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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

MRCB unit gets KL land for 3 projects in Brickfields

PETALING JAYA: Country Annexe Sdn Bhd (CASB), a 70% subsidiary of Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), will be given land in Kuala Lumpur with a potential RM1bil gross development value, in consideration for undertaking three projects in the city's Brickfields area.

In a Bursa Malaysia filing yesterday, MRCB said CASB had entered into a privatisation agreement with the Government and Syarikat Tanah dan Harta Sdn Bhd for the construction of three projects in Kuala Lumpur.

The projects consist of Little India (upgrading and beautification of Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields), Pines Bazaar (a three-storey building consisting of office space, 28 units of stalls and 140 car park bays) and Ang Seng Development (212 units of new government Class F quarters near Jalan Ang Seng to replace the quarters at Jalan Rozario).

DMIA Sdn Bhd owns the remaining 30% stake in CASB, which was set up as a special purpose vehicle to develop the projects in return for two pieces of land at the intersection of Lorong Chan Ah Tong and Jalan Tun Sambanthan.

The land is 214,630 sq ft in total, and is valued at RM601 per sq ft or RM129mil in total.

MRCB said a proposed mixed property development on the two pieces of land represents a good investment opportunity to further strengthen the future income of the group.

To recap, in June last year, the RM36.6mil Little India project was jointly awarded to MRCB and DMIA by the Government on a design, build, finance and transfer basis. It was completed last October.

To support the Government's initiatives for Greater Kuala Lumpur, the project was later expanded to include Pines Bazaar and Ang Seng Development.

By The Star

MRCB inks pact for construction work in exchange for land

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) has signed a privatisation deal with the government and Syarikat Tanah dan Harta Sdn Bhd to carry out government construction work in return for land.

Its 70 per cent-unit Country Annexe Sdn Bhd (CASB) will carry out three construction projects valued at RM128.7 million, MRCB said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia.

The projects are Little India upgrading works in Brickfields, the construction of Pines Bazaar, a three-storey building consisting of office space and 28 units of stalls and Ang Seng Development which involves the construction of 212 units of new government Class F quarters to replace the government quarters at Jalan Rozario, Kuala Lumpur.

In return, CASB will receive two pieces of land at the intersection of Lorong Chan Ah Tong and Jalan Tun Sambanthan, measuring 14,297 square metres and 5,642.71 sq m.

The land is valued at some RM601 per square feet. CASB will have the opportunity to develop the exchange land into a mixed property development.

The estimated gross development value of the mixed property development on that land is some RM1 billion.

CASB is a 70:30 special purpose vehicle between MRCB and DMIA Sdn Bhd to construct the projects. DMIA is principally engaged in construction and property development activities.

It did not say who the owners of DMIA or Syarikat Tanah were.

By Business Times

Strong demand drives up HDB flat prices

SINGAPORE: Housing Development Board (HDB) flat prices in the second quarter rose at their fastest pace since the third quarter of last year.

According to preliminary estimates, the Housing Board resale price index in the second quarter rose 2.9% to a fresh record from the previous quarter.

Resale flat prices in the first three months of the year rose 1.6% in comparison. Prices of private homes, on the other hand, increased at a slower pace in the second quarter.

The 1.9% gain in the private residential property price index is the seventh consecutive quarter in which the rate of increase has fallen. The data is mostly based on transaction prices in caveats lodged during the first 10 weeks of the quarter.

Taken together, the emerging picture is that of home buyers flocking to buy HDB flats and shunning pricier private homes.

A recent report by Goldman Sachs showed that the price gap between mass market private homes and HDB flats has widened to a record making it harder than ever for aspiring HDB upgraders to buy a private home.

Analysts noted that HDB flats remained affordable despite public housing prices showing a sharper rise compared with private housing.

“This is because private property prices, in particular mass market condo prices, have increased beyond the reach of many HDB dwellers who had intended to upgrade,” said ERA Realty key executive Eugene Lim.

Four rounds of cooling measures since September 2009 including lowering the loan quantum to 60% for borrowers with more than one outstanding housing loan and uncertainties in the global economy have done much to keep a lid on price increases for private homes.

But it is a different story for HDB flats.

First timers, HDB upgraders, private property owners who downgraded to public housing and permanent residents have stoked demand for HDB flats.

Although HDB has rolled out new build-to-order flats in record numbers about 25,000 new flats will be offered for sale this year the fresh supply will take time to filter down to the market.

By The Straits Times

S’pore halts DBSS land sales, reviews scheme

SINGAPORE: The sale of land for Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) projects has been put on hold while the government carries out a review, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

But developers that clinched sites last year would launch their projects as scheduled in the next few months, he added, noting that “these are old tenders beyond my control”.

Khaw made these points on his official Facebook page over the weekend in response to a member of the public who called for the scheme to be scrapped in the wake of high asking prices at a Tampines project called Centrale 8.

The developer, Sim Lian Group, initially estimated prices at S$880,000 for five-room units but later revised them to S$778,000 after a public uproar.

on Monday, the Ministry of National Development said that pending the results of the review, the Housing Board would not proceed with the sale of a DBSS site in Bendemeer slated for later this month.

Checks with Housing and Development Board's (HDB) site revealed that the sale of a site in Sengkang expected to yield 790 units is still ongoing, with a July 20 deadline.

DBSS was rolled out six years ago to give private developers a chance to participate in the public housing market and to introduce more building and design innovations in such housing.

Since then, 13 sites have been awarded and 5,500 flats have been built and sold.

DBSS flats make up less than 1% of the total HDB stock.

Analysts say the current review is timely, given the changing housing landscape. Recent flash estimates from HDB revealed that resale flat prices jumped 2.9% from the first quarter of this year while data from major real-estate firms put the median cash premium paid above a flat's valuation at about S$30,000, an almost 50% increase.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail noted that when DBSS kicked off in 2005, the market was in the doldrums and there was a surplus of public housing.

“The scenario now has changed with soaring prices,” he said, adding that DBSS flats were in demand because most were in mature estates or central locations.

Chesterton Suntec International research and consultancy director Colin Tan said if the objectives were to inject variety and engage the private sector and smaller contractors, “then perhaps the sites should be in newer towns which are less in demand”.

By The Straits Times

China H1 residential land cost 13% lower

BEIJING: China's land market cooled in the first half, with transactions and prices falling after a spate of government measures to curb housing inflation, a private data provider said yesterday.

Average land cost for residential use in 130 cities dropped 13% in the January-June period from a year earlier to 1,451 yuan (US$225) per sq m, the China Real Estate Index System (CREIS) said.

The private data house, which is affiliated to Soufun, the country's largest online real estate firm, also said that transactions of residential land fell 6% in the first six months from a year earlier to 162 million sq m.

The lower prices and slack transactions discouraged local governments to sell their land.

Land supply for residential use declined by 15% in the first half from the same period of 2010 to 195 million sq m, despite a quickened pace in June, the CREIS said.

By Reuters

London luxury home prices reach record high

LONDON: The price of a luxury home in central London can jump as much as £3,000 (RM14,490) a sq ft with the help of a pair of white gloves costing a few pounds.

Houses and apartments described as luxury or prime in the UK capital can fetch from £1,000 (RM4,830) a sq ft to more than £4,000 (RM19,320). The widening disparity prompted property broker Knight Frank LLP to define the touches like a white-gloved doorman that separate truly elite from merely prime.

Luxury-home values have rebounded faster than those for other London properties, reaching a record last month, as the pound’s weakness attracted overseas purchasers. Knight Frank estimates that prices for prime residences start at £2 million (RM9.66 million), though you may have to pay more for one with a wine cellar, home cinema, squash court or health spa — not to mention accommodation for the staff.

At the bottom end of Knight Frank’s five tiers of luxury, a buyer should expect no less than a 24-hour concierge team, secure underground parking and a terrace or balcony. Prices are seen increasing by £500 (RM2,415) a sq ft with amenities such as a wine cooler, slab marble and a ceiling at least 2.7m high.

“What drives value is location, but also product, views, architecture and amenity,” said Ed Lewis, director of new development sales at Savills plc.

Six apartments at One Hyde Park, the luxury-condominium complex in the affluent Knightsbridge neighbourhood, sold for an average of £6,000 (RM28,980) a sq ft last year.
That includes a view of the west London park, service from the Mandarin Oriental hotel next door and hand-painted silk wallpaper.

A one-bedroom duplex in the development went for £9.85 million (RM45.58 million), according to the Land Registry.

“Luxury isn’t enough,” said Stephan Miles-Brown, Knight Frank’s head of residential development. “People using words like prime, super-prime and uber-prime are looking for ways to redefine the word luxury.”

Having a health club, resident’s wine cellar and screening room with general-release movies helps push prices into the £3,000-a-sq-ft bracket. Add £500 for a limousine service, a Gaggenau kitchen and a squash court.

Luxury properties in the city costing an average of £3.7 million (RM17.87 million) rose 8.1 per cent in June from a year earlier, Knight Frank said, pushing its Prime Central London Index to a record.

By Bloomberg