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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Record year for property transactions seen

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is likely to see a record year for property transactions and home price appreciation could accelerate, said CIMB Investment Bank Bhd.

In its latest report for the Malaysian property sector, the research house said it remained particularly bullish on residential properties as house prices were likely to trend higher and volumes would scale new highs.

“Developers benefited from the increase in transaction values and rising house prices in 2010 and will continue to do so in 2011,” it said.

According to the 2010 Property Market Report (PMR) published by C H Williams Talhar & Wong, property transactions last year rebounded from 2009's slump at 11% to 376,583, with transaction values rising 33% to a record RM107.44bil. Residential prices in all states also rose, gaining an average 6.7%, the quickest pace since the 1997/8 Asian Financial Crisis at 6.7%.

“While the authorities may fret about property bubbles and take measures to cool down the sector, history shows that such actions do not burst bubbles and merely slowed down the ascent of property prices and resulted in short term profit-taking on property stocks,” CIMB said, adding that it did not expect any major negative policies to be introduced for the property sector until after the general elections, widely expected to be held later this year or early next year. While CIMB maintained a bullish stance on residential property sector, it said prospects for commercial properties in the country did not look promising due to the significant new supply coming onstream.

In that regard, it said, “property investment companies would continue to be weighed down by soft rental rates stemming from relatively high vacancy rates and substantial new supply.”

The PMR showed weak demand and rising supply were already weighing down occupancy rates for commercial properties, particularly office spaces in the Klang Valley, last year.

By The Star

A green look at property value

A growing number of developers and building owners in Malaysia are recognizing the value of going “Green”. The term sustainable development has interchangeably been used to reflect “green features” in the development.

In some countries, sustainable development has a deeper meaning than simply applying “green features” as it is used to tackle a number of global issues such as poverty, inequality, hunger and environmental degradation.

But, in the context of property development in Malaysia, it can generally be referred to as practices that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations. Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil in 1992 was one of the major international efforts to bring sustainable development to the mainstream.

In Malaysia, while some developers have taken their own initiatives to achieve international green certification such as LEED, and BCA Green Mark, the establishment of a green rating tool known as Green Building Index (GBI) by Greenbuildingindex Sdn Bhd, a group of architects and engineers in February 2009 has marked another level of achievement in our effort to preserve and save the environment. Developed to promote green design, construction, reconstruction and operation of buildings, GBI focuses on six green criteria, such as energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, sustainable site planning and management, materials and resources, water efficiency and innovation.

It was reported that currently there are 21 GBI-certified buildings; some of them are Sunway SPK 3 Harmoni, 311 House, Ken Bangsar Serviced Residences, Pusat Tenaga Malaysia, 1 First Avenue and Menara Worldwide.

In March this year, GBI Township Rating Tool was launched to further mark a green effort to transform our communities. The six assessment criteria are climate, energy and water; ecology and environment; community planning and design; transportation and connectivity: building and resources as well as business and innovation. Five pilot projects that were reported to have registered with the GBI are TTDI Alam Impian, Boga Valley, Ken Rimba, Elmina East, and Karambunai Intergrated Resort City.

With the growing interest in green development, critical questions have been raised by property buyers and investors - whether there is an enhancement to the market value of green-rated properties or is it an over-enhancement? Will these green properties be more marketable and attractive for investment purpose? In Malaysia, a comprehensive study on this subject has yet to be conducted. However, at this stage, we can also learn from experience in countries that are more advanced in the green initiatives.

A survey conducted by New York Times in 2006 concluded “when faced with the choice of renting or buying two similar apartments, consumers increasingly will opt for the one with Green features, even if it comes at a higher price.” In a study on the need for Green features in buildings conducted by Harvard Business Review in the same year, it recommended that building owners of “standard” buildings needed to adopt Green features, otherwise their buildings would face massive obsolescence.

In Germany, which is more advanced in its environmental movement, sustainability has become a key factor, where building owners would have difficulty leasing the properties if environmental measures were not taken into consideration.

Jamestown Properties, a German commercial real estate investment company, has recently announced that it will invest its entire US$4bil portfolio of buildings in the United States in “green” buildings. Other prominent investment funds that are incorporating green buildings and energy-efficient buildings and other principles of sustainability into their property selections and portfolios are Investa Commercial Property Fund based in Australia and Rose Smart Growth Investment Fund 1 in New York.

In terms of rental rate, a study led by Professor John M. Quigley of University of California in Berkeley concluded that rents for green offices were about 2% higher than rents for comparable buildings within the same area. However, in terms of appreciation, the result has yet to be seen because most of these green-rated buildings have been around only for the last few years and only a few, if any, have been re-sold.

And the profile of prospective buyers might also influence the value placed on the properties. For example, a buyer or tenant who places high value on green efforts as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility might be willing to pay higher prices or rental. In the case of Jamestown Properties, some of the properties will be held between seven and 10 years to benefit from reduced operating costs.

Back home, the asking rental rate at Menara Worldwide, a newly completed GBI-certified office building at Jalan Bukit Bintang is RM6 psf, which is comparable to the average rental rate of standard prime buildings in the city centre. Rental rates of existing prime office buildings within this area range from RM5.80 psf to RM7 psf. On the other hand, the asking rental rate of another GBI-certified office building, G Tower, which was completed in 2009 and also a MSC-status building, is RM6.80 psf, about 13% higher than the average rate of RM6 psf.

Rental rates of existing prime office buildings within this area range from RM5.50 psf to RM9 psf. In 2009, Shell People signed a 15-year lease at rental rate of RM8.50 psf for office space at 348 Sentral, which is expected to be completed in 2012 consisting of 33-storey office tower and 21-storey serviced residence to be certified by LEED Gold standards. Current rental rates of existing prime office buildings within this area range from RM6 psf to RM7 psf.

It can be concluded that at present, the difference in rental rates between green and non-green buildings is not so much due to the green features, but more of supply and demand factors within the specific location. With proper method of valuation being used to take into account green features, I believe there would be more recognition of the actual benefits of green buildings in the future.

Senator Datuk Abdul Rahim Rahman is the executive chairman of Rahim & Co group of companies.

By The Star

Mah Sing completes purchase of land

Mah Sing Group Bhd has completed the purchase of a 141,084 sq m prime freehold residential land in Cyberjaya from Cyberview Sdn Bhd and Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd for RM51.63 million.

The purchase of the land was made through the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Myvilla Development Sdn Bhd.

By Business Times

Friday, April 29, 2011

Luxury lakeside condominium

Cool sight: The LaCosta sandy beach pool.

Sunway City Berhad (SunCity) continues to strengthen its presence as a leading property developer in Malaysia with the much-anticipated LaCosta at Sunway South Quay which is located within the Sunway Integrated Resort City (SIRC).

LaCosta has a sandy beach pool that will be the perfect corner for families to gather and enjoy a splash together, as well as an Olympic-length pool.

Residents will be thrilled by the fact that they do not have to travel miles to enjoy a sandy beach pool as all they have to do is to take the elevator.

SunCity leveraged on its expertise in managing the Sunway Lagoon theme park which has the world’s largest man-made surf beach when developing the sandy beach pool for LaCosta.

In view of its unique sandy beach pool concept, the launch of LaCosta was recently held at the Surf Beach @ Sunway Lagoon where the public was invited for a fabulous beach party.

The response was overwhelming and it was indeed a unique way of launching a property as SunCity offered guests a first-hand beach experience which will be replicated in LaCosta in the future.

Guests were entertained by lively dance performances, magicians, clowns and a delicious barbeque dinner. They were also presented with the opportunity to build sand castles and view an exciting volcano show.

Standing tall on a land area spanning 5.39 acres, the four-tower condominium is nestled in the opulent Sunway South Quay.

The development will have 377 units with a built-up ranging from 1,302 sq. ft to 3,226 sq. ft. The gross development value (GDV) is approximately RM400 million.

The selling price ranges from RM880,000 onwards with attractive financing packages that includes developer interest bearing scheme during construction. Currently, there is a discount of 10% for a limited period of time.

“LaCosta is yet another unique property in Sunway South Quay as it allows residents to enjoy a metropolis lifestyle next to a 28acre lake. To date, BayRocks Garden Waterfront Villas and A’marine condominium in Sunway South Quay have both enjoyed overwhelming responses.

“As such, we are confident that LaCosta will be in high demand and its appeal is strengthened further as it is situated within a hub of award-winning and world-class shopping, theme park, hospitality, education and health­care facilities,” said Sunway City Berhad managing director (property development Malaysia) Ho Hon Sang.

One of the main unique selling points of LaCosta is that every unit enjoys a lakeside view. Apart from the unique sandy beach pool, residents can also enjoy lushly landscaped podiums, extra-wide balconies projecting a better view for each unit and most importantly, exclusive privacy with only four units per floor.

There will also be four uniquely themed sky gardens — Mediterranean, Tropical, Herb and Zen Gardens with facilities that include a games room, ballet studio, yoga zone and others.

The development also oversees a majestic view of the entire Kuala Lumpur skyline in the distant horizon and inspiring horizons of the Sunway South Quay lake.

By The Star

Commerce One – office suites for SMEs and start-up companies

Artist's impression of the completed Commerce One development.

Calling all SMEs and new start-up company owners …. a rare opportunity to own a new office suite in one of Kuala Lumpur’s prime and established locations awaits you at Commerce One.

Strategically located in the prized business hub of Jalan Klang Lama (5th mile), Commerce One, developed by GuocoLand Malaysia, offers small and medium sized companies a viable option of owning their office premises rather than the usual rental route.

The twenty one storey corporate office building offers 222 units of modern office suites (500 and 1,700sq ft), a retail and F&B floor, fiber optic broadband connectivity, dedicated entrance lobby, 24-hour security, ample cark park and landscaped terraces.

For added convenience and privacy, en-suite toilets and pantries are standard features in all office suites (from 1,138sq ft) facing Jalan Klang Lama.

Commerce One, located near the Pearl International Hotel and only 3km to Mid Valley City, is well served by a network of highways – New Pantai Expressway, KL-Putrajaya Highway, Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS) and Federal Highway – and good public transportation.

GuocoLand (Malaysia) Bhd Marketing and Sales Director Pam Loh said Commerce One would also make an excellent investment option given its attractive rental returns of about six per cent for prime office locations in Jalan Klang Lama.

“Perhaps the biggest appeal to the SMEs will be the ease of new hire for office support staff many of whom are increasingly very picky about the location of their workplaces. Retail, eating places and public transportation are also within easy reach in this thriving business area.”

“We are also giving top priority to security for added peace of mind. Access card and close circuit TV will be part of the total security system in addition to round-the-clock security,” she said.

About fourth per cent of office suites have been sold during the soft launch ahead of Commerce One’s launch at the Commerce One Sales Gallery (2-3, Lorong 2/137C, off Jalan Klang Lama. Tel: 016-3399 506) on 5 May 2011. The office suites are priced from RM430 per sq ft.

By The Star

Home prices, deals to accelerate: CIMB

Malaysia is likely to see a record year for property transactions and home price appreciation could accelerate, CIMB Investment Bank Bhd said in a report today.

The bank maintained its “overweight” rating on the industry and said Mah Sing Holdings Bhd was its top pick, it said.

Meanwhile, CIMB Research is bullish on the performance of the properties sector for 2011 after hitting a record transaction of RM107.44 billion last year.

It said the potential re-rating catalysts for the sector are newsflow on landbanking, strong sales from most developers and accelerating earning growth.

"We remain bullish on the property sector, especially the residential properties, as house prices are likely to trend higher and volumes should scale new highs," it said in a research note today.

CIMB Research said the price direction was determined by major cycles and negative external events such as the Asian and global financial crisis.

It said the cycle was currently in the property sector's favour.

By Bernama

Jeffrey Ng says purchase of Putra Place proper

PETALING JAYA: Sunway REIT Management Sdn Bhd and OSK Trustees Bhd have followed the proper procedures in the acquisition of Putra Place at a public auction, said Sunway REIT Management chief executive officer Datuk Jeffrey Ng.

Datuk Jeffrey Ng says the trustee and the manager of Putra Place would vigorously defend all claims raised by Metroplex

“Sunway REIT has successfully bidded for Putra Place at a public auction conducted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court and which was held for the fourth time on March 30,” Ng told StarBiz yesterday.

He was commenting on the move by the previous owner Metroplex Bhd to block the sale of the property that comprise The Mall shopping complex, Legend Hotel and an office tower.

He said Metroplex's action was “completely without merit” and the trustee as well as the manager of Putra Place would vigorously defend all claims raised in the two legal proceedings.

Metroplex has served an originating summons and an affidavit to Commerce International Merchant Bankers Bhd, OSK Trustees, Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust, Sunway REIT Management and Ahmad Fairuz Mohd Puzi, a court officer who conducted the auction of Putra Place.

Sunway REIT, in a filing to Bursa Malaysia on Wednesday, said the court summons dated April 25 were served on the defendants on Tuesday evening.

Metroplex had requested the High Court to set aside the sale of the property to OSK Trustees and/or Sunway REIT and/or Sunway REIT Management.

It had also requested that the property be remitted back to the Registrar of the High Court due to breaches of the National Land Code 1965, Capital Markets and Services Act 2007, and the Guidelines on Real Estate Investment Trusts issued by the Securities Commission.

Metroplex is seeking to get the High Court to declare the sale as null and void as it claimed the public auction had been turned into a private auction.

Sunway REIT, in a separate filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, said the High Court has dismissed the summon-in-chambers with costs pertaining to the injunction sought by two individuals Robert Ti and Indonesian Kornelis Kurniadi to restrain OSK Trustees and Sunway REIT from completing the sale of Putra Place land.

Sunway REIT said the High Court also dismissed the plaintiffs' oral application for an interim order that the trustee and Sunway REIT be restrained from selling or dealing with Putra Place pending the disposal of the originating summons.

The High Court has also fixed May 5 as case management for the originating summons.

By The Star

Firm helps M’sians invest in Australian properties

Renowed Australian property company, King Group, has set up a one-stop business centre in Malaysia to help potential local property buyers to invest in Down Under.

Known as OZ Property Sdn Bhd, the company opened its doors in Kuala Lumpur last month.

The objective behind setting up the local firm was to provide potential Malaysian investors a quicker access and information pertaining to quality Australian properties.

“The company offers a one-stop solution for potential local investors ranging from a panel of mortgage brokers, migration agencies, education agencies and solicitors in Malaysia,” said its chief executive officer Dr Edwen Yew.

King Group is a property development, project marketing and project management company that is involved in a wide range of developments in Australia.

“Our goal is to guide and assist potential investors in buying properties in Australia,” said Yew.

He said the company also provided property management, including managing services to those who have invested in Australian properties.

He said the firm would be organising property roadshows over the next few months to showcase the available Australian properties to interested investors.

“Aside from showcasing Australian properties, Oz Property will also sell United Kingdom properties to local investors in July.”

Yew said as part of the company’s long-term expansion strategy, there were plans to venture into property development in Malaysia within the next two years.

By The Star

Tesco plans to open 6 more hypermarkets

KEPONG: Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Tesco Malaysia) plans to open six new hypermarkets this year, with expected investment reaching at least RM480 million.

Its chief executive officer Tjeerd Jegen said it would continue to do this but the number would depend on the government's approvals.

"As far as we are concerned, we want to open up many stores, including in Sabah and Sarawak within the next 10 years, to make our stores accessible to customers," Jegen told reporters after launching Tesco's 10th year anniversary here yesterday.

Tesco now operates 39 stores and two distribution centres.

It is now focusing on expanding its business in the north.

So far this year, Tesco had opened three stores with investments worth some RM240 million. In the next six months, it will open another three.

"The three new stores will be located in Penang, Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur, and Sri Iskandar in Perak. Usually, we will invest between RM80 million and RM200 milllion for a store," he said.

Tesco Malaysia is a joint venture between Tesco plc, one of the world's largest international retailers, and Sime Darby Bhd. It started operations in May 2002, with the opening of its first hypermarket in Puchong, Selangor. It currently employs some 15,000 people.

Apart from new stores, Tesco Malaysia will also help upgrade 152 small retail shops under a government plan called Tukar.

Tukar, one of the Entry Point Projects under the Economic Transformation Programme, aims to modernise these shops to increase their competitiveness. To date, three major retail chains, namely Mydin, Carrefour and Tesco have signed up.

Tesco Malaysia has adopted two retail outlets, one in Shah Alam and the other one in Bukit Puchong under the project.

"We have contributed some RM80,000 in terms of shelving and equipment to a shop in Shah Alam and another RM60,000 to the shopowner in Bukit Puchong.

"They have since managed to increase their sales. For instance, the shopowner in Shah Alam managed to double her sales, while the other shop in Puchong managed to increase its workforce," he said.

By Business Times

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mah Sing's Star Avenue Shop Offices sold out in one weekend

Artist’s impression of the Avenue Street Mall at Star Avenue at Damansara.

Mah Sing Group Berhad registered sales of RM242.5million during the launch of Phase1&2 of Star Avenue@D’sara in Sungai Buloh over the weekend. The launch attracted more than 800 prospective buyers and all 92 units of the three storey shop offices averagely priced from RM2.6million were snapped up.

“We have been quite confident that Star Avenue@D’sara shops would be well received based on its strong potential and exceptional value but a 100% take up rate on the first sales launch event weekend has exceeded our expectations and was a pleasant surprise. We are happy that the purchasers appreciated our effort in designing the shops to encourage business vibrancy with features such as wide frontage, corridors and walkways, besides boasting high floor to ceiling height of 22 feet which gives an option to owners to possibly add a mezzanine floor. Its appeal is further enhanced by virtue of it being the first and only night guarded shop office development. In view of the overwhelming response to Star Avenue@D’sara over the weekend, we are now opening 46 units of the Avenue Street Mall retail lots for registration,” said Mah Sing’s chief operating officer Andy Chua.

The Avenue Street Mall offers 370,000sq ft of nett lettable area spread over four levels, and Mah Sing Group intends to keep approximately 60% to ensure the right tenancy mix to maximize the rental yields and increase capital appreciation. The proposed tenancy mix include F&B outlets, a supermarket, IT and tele-communications center, bowling alley, fashion and accessories stores, etc.

With an estimated catchment of 360,000 people within a 15 minutes drive and excellent visibility with more than 300,000 passing traffic daily, and the lack of a competing mall nearby, Star Avenue@D’sara is poised to be a shopping hotspot. Ample carpark with more than 1,500 bays on the ground floor and basement level has been allocated to cater to the expected influx of shoppers. The project is only 3 minutes from the proposed MRT Station in Taman Industri Sg. Buluh and strategically located at the busy traffic junction of Jalan Sungai Buloh (Guthrie Corridor), Persiaran Cakerawala and Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang.

Buyer taking a closer look at Star Avenue at Damansara. With Phase 1&2 shop offices fully taken up, registration is now open for 46 units of the Avenue Street Mall retail lots.

“As connectivity is becoming more and more of a factor that appeals to the market, Star Avenue@D’sara's strategic location as well its superb accessibility and large population catchment that includes Subang, Subang Bestari, Sungai Buloh, Ara Damansara, Kota Damansara, Mutiara Damansara would serve the business community well. Star Avenue@D’sara shall be able to tap on the 13,000 students at the proposed new Help University Collegue-Subang 2 Campus, via Persiaran Cakerawala which is currently being upgraded into a 6 lane road. This project is also adjacent to the much talk about 3,300-acre Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRIM) privatization land to be developed by EPF. Buyers are obviously optimistic of the RRIM land potential,” said Andy Chua.

More information on Star Avenue@D’sara is available on or 03-92218 888.

By The Star

I&P to launch projects with RM2b GDV

KUALA LUMPUR: Property developer I&P Group Sdn Bhd will launch several projects in its existing townships in Klang Valley and Johor Baru this year with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of over RM2 billion.

The projects, which will be launched between May and December, are located in Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, Bangi, Cheras, Puchong, Klang and Johor.

Group managing director Datuk Jamaludin Osman expects this year's property market outlook to be as good as last year.

"For this year, we will try to maintain or achieve better than last year's RM1 billion revenue," group managing director Datuk Jamaludin Osman said in an interview with Business Times recently.

I&P, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), was formed about two years ago after the rationalisation exercise of three companies, namely Island & Peninsular Sdn Bhd, Petaling Garden Sdn Bhd and Pelangi Sdn Bhd.

Jamaludin said the group is currently working on various phases of development in 12 townships, of which three are in Johor and nine in the Klang Valley.

They include Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, TemasyaGlenmarie, Bandar Kinrara, Bayuemas, Alam Sari, Alam Impian, Alam Damai in Klang Valley; while Taman Industri Jaya, Taman Rinting and Taman Perling in Johor.

He said the townships will take between 10 to 15 years to be developed, depending on its location and marketability.

Jamaludin said people who buy the group's residential units are first-time buyers, upgraders and investors.

Depending on locations, he said in some areas, there are more Bumiputera buyers, while in other areas the houses are equally sought by both Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras.

The group has a total landbank of about 2,200ha in Klang Valley and Johor.

"We are looking for good land for development," he said when asked if the group is expanding its landbank.

By Business Times

I&P has homes in more than 60 townships

KUALA LUMPUR: I&P Group Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Bhd, displayed its various property projects at the Minggu Saham Amanah Malaysia (MSAM) in Ipoh recently.

Projects include those in the Klang Valley and Johor.

"We are the premier partner of MSAM 2011. Besides displaying our products, there were also various activities at our booth," I&P group managing director Datuk Jamaludin Osman said in an interview with Business Times.

I&P was formed in May 2009 after the merger of three companies, namely Island & Peninsular Sdn Bhd, Petaling Garden Sdn Bhd and Pelangi Sdn Bhd.

The group, which has a combined track record of over 130 years in property development, has built homes in more than 60 townships.

By Business Times

Maju Assets upbeat on RM1.3b Sg Besi project

Maju Assets Sdn Bhd, the property arm of diversified Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd, is upbeat its RM1.3 billion mixed development in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur will appeal to buyers.

The project, called Infinity, is in planning stage and will be launched by the end of next year.

It will comprise a four-star hotel, officer towers, serviced apartments and retail, sprawled on 6ha.

Maju Asset managing director, Adam Radlan Adam Muhammad (left) said the project will be attractive because of its concept, location and connectivity.

Radlan said in an interview with Business Times in Kuala Lumpur recently that the company is targeting domestic and foreign buyers to take up a pool of properties by en bloc, and sale of individual units.

"When we buy land, we make sure the area has good connectivity. We find that this is what buyers wants. As a developer, we have to look into that," he said.

"All our projects are devoted to creating developments of unrivalled quality in the country's most desirable locations, and adhering to the concepts of sustainability and community," he added.

Infinity, when completed in about three years, will have access to Sungai Besi Highway, Bukit Jalil Highway, Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya highway and Kuala Lumpur-Seremban expressway.

Radlan said Maju Assets will spend RM25 million to improve the access to these highways as well as build a flyover from the Seremban highway exiting Kuala Lumpur.

Maju Assets also has 6ha in Sg Besi earmarked for an industrial project. It will be launched by mid-2012.

Radlan said the company plans to build warehouses and medium-sized factories with modern facilities, targeting multinational companies and local small and medium enterprises.

"The southern part of Kuala Lumpur is booming. A lot of property developers such as YTL Group are heading there. So we are bullish on both the projects," Radlan said.

By Business Times

KSL Properties looks to Maxis for broadband

Property developer, KSL Properties Sdn Bhd, is partnering Maxis to provide integrated end-to-end high-speed broadband Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) solutions for its residential development.

Maxis senior vice-president (home services) Harold Quek said the partnership agreement would provide and commission telecommunications infrastructure for the provison of broadband services for KSL's residential development in Johor.

"Immediate beneficiaries of Maxis' services will be the residents of 602 units of D'Esplanade Residence at KSL City," he told reporters after the signing ceremony here today.

Upon completion of the D'Esplanade Residence next year, Quek said Maxis would be able to offer a full suite of exciting and interactive services for its residents.

Maxis also planned to expand the offer to other KSL's development in Johor such as in Kempas Indah in Kempas and Bestari Heights in Nusajaya, both located within the vicinity of Johor Baharu City, he said.

This strategic partnership, he said, provided an opportunity to Maxis to deepen relations with the customers in Johor Baharu.

"We are already providing them with our wireless services and now we are paving the way to provide contemporary data products and suite of contents enriching the lives of our customers," said Quek.

Maxis Home Services was launched in March and currently the service is available in selected locations in the Klang Valley.

Within Johor, the services are available in Taman Molek.

Meanwhile, KSL Properties chairman Ku Hwa Seng said the D'Esplanade, the KSL's most distinguished project, offered contemporary design and embraced technology to enhance residents' lifestyle.

By Bernama

EUPE Corp sees RM30m pre-tax profit from residential project

KUALA LUMPUR: EUPE CORPORATION BHD expects pre-tax profit of more than RM30 million from a residential property project with a gross development value (GDV) in excess of RM130 million.

EUPE said on Wednesday, April 27 its unit EUPE Kemajuan Sdn.Bhd was buying 17.15 acres of land in Petaling district for RM37.35 million from Desaminium Jaya Sdn Bhd.

“The land is purchased for the purpose of residential development targeting about 150 units of terrace and semi detached homes with a GDV in excess of RM130 million and profit before tax estimated above RM30.0 million.

“The development is targeted to start in the second half of 2011 and will be completed within 3 years. The details of the development and layout plans are in the midst of being prepared and will be submitted to the relevant authorities for approval in due course,” it said.

EUPE said the land was in the process of being surrendered and realienated as 99 years leasehold land with separate title to be issued for the Phase 1C which was being purchased. This formed a condition preceding for the completion of the sales and purchase agreement.

EUPE said the proposed acquisition was in line with the group's core business competencies and would be a significant step to ensure future sustainable growth for the group.

The directors of Desaminium Jaya are Tan Tiang Ee (managing director), Datuk Tan Tiang Kwong, Tan Nai Loon, Tan Taing Jok, Tan Tiang Kee, Tan Yuk Ching and Tan Siew Ling

By The EDGE Malaysia

Selangor Dredging buys RM31m plot

SELANGOR Dredging Bhd is buying a plot of land in Hulu Langat, Selangor from Webcon Sdn Bhd for RM31 million.

The land is currently charged to Affin Bank as security for a banking facility granted to Webcon, Selangor Dredging Berhad said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

Webcon has obtained a development order and building plan approval to develop the land into blocks of condominiums amounting to 540 units.

By Business Times

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SDB buys land for RM31m

SDB Properties Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Selangor Dredging Bhd (SDB), has acquired a piece of land measuring 36,339 square metres from Webcon Sdn Bhd for RM31 million.

The property, located in the centre of the Cheras South communities and surrounded by various public amenities, was easily accessible from various highways such as the Cheras-Kajang Expressway, SILK Highway and Sungai Besi Expressway as well as secondary roads, SDB said in a statement today.

It said SDB would develop residential units on the property with an estimated gross development value of RM300 million.

By Bernama

Monday, April 25, 2011

Marriott plans 2 more hotels in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Hotel management company Marriott International Inc, which operates the Marriott, Renaissance and Ritz Carlton, is scheduled to open two new hotels in Malaysia by the middle of next year, bringing the total number of hotels here to nine.

These two new openings, one in Johor and another in Sarawak, will see the group increase its room inventory in Malaysia by 400 from about 3,000 now.

Area vice-president for India, Malaysia, Maldives and Australia Rajeev Menon said that it will open a 300-room Renaissance in Bandar Baru Permas Jaya in the second quarter of next year.

The group also targets to open a 101-room Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa by mid-2012. This property, previously the Royal Mulu Resort, is located next to the Mulu National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is now undergoing a complete makeover.

The seven operational hotels in Malaysia now are Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Renaissance Kota Baru in Kelantan, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, Renaissance Melaka Hotel, Miri Marriott Resort & Spa and its franchised property, Putrajaya Marriott Hotel.

Meanwhile, chief operating officer for Asia Pacific Craig S Smith said Malaysia is an important market for the group, especially since intra-Asian travel is big.

As more of its hotels open in India, China and the Middle East, more guests are familiar with the brand. Thus, loyalty helps to fill up hotel rooms in other countries too.

He added that its hotels in Malaysia will benefit from the growth in India, China and the Middle East.

The group, which experienced a tough 2009 for its Malaysian hotels, saw revenue per available room grow by a tenth in 2010 compared to the previous year.

"This year has started strong, (our) Kuala Lumpur hotels are doing well but it is too early to say how the situation in the Middle East will reflect in Malaysia this year," Rajeev said.

"We expect similar growth or partially more growth in 2011 compared to 2010," he added.

By Business Times

A Bulgari hotel in Malaysia possible, says Marriott COO

MARRIOTT International Inc, which operates the luxurious Bulgari Hotels & Resorts brand, does not discount the possibility of hotel opening in Malaysia.

Currently, there are only two Bulgari hotels in the world; a city hotel in Milan, Italy, and a resort villa in Bali, Indonesia.

"There have been people asking about it (Bulgari) but there is nothing serious.

"There must be a business plan that can support a Bulgari as it is a very expensive hotel to build," chief operating officer (COO) for Asia Pacific Craig S Smith said, adding that it does not discount that Malaysia could probably carry such a brand. "Such a hotel would fit into a market that has a niche clientele and easy air access".

Location, Smith said, is paramount in considering the opening, and along with it, the specifications and partnership.

The Bulgari in Milan is a city hotel with 58 rooms, while the resort in Bali has some 59 villas. The next Bulgari will open in London in 2012.

The Bulgari Hotels & Resorts was introduced in 2001 and it is a joint venture between jeweller and luxury goods retailer Bulgari SPA and the Luxury Group - a division of Marriott International that also manages the The Ritz-Carlton hotels.

In Malaysia, there are currently six hotels managed by the Marriott group and one on franchise. On future openings, Smith said: "At any one point of time, we are discussing with a dozen (parties)."

Marriott, which is now predominantly city-based, is now keen to look at more resort hotels in places like Penang, Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu. Resorts destination derives higher rates.

The group, which has over 20 brands, also manages the Courtyard by Marriott, EDITION Hotels and Marriott Executive Apartments, elsewhere in Asia.

By Business Times

OCBC offers loan for London homes

OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd is offering its customers a new mortgage loan facility, to finance the purchase of residential properties in prime sections of central London, United Kingdom.

Head of consumer financial services OCBC Bank, Charles Sik said with the introduction of the new scheme, customers can now invest in London properties with peace of mind, knowing that their loan facility is fixed in the ringgit, mitigating forex risks.

"Our goal for financing products is to offer as many bespoke loans as possible to our customers. London property prices are certainly on an uptrend and we think it’s a really good time now to capitalise on this," he said in a statement today.

According to OCBC Bank currency economist Emmanuel Ng, foreign exchange rate fluctuations are key to determining the purchase of an overseas property and the ringgit is expected to remain supported against the British Pound Sterling (GBP)on a structural basis.

"The ringgit sits comfortably within the Asian growth sphere and is also underpinned by net positive foreign capital inflows into the region, as well as a favourable balance of payments environment," he said.

The OCBC Overseas Property Financing facility offers a margin of financing of up to 75 per cent and a loan tenure of up to 30 years or up to the time a person turns 65, whichever is earlier.

By Bernama

World's tallest building developer, Burj Khalifa's 1Q profits down 45%

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: The Dubai developer of the world's tallest building says its first-quarter profit dropped 45 percent as it handed over the keys to far fewer new homes than it did a year earlier.

Emaar Properties posted quarterly earnings of 421 million dirhams ($114.7 million) Sunday, down from 760 million ($207.1 million) in the same period a year earlier.

The company says it handed over about 270 housing units during the quarter, compared with more than 1,300 in the first quarter of last year.

Revenue slumped 31 percent to 1.98 billion dirhams ($539.5 million).

Emaar is the developer of the more than half-mile high Burj Khalifa. It also runs Dubai Mall, the biggest shopping center in the Middle East.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Carving a gem from rocks

An artist’s impression of The Mansions @ ParkCity Heights.

The success of Desa ParkCity is certainly a case of opportunity coming to the one who is best prepared and on the lookout for it.

When the 473 acres of ex-quarry land in the vicinity of Bandar Menjalara, Kuala Lumpur was up for sale about a decade ago, there were no takers as it was deemed too rocky for development.

At around that time, Miri-based Samling Group was looking to venture into property development in Peninsular Malaysia and when the land was offered to the group, it did not hesitate to sign up.

Going by what had been achieved in the past nine years since the tractors started to roll in, the developer had certainly done an enviable job with the land.

What was once a rocky and hilly terrain had been turned into a thriving township and a highly sought-after address, Desa ParkCity, by Samling's property development arm Perdana ParkCity Sdn Bhd.

Perdana ParkCity group chief executive officer Lee Liam Chye, a property valuer, could see the immense hidden value of this seemingly unattractive land.

“Its rocky nature with a large reserve of granite rocks would incur much work and capital outlay to get it ready for development. Despite this, we could see the tremendous value in the land and envisioned a planned community township for it,” Lee reveals to StarBizWeek.

Lee says it took about six years of hard toil and much sweat ”where almost every sen earned was ploughed back to build up the infrastructure and public amenities right up to the nitty gritty details of choosing the right shady trees to create the safe and walkable tree-lined neighbourhoods.”

A gold mine

So far, some RM300mil had been spent and according to Lee, the result shows that all the hard work and every sen expended has been worth it.

The development has proven to be a huge gold mine to the developer.

Since the project took off in 2002, 13 phases comprising 2,061 houses have been built and 485 units are under construction. Of this, 2,498 units have been sold and the total gross development value (GDV) for these phases is estimated at RM2.5bil.

It will take eight more years for the whole development to be completed. By then, the township would have 7,000 mixed residential units comprising park homes, courtyard terraces, semi-detached houses, bungalows and condominiums for a population of 35,000.

Next year, the company will be unveiling a 43-acre town centre with 3 million sq ft of net commercial space and 1,000 condominiums. The project will take six years.

By the time it is completed, Desa ParkCity will command a total GDV of RM8bil.

Desa ParkCity is today home to one of the most expensive residential properties in the Klang Valley and possibly the country. Its property has registered compounded capital appreciation of between 50% to 150% since 2002 or about 10% to 25% a year.

In its latest launch of the 147 Casaman terrace houses the 13th phase of Desa ParkCity it once again set new price benchmark.

The intermediate terrace units of 3,100 sq ft fetched RM1.75mil or RM563 per sq ft, while corner units with land area of 3,800 sq ft and built-up of 3,300 sq ft exchanged hands for RM3.3mil. They were sold out within four hours.

The buyers were among the 800 hopefuls who turned up last June 26 for a balloting for the limited units.

The huge price appreciation in Desa ParkCity's property has resulted in remarks that a property bubble is dawning in the Klang Valley.

Lee is miffed by such remarks but remains optimistic that the premium price at Desa ParkCity will be sustainable.

“Of late, there has been much chatter about Desa ParkCity's property prices. People seem to think they have escalated too rapidly, particularly over the last four years and have reached a level that is unsustainable.

“I believe Desa ParkCity's house prices are sustainable. Aside from the recent addition of the private hospital and international school, we will begin to construct the RM1.5bil town centre next year and expect the project will have ripple effects on the property value in the township,” he adds.

Lee says there is no substitute for Desa ParkCity and buyers are willing to pay for the good location, holistic community concept, safe and secure environment, good facilities and landscaping, and easy accessibility.

“Our homes are grouped into 23 distinctive residential neighbourhoods that foster a sense of identity and belonging. Each neighbourhood has its own distinctive identity through the architecture and landscaping elements.

“Being gated and guarded with top-notch security, its quiet streets and overall community-centric concept is further enhanced by its unique concept the 9 ft wide shaded pedestrian walkways connecting all the neighbourhood which promotes walkability and foster good community spirits.”

He says there is everything at the doorstep waterfront food and beverage outlets dishing out a variety of cuisines, supermarket, hospital, schools, colleges, clubhouse and sports centre.

Best for last

In his words, Lee is “saving the best for last” and on May 14, the Mansions @ ParkCity Heights will be unveiled. It comprises 127 regal parkhomes of 2, 3 and 3 storeys with built-up of 4,376 sq ft to 7,218 sq ft.

The residences will be priced from RM2.7mil to RM4.6mil, or at RM650 per sq ft.

The 2-storey type has 31-foot wide frontage. The frontage for the 3 and 3 storey units is 33 ft and they will also be fitted with individual lifts.

The huge success of Desa ParkCity has spurred the group to look for other development opportunities. It made a foray into Vietnam last year.

In a 60:40 joint venture between Perdana ParkCity Pte Ltd and VinaconexHoang Thanh JSC, ParkCity Hanoi is a 77ha self-contained township and master-planned community featuring 7,500 housing units, a neighbourhood mall, international school and clubhouse.

The RM7bil project will take 10 years.

Locally, Lee also does not discount the possibility of replicating its success in other parts of the country.

“The land we are looking for has to be at least 300 acres and in an upper middle class neighbourhood. We may also consider a joint venture with the land owner if the right parcel comes along,” he says.

By The Star

Residential property leads in Klang Valley

The residential property sub-sector continued to spearhead the Klang Valley's market last year, making up 77.7% of the total volume of transactions in Kuala Lumpur and 76.8% of Selangor's property market volume.

According to the National Property Information Centre's (Napic) Property Market Report 2010 released on Wednesday, there were 376,583 property transactions worth RM107.44bil recorded nationwide last year.

Of this, Kuala Lumpur recorded 27,370 property transactions worth RM20.03bil, an increase of 8.1% and 45.3% over the transacted volume and value in the capital city from 2009.

Except for a 8.6% contraction in the development land sub-sector, transaction of the other property sub-sectors generally improved.

Commercial property recorded a 22.7% growth, industrial property grew by 9.2% and residential by 5.2%.

In Kuala Lumpur, condominiums and apartments made up the largest portion of residential transactions with a 51% share of the total volume.

Houses within the price range of RM250,000 to RM500,000, RM500,000 to RM1mil, and above RM1mil registered double digit growth of 15.4%, 37.4% and 56.6% respectively.

Prices of residential property continued to strengthen and strong demand for properties in established upmarket neighbourhoods drove up prices of double-storey terrace houses in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar Baru and Desa Sri Hartamas by 4.7% to 14.1%.

Prices in these housing schemes breached the RM1mil mark while similar units in Damansara Heights and Taman Sri Hartamas stabilised at RM725,000 to RM800,000.

Condominium units in Mont'Kiara were still sought after as shown by a 3.1% increase in sales recorded and 11.1% increase in prices to RM355,000 for a Mont'Kiara Sophia unit to as high as RM2.73mil for a 10 Mont'Kiara residence.

Exceptions to this were units in Mont'Kiara Palma, Mont'Kiara Aman and Mont'Kiara Meridin which decreased by 2.9%, 2.7% and 3% respectively.

Rentals of residential property were generally stable with upward movements notably in the high-rise segment.

In the commercial sub-sector, shops which accounted for 1,130 units dominated with a 20.5% share.

A substantial number of transactions of commercial property, mainly of purpose-built office buildings, worth a total of RM1.45bil were recorded last year.

The retail sub-sector remained steady with an overall occupancy of 84.2%.

It registered one new entrant (21,697 sq m), one new start (77,484 sq m) and one new planned supply for 13,006 sq m during the year.

Kuala Lumpur's office sub-sector recorded an occupancy rate of 81.2%, a slight fall from 83.3% in 2009.

The leisure sub-sector saw three new hotel openings - Sentral Hotel, G Tower Hotel and YY 38 Hotel - offering a total of 394 rooms.

The overall occupancy rate for three- to five-star hotels was at 69.2% compared with 65.9% in 2009.

In Selangor, a total of 90,414 property transactions worth RM36.6bil were recorded, an increase of 10.4% in volume and 30.6% in value from 2009.

Several major deals worth RM429.18mil were concluded involving three shopping complexes, nine purpose-built office buildings, a private hospital and three estate land.

Prices of residential property in Selangor also saw major increases with single-storey terrace houses in Petaling Jaya transacted at RM190,000 to RM343,000.

Houses in Subang Jaya and Bandar Sri Damansara saw increases of 8.9% and 5.8% respectively, to between RM250,000 and RM300,000.

The self-contained neighbourhoods of Bandar Utama and Mutiara Damansara saw prices of their double-storey terrace houses appreciated by 4.6% to 9.8% to between RM618,000 and RM760,000 in Bandar Utama, and by 2.1% to RM1.24mil to RM1.26mil for houses with larger land area of 193 sq m in Mutiara Damansara.

Similar houses in other parts of Petaling Jaya such as SS2, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 recorded increases of 5.1% to 11.9% to between RM400,000 and RM680,000.

The primary residential market recorded launches of 10,002 units, higher than 8,430 units launched in 2009.

Last year, Selangor saw a drop in the number of overhang residential units to 3,180 units worth RM691.28mil compared with 3,770 units worth RM608.3mil in 2009. Condominiums/apartments formed the bulk with 1,468 overhang units.

The performance of the office sub-sector moderated with the average occupancy rate of purposebuilt office buildings dropping to 76.9% from 78% previously.

There were two new office buildings - Philomath Resource Centre Building with 6,359 sq m in Gombak and Empire Tower with 18,936 sq m in Subang Jaya.

The opening of Empire Suite in Subang Jaya added 217 hotel rooms to the hospitality market.

The overall occupancy rate for three to five-star hotels in the state improved to 60.3% after staying below the 60% mark for the past two years.

By The Star

Jump in Penang property prices

The most significant feature in Penang's property market last year was the marked increase in prices in some established housing areas on the island, with single storey and double-storey terraced houses breaching the RM580,000 and RM800,000 respectively.

Double-digit price and rental hikes were noted throughout the state in established housing areas, the Valuation and Property Services Department says in its Property Market Report 2010.

The situation in Penang is a general reflection of the mood of the overall market in the country, with Putrajaya recording a two-fold increase in the volume from 170 units in 2009 to 337 units last year. In ringgit terms, Putrajaya sales saw a three-fold increase from RM88mil to RM375mil. It should be noted that Putrajaya is beginning from a low base, being a relatively new area.

Klang Valley prices and volume of transactions were also robust last year. The only state which experienced a soft market was Labuan, while Malacca saw very marginal growth.

Going back to the situation in Penang, as with other states, the residential sub-sector dominated market activity, capturing 70.2% of the market share, followed by commercial sub-sector with a distant 11.9% share of the market. While agricultural and industrial sub-sectors enjoyed growth, it was the residential sector that saw major movements last year.

On the island, single storey terraced houses in Green Garden recorded an increase of 16.5%, ranging from RM455,000 to RM550,000. Similar houses in Jalan Van Praagh were transacted at a higher range of RM530,000 to RM580,000. Bandar Bayan Baru saw both its single and double-storey terraces charting gains of 16.1% and 20.2% to record RM275,000 to RM340,000 and RM403,500 to RM490,000 respectively.

According to the report, its proximity to Sunshine Square shopping complex, Suntech@Penang Cybercity office blocks and being adjacent to Penang International Sports Arena gave it the extra edge.

Other locations which had notable increases were in Taman Sri Nibong, Taman Sri Mewah and Taman Sunway Banyan. Houses in Taman Sunway Banyan went as high as RM750,000. Other popular areas were Island Glades and Island Park, recording sales between RM560,000 and RM800,000 for its residential units.

In Seberang Perai on the mainland, prices of landed residential units also recorded positive movements, particularly Taman Bertam Perdana (B), Bandar Putra Bertam. It should be noted that prices in Seberang Perai Utama are also gradually moving up.

While landed units recorded a general trend of double-digit growth, high rise residential units are not to be left out. Prices of upscale condominium by the beach increased by 3.6% to as high as 22.2% in Sri Pantai/Gurney Beach Resort Condominium.

In the rental market, growth was recorded in Green Garden and Taman Lip Sin, with rental rates seeing an increase of 12.5% and 11.1% respectively. In the high rise segment, rental growth also saw an uptrend. Two-bedroom flats in MaCallum Streets and three-bedroom flats in Mutiara Heights, and George Town city centre recorded 9.4% and 9.1% increases respectively. Prices of shops were stable with isolated increases noted in choice locations. Since the inscription of George Town as a World heritage Site by Unesco in 2008, the number and value of pre-war shops' transactions have increased. Institutional buyers have been actively buying up commercial lands in George Town.

Overall, Penang enjoyed a total of 25,986 transactions worth RM9.37bil last year, an increase of 14% in volume and 43.5% in value against 2009 (22,724 transcations worth RM6.53bil). It was one of several top performing states both in terms of value and transactions.

By The Star (by Thean Lee Cheng)

Attraction of average-size residential, shopping projects

The built environment in the Klang Valley, Penang and other parts of the country is poised for major changes going by the ambitious infrastructure and development projects that have been planned to boost the liveability and growth potential of our major cities.

Projects such as the mass rapid transit in the Klang Valley and the light rail transit and monorail projects in Penang will certainly herald many new changes in the property landscape.

These infrastructure projects will undoubtedly spawn opportunities for other types of development such as housing, office buildings, shopping malls, industrial parks and public facilities.

With all the big plans under way, there may be a tendency to pay too much attention on building mega buildings and structures, and neglect the basic, simple needs and necessities of the common folks.

Many Klang Valley folks consider it unnecessary to spend too much resources on gigantic structures and projects just to add to the city’s skyline.

In fact, the debate on whether there is a need to build the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower in the vicinity of Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, is still on.

Personally, I believe there are many worthwhile projects that can be pursued, such as cultural and art centres that should be planned based on traditional architecture and using local and indigenous designs and materials. They present opportunities to liven up our cities with more holistic activities and showcase the rich local culture and heritage to visitors.

So it makes sense to incorporate Malaysia’s multi-culture and multi-ethnic heritage into the new commercial projects in our major cities.

We must remember that foreign visitors and tourists to the country are here to savour and experience the living heritage of the people in our cities, towns and villages, instead of gazing at the skyscrapers and concrete jungle which they can find in their own countries. In many ways, what they hope to experience is the simple, yet rich and original way of life of the local people.

Likewise, new residential projects should also look into the basic needs of potential buyers and should be functional instead of over-emphasising the aesthetics. There is a growing number of people who want to live in the city centre but find the prices of the property way beyond their reach.

There should be more effort to build smaller “starter” units in the urban conurbations in order to attract and retain young talent and workforce in cities, particularly Kuala Lumpur.

A review of planning laws and incentives should be considered to encourage developers to build more such entry-level properties for first-time homeowners.

These developments can be integrated with some nice lifestyle food and beverage outlets and retail centres.

Since a number of condominium projects have yet to be fully sold or occupied, perhaps the developers can look at redesigning the layout plans and turn some of the overly spacious units to smaller homes.

Developers of such starter homes have reported brisk sales and there is still a long waiting list for these smaller residences.

In fact, there is also tremendous opportunity to further liven up the Klang Valley’s retail landscape with more average size lifestyle outlets and centres.

The plan to link major retail destinations in Kuala Lumpur’s main shopping hub will help promote the city as a favourite shopping destination.

Walking around shopping malls that are well spaced out, safe and not overcrowded has proven to be therapeutic and relaxing.

It is not only the fairer gender who are taking to shopping as a favourite past-time but their male counterparts have also caught up with this habit. Whether it is to look for something to buy or just taking a stroll, shopping complexes have become favourite haunts for many Klang Valley folks.

The scorching sun has made walking a chore these days and setting up shaded pedestrian walkways in major shopping streets will do well to promote the city’s shopping potential.

Deputy news editor Angie Ng knows that in many ways, simplicity and originality is highly desirable as far as living environment is concerned.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

YTL Corp bullish on growth prospects

SINGAPORE: YTL Corp Bhd sees good growth for the company despite the challenging global economic environment.

"We have just announced profits this year," said YTL Singapore Pte Ltd executive director, Ruth Yeoh Pei Cheen

"It will continue to perform good business," she told Bernama in an interview here recently.

YTL Corp Bhd recently announced a 13.3 per cent growth in revenue to RM8.905 billion for the six months ended Dec 31, 2010 compared with RM7.857 billion in the previous corresponding period ended Dec 31, 2009.

The group’s utilities comprise power generation and transmission in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia, water and sewerage services in the United Kingdom, merchant multi-utility businesses in Singapore and communications in Malaysia.

Yeoh said the company also took to ensuring that all its businesses strived to preserve the environment. The companies have to send the sustainability report every year, she added.

When asked on new projects, the Director of International Real Estate of YTL Singapore, Kemmy Tan said the group was looking to develop its projects in Malaysia.

"We also bought the 460-hectare Niseko Village in Hokaido last year."

YTL Group Managing Director Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh Sock Ping had announced YTL's master plan to re-energise the development of Niseko Village in Hokaido.

Targeting affluent individuals, Niseko Village will be transformed into an all-season mountain resort offering exclusive hotels, luxury homes, ski-in ski-out estates and exclusive shopping and dining, all with spectacular views of Mount Yotei (Ezo Fuji, the Mount Fuji of northern Japan).

Tan said the project is being managed by Singapore office.

In time to come, Tan said two projects in Singapore namely Sentosa Cove and the land in Orchard Boulevard will be streamlined into YTL Land.

The Japanese assets were acquired for about US$66 million while the Singapore project cost S$575 million, she disclosed.

The project in Singapore is in the planning stage and the launch could be probably next year.

By Bernama

Bid to block sale of Putra Place to SunREIT

Two individuals, Robert Ti and Indonesian Kornelis Kurniadi, are trying to block the sale of Putra Place to Sunway Real Estate Investment Trusts (SunREIT).

They are taking legal action against OSK Trustees Bhd and SunREIT. Ti and Kurniadi have also named Commerce International Merchant Bankers Bhd and Deputy Registrar.

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction to restrain OSK and SunREIT from completing the sale.

On March 31, OSK Trustees, on behalf of SunREIT, was announced the winning bidder for Putra Place at RM513.95 million.

SunREIT told Bursa Malaysia that it completed the purchase of the property on April 19 and the title has passed to OSK Trustees and the balance purchase price has also been settled.

The matter is expected to be heard next week.

By Business Times

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2010 a record year for Malaysia property mart

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian property market hit a record year in 2010 with RM107.44 billion worth of properties transacted and the trend will continue this year.

"There will be an increase this year, but marginally," said National Property Information Centre (NAPIC) director-general Datuk Abdullah Thalith Md Thani.

The property market enjoyed double-digit growth in 2010, with transactions and value expanding 11.4 per cent and 32.4 per cent to 376,583 and RM107.44 billion respectively.

Residential property dominated the overall market, taking 60.2 per cent of total volume and 47.1 of the value of transactions.

Abdullah Thalith said NAPIC expects the property market this year to benefit from the various economic initiatives undertaken by the government.

Projects such as the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District, mass rapid transit in Greater Kuala Lumpur, Warisan Merdeka, the development of federal land in Sungai Buloh and the redevelopment of Pudu prison, which are expected to be implemented this year, will have positive spillover effects, he said.

Abdullah Thalith said the unrest in the Middle East and Japan, which was hit by tsunami, will not dampen growth as he expects the Arabs and Japanese to continue buying here.

He was speaking at the launch of the Property Market Report 2010 by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai here yesterday.

The report showed that in terms of pricing, the Malaysian All House Price Index surged by 8.9 points to 140.7 points.

Lim said Malaysians should not worry about a property bubble as the situation is under control. He urged all states to speed up the process of approving property transactions, especially for leasehold units.

"A lot of states, especially Selangor, are slow in doing this. We have a lot of foreigners buying leasehold properties here. We must address the issue as the foreigners are bringing in money. This will lift the economy," he said.

By Business Times

Inflation and demand to lift property prices 10%-20% this year

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian property prices are expected to increase at an average of between 10% and 20% this year, in light of rising inflation and increase in demand for local properties from foreigners, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai.

“Inflation in 2010 stood at 2.2% and was at 2.4% in the first two months of this year. We expect it to be higher this year due to escalating food and oil prices,” he said after the launch of the National Property Information Centre's (Napic) property market report 2010 yesterday.

Lim also said many foreigners were looking to purchase property here because the prices of properties were cheaper than in neighbouring countries such as Singapore.

“And Malaysia, because of the ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) has attracted a number of investments from overseas. Investments last year were four times higher than 2009.

“We also expect more foreign companies to set up base here. Our Islamic banking is No. 1 in the world (so) all this will attract foreigners to come into Malaysia,” Lim said, adding that this would also contribute towards pushing up prices of properties in Malaysia.

He said rising oil prices would also cause prices to escalate.

“There's a lot of uncertainty in the Middle East. It's beyond our control and that (rising oil prices) will affect the other things,” he said adding that property prices in Malaysia were currently at a “manageable position.”

According to Napic's statistics, the Malaysian property market recorded 376,583 transactions in 2010 worth RM107.44bil.

Both the volume and value of transactions registered double-digit growth of 11.4% and 32.6% respectively from 338,089 transactions worth RM81.02bil in 2009.

Napic valuation director-general Datuk Abdullah Thalith Md Thani said 2010's (RM107.44bil) value was a new high for the Malaysian property market.

“In 2008 and 2009, we (Malaysian property market) suffered a bit. The volume of property transactions will go up (this year) but the margin will not be as high as last year.

“We had a good year last year because we rebounded from the sub-prime experience,” he said.

Abdullah added that Malaysia's fundamentals were still good, despite the uncertainties.

“People are worried about oil prices now but bear in mind, we are oil producers too. I will not say that property (by volume and value) will be better than 2010. There will be an increase. The question is the rate of increase.”

Napic expects the property market to remain promising in 2011, supported by various measures proposed under the Tenth Malaysia Plan and Budget 2011.

It said projects such as the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District, Mass Rapid Transit in Greater KL, the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka, the development of the Malaysian Rubber Board land in Sungai Buloh and the redevelopment of Pudu prison were expected to have positive spill-over effects.

Napic also said the Government's Skim Rumah Pertamaku to assist young adults to own homes below RM220,000, together with other incentives such as stamp duty exemption of 50% on instruments of transfer on a house not exceeding RM350,000 for first time buyers, would increase transaction volumes of homes in this price range.

“With the cessation of the Foreign Investment Committee's approval for the acquisition of properties by foreigners which took effect in June 2009, property investment in Malaysia will be more attractive to foreigners,” said Napic in a statement.

“Given that foreigners are only allowed to purchase commercial and residential properties priced above RM500,000, it is anticipated that more activities will be recorded in the high-end housing units in sought-after neighbourhoods,” it said.

By The Star

Tradewinds project to change KL skyline

A New "multi-billion ringgit" development on a plot of land where the Crowne Plaza and Kompleks Antarabangsa now sit is expected to be completed in 2016, according to an architect's website.

According to the GDP Architects' website, the project - dubbed the "Tradewinds Centre"- will involve a total gross area of 3.17 million sq m and on a plot ratio of 10.55.

The web page and the artist's impression were, however, removed from the website late yesterday evening.

"The Tradewinds Centre explicitly seeks to establish itself in the international arena of great financial developments. The Tradewinds project offers Kuala Lumpur many exciting features that will enhance and expand the city's growing modern qualities, similar to Rockefeller Center for New York or Roppongi Hills for Tokyo," the website said.

The development, to be carried out by Tradewinds Corp Bhd, will encompass four towers and be built on a 2.79ha plot along Jalan Sultan Ismail.

These towers will each have 60 storeys, 55 storeys, 14 storeys and eight storeys. They will house offices, serviced apartments, retail and a medical centre.

GDP added that the development will be vibrant and active at all times through its complex programme mix.

"Its signature profile will greatly contribute to the overall composition of the city skyline. Its large scale and memorable public plaza unites neighbourhoods in the urban fabric, creating a system of pedestrian friendly movement that is integrated with the public transportation system," GDP added.

The architecture of the buildings establishes connections with traditions of Kuala Lumpur's rich history by linking Islamic pattern making to its modern exterior design.

Its sustainable strategy will make the building a leader in environmental design, it said. The entire centre will have a total of 2,888 carparks.

However, it is understood that some changes may be made to the plan.

By Business Times

Residential property led market last year

PETALING JAYA: The residential property sub-sector dominated the overall property market in 2010, capturing 60.2% of total volume and 47.1% of the value of transactions, according to the National Property Information Centre’s (Napic) property market report 2010.

The year saw 226,874 residential property transactions worth RM50.65bil, with volume and value recording 7.2% and 21% increases respectively compared with 2009.

In terms of pricing, the Malaysian All House Price Index surged by 8.9 points to 140.7 points against 131.8 points registered in 2009.

“Correspondingly, the price of the ‘average house’ moved to RM199,636 from RM184,574 in the fourth quarter of 2009,” said Napic.

Kuala Lumpur had the highest price level in the country at RM430,163. Selangor and Sarawak followed with RM301,443 and RM253.391 respectively.

Affordable houses below RM150,000 remained in demand, evident from the 57.1% representation of total residential transactions, said Napic, adding that houses within the price range of RM100,000 to RM150,000 formed the largest portion, accounting for 17.3% (39,360 transactions) of the total.

Units priced between RM250,000 and RM500,000 were the second most active price bracket, accounting for 14.9% (33,739 transactions).

For high-end housing units priced above RM500,000, there were 16,782 transactions from 12,122 transactions in 2009. Selangor accounted for 7,726 transactions, followed by Kuala Lumpur with 4,996 transactions.

Terraced units formed 56.1% (26,774 units) of newly launched houses, comprising 12,429 single-storey terraces and 14,345 units of two- to three-storey terraces. Condominium and apartment units made up 14.2% (6,793 units) of total launches.

Residential overhang increased marginally to 23,133 units in 2010 from 22,592 units a year earlier. Value rose to RM4.21bil from RM3.68bil previously, partly attributed to the increased number of launches in 2010.

By price range, most of the overhang units were priced below RM150,000.

Construction activity in the residential sub-sector showed cautious behaviour from developers. The review period witnessed 95,938 completions compared with 103,335 units registered in 2009.

Housing units that began construction decreased marginally by 2.9% to 84,210 (from 86,743 units in 2009). New planned supply reduced by 5% to 76,306 units from 80,283 units in 2009.

Shop sub-sector

This sub-sector remained the most dominant contributor to commercial property activities, accounting for 62.1% of total volume. The review period recorded 24,731 shop transactions worth RM12.32bil, said Napic.

The volume and value of transactions increased by 11.9% and 31% respectively compared with 2009 (22,107 transactions worth RM9.41bil).

As at year-end, overhangs increased to 5,550 units (2009: 5,265 units) but lower value (RM1.67bil in 2010 compared with RM1.82bil in 2009).

“The unsold under construction and not constructed units increased to 4,803 and 1,224 units respectively from 4,685 and 1,072 units respectively in 2009.

On the supply front, construction activity in the shop-sub sector recorded mixed performance.

“There were 7,721 units that completed construction under the review period and this accounted for a 14.4% decrease (2009: 9,025 units).

“On a positive note, starts and new planned supply registered 39.7% and 11.5% increases to 7,823 and 7,924 units respectively,” said Napic.

Shopping complex sub-sector

The retail market continued to record substantial amount of take-up at 268,027 sq m (2009: 269,504 sq m).

With the exception of Kedah (-11,545 sq m) and Pahang (-11,349 sq m), all other states registered positive take up.

Malacca had the highest take-up space of 92,880 sq m, followed by Selangor and Johor with 48,916 sq m and 34, 977 sq m respectively.

The national occupancy rate reduced marginally to 80.2% in 2010 from 81.5% a year earlier. As at year-end 2010, the country had nearly 2.09 million sq m of space available for occupation.

The future supply was ample with 94 complexes (1.73 million sq m) in the incoming supply and another 65 complexes (1.65 million sq m) in the planned supply.

By The Star

Occupancy of purpose-built office sub-sector moderates

PETALING JAYA: Occupancy rate for purpose-built office sub-sector moderated to record 84.1% during the year compared with 85.2% in 2009.

The take-up space was lower at 180,556 sq m (2009: 519,244 sq m).

Kuala Lumpur led with the highest take-up of 68,996 sq m, followed by Malacca (46,121 sq m) and Perak (37,156 sq m), according to the National Property Information Centre’s (Napic) property market report 2010.

Four states recorded negative take-up, including Selangor (minus 5,025 sq m).

On the supply front, the market showed mixed performance. Completions dropped to 431,450 sq m (2009: 568,244 sq m) but starts increased substantially by more than four-fold to 603,355 sq m (2009: 142,992 sq m).

New planned supply contracted to 201,423 sq m (2009: 328,185 sq m). As at year-end, the total existing supply of office space in the country stood at 16.56 million sq m offered by 2,227 buildings.

The industrial property sub-sector was the least active, contributing 2.6% to the overall market activity. There were 9,838 transactions worth RM9.83bil in 2010, with volume increasing 22.1% from 8,059 transactions in 2009.

Terraced factory/warehouse was the most favoured property type with 3,359 transactions worth RM1.19bil. The figure contributed 34.1% to the market volume. Vacant plots followed suit by forming another 32% (3,148 transactions).

By price range, industrial units priced between RM250,000 and RM500,000 remained the most sought after, as indicated by its 26.6% share (2,616 transactions) of total industrial transactions, said Napic.

Selangor remained the nation’s largest contributor with 3,124 transactions, followed by Johor with 1,518 transactions.

On the construction front, there were lower completions (595 units) and starts (683 units) from 1,092 and 703 units respectively in 2009.

However, new planned supply recorded increased activity with 872 units (2009: 562 units).

Semi-detached units dominated with 50.4% (300 units) of completions and 49.4% (315 units) of starts, while terrace units dominated with 43.1% (376 units) of the new planned supply.

The country had 93,139 existing industrial units with another 7,654 units incoming supply and 22,289 units in planned supply.

The agricultural property sub-sector was the second-most prominent sub-sector, registering 21.5% (81,030 transactions worth RM11.38bil) of total volume of transactions.

The volume increased by 16.8% in 2010 while the value recorded a higher growth of 36.4% from a year earlier. Perak led the agricultural sub-sector, accounting for 17.6% (14,256 transactions) of the country’s total volume of transactions.

Johor and Sarawak followed with 16% (12,962 transactions) and 15.2% (12,329 transactions) respectively.

By type, vacant agricultural land remained the most actively transacted with a 42.8% (34,682 transactions) of market share.

Oil palm land followed at 16.7% (13,528 transactions), rubber land 14.5% (11,765 transactions) and paddy land 11.4% (9,266 transactions).

The leisure property sub-sector showed a lacklustre performance despite increased tourist arrivals. For the year, 24.6 million tourist arrivals were recorded which noted a 4.2% growth against 2009 (23.6 million).

However, average occupancy of three to five-star hotels declined to 53.1% compared with 55.6% recorded in 2009.

During the year, six new hotels were completed to offer another 1,028 rooms to the market (2009: 19 hotels; 2,534 rooms).

By The Star

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Malaysia home prices higher by 8.2pc

Average Malaysian home prices were 8.2 per cent higher from a year earlier in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a report by the country’s Finance Ministry today.

Prices averaged RM199,636 in the three months ended December 2010, compared with RM184,574 during the same period in 2009.

By Bloomberg

Mah Sing Group wins Four Prestigious Asia Pacific Property Awards

The Asia Pacific Property Awards 2011 in association with Bloomberg Television have just been judged and Mah Sing Group has been informed that it is amongst the winning companies.

Successful entrants have been invited to attend a high profile gala presentation dinner at the Longemont Hotel Shanghai on May 31. Mah Sing Group will then discover whether the company has won a five-star or highly commended award in the categories of Best Mixed-Use Development for its Southbay City in Penang project, Best Industrial Development for its i-Parc3 at Bukit Jelutong project, Best Retail Development for its Star Avenue at Damansara project and Best Website.

Group managing director Tan Sri Datuk Sri Leong Hoy Kum, and group chief executive said of the awards, “We are very pleased that our projects have been shortlisted to be among the best in Asia Pacific. Last year our residential projects won three awards, and this year, our commercial and industrial projects have been recognised for their outstanding concepts and design. Being one of Malaysia’s most diversified property developer, this recognition is a strong testament to the high quality that we place on each of our project. We also place high emphasis on communicating with our stakeholders though various channels, and thus we are very pleased that our website has been recognised to be among the crème of the crème in the Asia Pacific region. ”

The event is part of the long established International Property Awards and its award winners’ logo is recognised as a symbol of excellence throughout the global industry. Attaining one of these coveted awards is indisputable evidence that Mah Sing Group is capable of beating some exceedingly strong contenders within the highly competitive Asia Pacific property arena.

Later this year, the highest scoring winners from the Asia Pacific Property Awards will compete against other winning companies from Europe, Africa, the Americas and Arabia to find the ultimate World’s Best in each category. The Asia Pacific region has an enviable record of achievement at international level, having scooped seven World’s Best awards in the finals of both 2009 and 2010. No doubt the property industry will be watching and waiting to see if this record number of international wins can be matched or even beaten in 2011.

The judging panel is chaired by Lord Bates of Langbaurgh and consists of more than 60 professionals whose collective knowledge of the property industry is unsurpassed by any other property awards. This year’s judges include UK account manager of Google James Bacon; group chief executive of the National Federation of Property professionals Peter Bolton King; the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) David Dalby; and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Mike McNamara.

By The Star

GuocoLand Malaysia launches final release of 66 bungalow lots in Emerald

A dream bungalow, built and designed to the desired needs, is no longer wishful thinking for discerning home buyers. Enter GuocoLand Malaysia’s latest offering of bungalow lots nestled in the choicest location of the Emerald enclave in Rawang.

The Peridot Hilltop Residence, surrounded by lush landscaping and perched up to 250 ft above sea level, offers 66 bungalow lots of various sizes with security features, ranging between 5,200sq ft and 10,700sq ft, and priced from about RM350,000 to RM910,000.

The launch of the low-density Peridot Hilltop Residence comes on the back of the recent successful launch of the Amberley semi-detached parkhomes and Coral double-storey terrace homes.

Emerald, developed by GuocoLand (Malaysia) Bhd, has emerged as one of most sought-after townships in Rawang. A new Chinese school and a new AEON shopping mall, due for completion by the year-end, are expected to add more value to the thriving township.

GuocoLand Malaysia managing director Yeow Wai Siaw said the Peridot Hilltop Residence offers an attractive long term investment with promising growth potential and wealth creation opportunities given the scarcity of freehold bungalow lots in the Klang Valley.

“It is our final release of bungalow lots (in Peridot) and the timing could not be better to own an exclusive piece of prime freehold land. We are offering appropriate land sizes of up to 10,700sq ft for our buyers to build two or three-storey luxury bungalows and enjoy maximum privacy,” he added.

Yeow also said the Chinese school together with the shopping centre, the upgrading of infrastructure facilities – the flyover at Jalan Rawang and Jalan Batu Arang, and expansion of Jalan Batu Arang – would reinforce the appeal of the Emerald enclave.

GuocoLand Malaysia, the property arm of the Hong Leong Group, will launch the Peridot Hilltop Residence, priced from RM65 to RM85 per sq ft, at the Emerald Sales Gallery on Saturday (April 23). There will be an early bird discount of 10 per cent for bookings made before April 30, 2011.

Apart from excellent infrastructure, Emerald enjoys good accessibility to Kuala Lumpur and surrounding areas via the North-South Highway, New Klang Valley Expressway and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.

Emerald is located within easy reach from Rawang and its commercial hub, a 20-minute drive from the Jalan Duta toll. As an established town, Rawang has all the essential amenities including banks, post-office, restaurants, hypermarkets, a fresh produce market and a KTM Komuter station.

By The Star

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Township and niche projects for UMLand

Pee Tong Lim (left) exchanging documents with Ng Boon Yew. Looking on are Johor state investment centre general manager Mohamed Basir Mohamed Sali (second from left) and Singapore consulate-general in Johor Baru Lim Hong Huai.

PASIR GUDANG: United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) plans to focus on townships and the niche property development in view of the market demand for such properties.

Chief executive officer Pee Tong Lim said the two segments of properties had their own clienteles and the company would customised the developments to cater to their needs.

He said new growth areas would require integrated township developments offering affordable houses while the affluent would go for niche properties.

“The company sees good prospects in both segments and will continue to explore the opportunities available,’’ Pee told a press conference after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between UMLand’s wholly-owned subsidiary Seri Alam Properties Sdn Bhd and Raffles Campus Pte Ltd (RCPL) which was represented by its chairman and chief executive officer Ng Boon Yew yesterday.

Pee said the company was currently developing three integrated township projects – Bandar Seri Alam and Taman Seri Austin in Johor and Bandar Seri Putra in Bangi, Selangor.

It had completed three high-end residential serviced apartments and condominiums namely Seri Bukit Ceylon at Jalan Bukit Ceylon, Suasana Sentral Loft at KL Sentral and Suasana Bangsar.

“We will be launching our niche project in the Johor Baru along Jalan Wong Ah Fook this year,’’ he said.

The project sited on two parcels of land next to Wisma Lembaga Kependudukan Malaysia building would consist of a hotel tower and a serviced apartment block.

Separately, Pee said an integrated transportation hub would be built at Bandar Seri Alam township here to be linked with the proposed 100km intra-city commuter for Iskandar Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Ng said RCPL would invest RM35mil to build Raffles International School on a 6.07ha site in Bandar Seri Alam township and it would be the company’s first international school project in Malaysia.

He said the first intake of students from kindergarten to high school would be done in the third-quarter of 2013.

By The Star

UEM Land is strong FBM KLCI candidate

UEM Land is a strong candidate for inclusion as an index component of the FBM KLCI being the largest property stock on Bursa Malaysia by market capitalisation and landbank size now, OSK Research says.

It said that despite the company's rather premium valuation against its peers, the stock's potential inclusion into the barometer and positive news flow from Iskandar region would give the boost for an upward rerating.

The acquisition of Sunrise which was completed in February, boosted UEM Land's market capitalisation to about RM11 billion.

"Once included as one of the index components, it will be the only pure property stock in the index.

"It will raise the company''s profile and visibility, and subsequently justify its premium valuation given that the FBM KLCI top 30 stocks are typically used as a benchmark portfolio," OSK said in its Malaysia Equity Investment Research Daily today.

UEM Land is the flagship company for the real estate investment and development businesses of UEM Group, which is a wholly-owned by Khazanah Nasional, the government's investment holding company.

OSK said UEM Land was a good proxy to the government's strategy to propel the domestic economy towards high income status, particularly under the Economic Transformation Programme.

Due to its size and the growth prospects, the company's liquidity was the highest among the listed property stocks as foreign and local institutional interest on the stock had picked up, it added.

By Bernama