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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Residential property boom in Johor Baru

Johor Baru: The prices of residential properties have risen by an average of 40 per cent since 2006, in a city which used to suffer from an overhang of properties.

For example, Casa Almyra, a project by Danga Sdn Bhd, has seen prices go up to RM800,000 from RM450,000 in 2006.

KGV-Lambert Smith Hampton (Johor) Sdn Bhd executive director Samuel Tan said while transaction volume has not been very exciting, value of transactions have grown by leaps and bounds in the Iskandar region.

He said property owners and buyers can expect property prices in Johor Baru to rise by a further 10-20 per cent by end of 2011, on increased costs alone.

The price of commercial land in areas like Jalan Datuk Abdullah Tahir, Danga Bay and Tebrau area have also more than doubled since 2006.

More than half of these buyers are now locals.

"People are land-banking in Johor Baru because they see something in Iskandar Malaysia," Tan said.

Property developers seem to be subscribing to this theory, considering the influx of property developers to Johor Baru.

Established players like SP Setia Bhd have no less than four simultaneous projects in Iskandar, while Bandar Raya Developments Bhd and IOI Properties have also launched major developments.

Some RM28.26 billion property development projects have been approved since 2006.

"If we used to count the number of property developers who are here, now its easier to count those who are not here," Danga Bay Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Lim Kang Hoo said, adding that the heightened interest has helped revive some 90 per cent of stalled commercial and residential projects in Johor Baru.

Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the spurt in economic activity is a boon for the man in the street, as evidenced by higher wages, improved business opportunities and better living standards.

By Business Times

'Wellness City' likely to miss launch deadline

JOHOR BARU: Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Temasek Holdings's joint venture "Wellness City" development in Johor Baru is likely to miss its May launch deadline, as bilateral discussions continue between Singapore and Malaysia.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the joint venture has been included in Points Of Agreement (POA)++ discussions between the two countries, which are only expected to be concluded by the end of the year.

"Its' been referred to as a "Wellness City", what constitutes as "Wellness", that has to be sorted out by the two joint venture partners.... but at least to some extent there has been some commitment. The site has been agreed upon.., it's somewhere where we are now," he told reporters at Danga Bay Sdn Bhd's sales office in Johor Baru last Saturday.

Danga Bay Sdn Bhd was awarded a privatisation by the Johor State Government in early 2000 to develop 720ha of waterfront land along Johor Baru's Lido Beach.

In a joint statement on the "Wellness City" project issued in May 2010, both countries' leaders had said they looked forward to a launch by May 2011.

The POA++ includes talks on an Rapid Transit System (RTS) to improve accessibility between Singapore and Johor Baru.

"The issue is where to connect (between Singapore and Johor Baru) and what kind of RTS we are talking about. Now its just a general term, RTS," Abdul Ghani said.

Some 60,000 to 70,000 motorcyclists cross the causeway to Singapore on a daily basis.

"JB Sentral hasn't got the space for it where as Kempas has about 80ha of land. The chances are we will link the RTS to Kempas Baru Railway station," Abdul Ghani said.

By Business Times

UK April house price fall biggest in 18 months

LONDON: House prices in England and Wales fell in April at their fastest annual pace in 18 months and are likely to slip further this year on fears about the economic outlook, Hometrack said yesterday.

The property data firm's monthly survey showed prices were 3.3% down in April compared with a year ago, the biggest decline since October 2009, when Britain was emerging from recession.

Stronger demand left prices unchanged on the month, ending a nine-month run of falls.

However, Hometrack said the pick-up in demand was likely to fade during the rest of the year as public spending cuts, tax rises and waning consumer confidence take their toll.

“The second half of 2011 is likely to emerge as a new phase where rising supply will constrain any further improvement in pricing levels,” said Hometrack research director Richard Donnell. “Weaker consumer confidence could result in a slowdown in demand which would exacerbate the pressure on prices.”

The proportion of the asking price that sellers received in April fell to 92.6% from 92.7%, in what could be an early sign of buyers' increasing power, he added.

The number of new properties listed for sale rose in April by 5.5%, compared with 5.2% in March.

New buyers registered with estate agents rose by 2.8% in April, down from March's 4.2% increase.

London continued to buck the national trend, with a 0.3% month-on-month price rise in April. Reuters

Prices fell in every other region, led by the northeast's 0.4% decline.

The British Bankers' Association said last week that UK mortgage approvals fell by 10% in March compared with a year earlier.

By Reuters