed that Iskandar Malaysia has been in the forefront of implementing the government's Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), aligned with the New Economic Model (NEM).

Seven of the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) under the ETP are being promoted in the region, it said.

The statement said several Entry Point Projects (EPPs) under the NKEAs not only offered business opportunities to local and foreign investors but also help develop Iskandar Malaysia to be "a strong and sustainable metropolis of internatioal standing".

The MoA noted that Iskandar Malaysia continues to attract interest from investors given its strategic location, strong brand, competitive cost of doing business, transparency and good investment environment.

The economic corridor attracted 58 per cent domestic and 42 per cent foreign investments, with positive outlook from Singaporeans, both in the manufacturing and services sectors.

IRDA said it is also targeting at more impactful promotions and marketing activities next year.

The MoA was also given updates on the progress of the Johor Baharu Sentral Business District Transfrmation Plan and the Iskandar Malaysia Human Capital Blueprint initiatives, among other matters.

By Bernama

Glomac at 3-year high on profit surge

Glomac Bhd, a Malaysian property developer, rose to its highest level in more than three years after profit in the second quarter ended Oct. 31 surged 71 per cent from a year earlier.

The stock gained 1.8 per cent to RM1.73 at 9:08 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur trading, set for its highest close since July 31, 2007.

By Bloomberg