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Friday, December 17, 2010

YTL Land to launch Capers in Q1 2011

PROPERTY developer YTL Land and Development Bhd will launch its iconic condominium, "The Capers" in Sentul East in the first quarter of 2011, its customer relation's manager, Karen Tan, said.

The stunning architectural icon comprising two 36-storey towers interrupted at random with sky gardens and flanked by two five-storey low-rise duplex townhouses, will definitively be a statement of loft living, she said.

However, she could not divulge the project's gross development value as it was still being assessed but added that the iconic condonomium was set to change the face of the 100-year old former railway town that was now a draw for the young modern crowd.

Two other condominiums in the area, built by YTL Land, are "The Tamarind" and "The Saffron", completed in 2005 and 2008, respectvely.

A total of 5,000 buyers have expressed thier earnest enthusiam by registering for units in the project, she told a press conference to announce the completion of the first office project in Sentul West and Sentul East, called "d7".

"d7", is a seven-storey architecture and cutting edge duplex sky office, located on prime land, which boosts of boutique offices, retail, food and beverage outlets encased in a lush landscaped courtyard atrium area.

Karen said "d7", which was completely sold out, had appreciated by more than 40 per cent since its debut in September 2007.

The launch price for "d7" then was RM380 per square feet and today it is valued at RM650 per square feet.

"d7" will soon be connected to "d6" via a sky bridge stretched over Jalan Sentul and the elevated Sentul Skywalk will connect all of Sentul East developments in the future to provide convenience to the community.

By Bernama

Mulpha sells Hilton Melbourne for RM327mil

Hilton Melbourne Airport Hotel

PETALING JAYA: Mulpha International Bhd will use the RM327mil proceeds from the sale of its Hilton Melbourne Airport Hotel to repay its debt levels unless new investment opportunities arise.

Executive chairman Lee Seng Huang, in an e-mail reply to questions from StarBiz, explained: While we have no current use of the proceeds, we will repay our outstanding facilities as much as possible. But if and when an opportunity comes up, we can redraw our loan facilities to make an acquisition. This is part of our treasury management to ensure we maximise returns on our cash resources.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Mulpha said that the proceeds, if used to repay debts, could bring down the group's debt levels from RM1.5bil to RM1.18bil.

To recap, yesterday Mulpha said it's wholly-owned subsidiary Mulpha Australia Ltd, had sold the Hilton Melbourne Airport Hotel to Singapore-listed Pan Pacific Hotels Group for A$108.89 (RM337.5mil) cash, with the sale expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.

Mulpha said the hotel was acquired in June 2004 at a cost of A$40mil (RM120mil) as part of a larger acquisition of a portfolio of properties.

The disposal of Hilton Melbourne Airport Hotel crystalises the embedded asset value in this investment which has significantly appreciated in value since the acquisition in 2004. During this time, the hotel performed exceptionally well and has won numerous awards. The sale will result in a one-off pre-tax gain of A$77mil (RM238.6mil) for the group, Lee said in a statement.

The Hilton Melbourne Airport Hotel is a six-level, four-and-a-half star hotel comprising 276 rooms on a 6,630 sq m land.

Mulpha other assets in Australia include the five-star InterContinental Sydney, a resort-styled property development called Sanctuary Cove in northern Gold Coast and Hayman, a five-star private island destination on the Great Barrier Reef.

Mulpha also owns 25% of Australian-listed FKP Property Group, the largest private owner/operator of retirement villages in Australia and New Zealand. All these assets were acquired by Mulpha Australia between 2002 and 2004.

FKP and Mupha were recently in the news in Australia over rumours that the former's second-largest shareholder, Stockland a leading Australian property developer was seeking to take over FKP.

Lee had then said that Mulpha was not keen on selling its shares in FKP as there was still a lot of upside potential in it. In an earlier interview with StarBiz, Lee also said that Mulpha was inclined to reinvest its profits.

Mulpha's investment philosophy is to maximise the value of its assets and recycle that money into other assets that can generate more value,'' Lee said.

By The Star

Foreign interest in high-end KL condos set to grow

FOREIGN interest in high-end condominiums in Kuala Lumpur will accelerate next year with the impact from Economic Transformation Programme's Greater Kuala Lumpur plan, property market players said.

The economic crisis in the past two years had seen a dip in foreign interest leading to a 30 per cent drop in prices.

"Going forward, we expect a return in buyer interest from Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and more recently from the Middle East," said Eric Y.H. Ooi, organising chairman of the forthcoming Fourth Malaysian Property Summit at a briefing yesterday.

Prices of these high-end units in the city centre, ranging from RM1 million and RM2 million, have caught up with previous peak levels.

Foreign ownership to local ownership, which was at 30:70 per cent ratio, is expected to increase.

"Come 2011 we will be able to see whether foreign interest will be better than the past two years or to the peak in 2007/2008 when it was 50:50 per cent ratio," Ooi said, adding that there had been drop in interest from European investors.

Ooi, who is also managing director of Knight Frank Malaysia, described the Malaysian property market scene as probably one of the most attractive in the region with fewer number of ownership restrictions.

Foreign investors are attracted to the higher yield from these high rise investments at 5 per cent compared to landed properties, which provide between 2 to 3 per cent yield.

He said it would be interesting to see the property market scene when the second-tier Chinese investors from the mainland are allowed to purchase overseas properties. Already there has been a spike of Chinese interest in properties elsewhere in Australia and Singapore.

Past president of the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia James Wong expects the inflow of foreign buyers to increase in 2012 with the implementation of the ETP.

"With the Greater KL and billions of ringgit in the MRT (mass rail transit) and LRT projects, we can expect to see an influx of expatriate population as seen during the last boom when the Petronas Twin Towers was taking shape," Wong said.

He added that unlike China and Singapore, Malaysia is not expected to see property asset bubble in the foreseeable future.

Wong also expects non-performing loans ratio (NPLs) to go up in the first quarter of 2011 although not at alarming rates.

He attributed it to the 5 to 10 per cent easy down payment scheme to purchase properties.

The Fourth Malaysian Property Summit organised by PEPS will be held at the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur on January 18.

It will have an overview of the property market performance and outlook for the office market, retail market, industrial market, high end condominium and REITs.

PEPS president Choy Yue Kwong said the property summit is also relevant to those who wonder whether it is the right time to sell their properties for alternative investments or right time to buy or invest or do nothing and wait for property prices to appreciate further.

By Business Times

Freehold serviced apartments in the middle of the city

Green living: The sitting room in the studio showhouse unit of VUE Residences Serviced Suites.

If you are looking for an abode that offers chic lifestyle amid tall skyscrapers, then look no further than the VUE Residences Serviced Suites located along Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur.

Developed by Prinsiptek Corporation Berhad (PCB), the freehold project comprises 23-storey with a roof garden/sky garden on the 24th floor. The first to seventh floors are multi-level carparks where residents are entitled to a parking bay per unit. There are 340 car park bays.

PCB group managing director Datuk Foo Chu Jong said the project is surrounded by various prominent landmarks like the Suria KLCC, Pavilion Shopping Centre, Titiwangsa Lake Garden, KPJ Tawakal Specialist Centre, Prince Court Medical centre, Istanan Budaya, and the National Art Gallery and it just five minutes away from the Chow Kit monorail station and Titiwangsa LRT station.

With 72 units, every floor has a combination of four models ranging from 500 sqft studio units to the bigger two-roomed units and the 1003 sqft three-roomed units.

“There is an indoor lap pool, gymnasium and a 24-hour security to give residents a peace of mind” added Foo.

Prices range from RM370,000 to RM772,000 and the project is expected to be completed by Dec 2013.

PCB’s other notable projects are The Prince in Bangkok, Section 8 Bandar Baru Bangi, Serdang Perdana Sky Villas, Ampang Prima Condominium and Section 7 Shah Alam.

By The Star

SPNB to sell 6,300 houses in 2011

Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Incorporated (Mof Inc.), has targeted to sell 6,300 houses next year.

"This year, we succeeded in selling about 3,000 units with a total value of around RM400 million," its managing director, Dr Sr Kamarul Rashdan Salleh told reporters here today.

"SPNB is confident that sales next year will double as are going to sell in cooperation with Cagamas Berhad (Cagamas), while offering an attractive package, including, a discount of between 10-30 per cent - depending on the location - along with free legal services.

SPNB chairman Datuk Ir Idris Haron explained that through the cooperation with Cagamas, buyers with an income of RM3,000 and below, will be able to own a RM220,000 house without having to making a downpayment.

"The sale also involves the participation of the Malaysia Building Society Bhd and Bank Simpanan Nasional," he said.

Meanwhile, under the Affordable Homes Ownership Programme (RMM), SPNB is developing 33 projects involving 35,000 units of houses throughout Malaysia and of this, six will be completed next year.

"We are also starting four new projects involving 1,200 units of houses in Kedah, Selangor, Johor and Sabah.These will begin in the second quarter of next year," Kamarul explained.

SPNB, has since 2001, been undertaking the rehabilitation of abandoned housing projects on the instruction of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

"However, from March this year,SPNB has not received any new instruction from the Ministry to manage abandoned housing projects.

"Still, if SPNB is asked to assist in rehabilitating abandoned projects, we will not reject the request," Idris said.

To date, SPNB has successfully rehabilitated 77 projects involving 24,326 units at a development cost of RM480 million throughout the country.

Commenting on reports that SPNB had failed to implement the Taman Anggerik Fasa 2, Senawang, project, Idris clarified that it was under the National Housing Board (JPN).

SPNB, he added, would be discussing the issue with the JPN.
SPNB, today,launched the Helpful, Informative, Friendly,Immediate (HIFI)Work Culture Programme at its headquarters here.

The programme is an initiative to transform SPNB into a committed company with an emphasis on customers.

By Bernama

PEPS: Govt must ensure homes remain affordable for average income earners

KUALA LUMPUR: There should be a national housing policy for affordable homes, said Datuk Mani Usilappan, who is council member the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia (PEPS).

He said it was timely that such a policy be implemented to ensure homes remain affordable to the mainstream home buyers.

Mani, who is also advisor to PEPS organising committee, said housing, especially in prime locations, were becoming too costly for average income earners.

Datuk Mani Usilappan ... ‘It is difficult for property developers to resolve this issue by themselves.’

There is need for the Government to implement a national housing policy, particularly for this group of people who represent the bulk of Malaysians, he said at a media briefing on the 4th Malaysian Property Summit 2011 yesterday.

Mani said perhaps the national housing policy could include the different categories of the property market, including the affluent segment. It is difficult for property developers to resolve this issue (affordable homes for the masses) by themselves, he said.

PEPS organising chairman Eric Ooi concurred with Mani, adding that while the overall outlook of the Malaysian property sector is positive, there is a need to ensure affordable housing is available to mainstream home buyers.

He acknowledged there was a growing number of young people (35 years and below) and young couples who were finding it difficult to own a home. Studies show the average home in the Klang Valley costs about RM400,000, so it would be quite impossible for these people to own one, he said.

On foreigners snapping up these homes, Ooi said it was more a perception than reality as the majority of foreigners tended to buy residential properties in prime locations that can cost RM1mil or more.

We don't see this as an issue, he said, noting that the Government had plans to raise the income levels of Malaysians over time by improving productivity.

PEPS past president James Wong said the Government had a significant role to play to ensure affordable housing was available to the masses. The authorities have to ensure land and funds are available for such housing projects and developers are give sufficient incentives to build these homes, he said.

The 4th Malaysian Property Summit 2011 will be held on Jan 18 at the Sime Darby Convention Centre.

By The Star

Al-'Aqar KPJ REIT gets shareholders nod

Al-'Aqar KPJ REIT, the first and largest Islamic Healthcare REIT in Malaysia, has got the nod from its shareholders for proposed acquisitions at its Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) today.

Al-'Aqar KPJ REIT has proposed to acquire the entire interest in Bandar Baru Klang Specialist Hospital Building in Klang, Kluang Utama Specialist Hospital Building, Kluang, Johor and Rumah Sakit Bumi Serpong Damai Building in Jakarta, Indonesia, from the subsidiaries of KPJ Healthcare Bhd.

This is in addition to the Rumah Sakit Medika Permata Hijau Building in Jakarta, Indonesia, from PT Khidmat Perawatan Jasa Medika, a subsidiary of Johor Corporation.

In a statement here today, the company said it has proposed to acquire the above properties for a total cash consideration of RM159.910 million to be satisfied partly by RM104.402 million cash and partly by the issuance of 56,641,000 new units in Al-'Aqar KPJ REIT at an issue price of RM0.98 per unit.

Al-'Aqar KPJ REIT will seek listing of and quotation for its consideration units of 56,641,000 on the Main Board of Bursa Securities.

It said this will bring the total enlarged unit capital of the Al-'Aqar KPJ REIT after the proposed acquisitions to 636,808,000 units and also from the existing 18 hospital to 22 hospital buildings, one nursing college and also the Selesa Hotel and Metropolis Tower.

It also brings the total number of properties to 24 - 22 in Malaysia and two in Jakarta. The proposed acquisition is expected to be accretive to Al-'Aqar KPJ REIT''s distributable income going forward.

Upon completion of the proposed acquisitions, the enlarged total asset value will be approximately more than RM1.2 billion.

By Bernama