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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Icon City phase two launch by September

KUALA LUMPUR: Mah Sing Group Bhd, the country's fifth largest developer by revenue, will launch by September the second phase of Icon City in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, featuring 570 units of serviced residences worth RM439 million.

Group managing director-cum- group chief executive Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum is upbeat that the units, worth RM450,000 to RM1.2 million each or RM700 to RM800 per sq ft, will be snapped up during the launch.

The residences come with space sizes of 550 sq ft to 1,779 sq ft.

"The right product in the right location will always sell well. We are bullish on the outlook led by the Economic Transformation Programme," Leong told Business Times.

Leong's confidence is further boosted by the launch of the first phase of of Icon City last weekend, where sales of RM426.5 million were raked in.

Icon City is a RM3.2 billion integrated commercial development located on 7.93ha in SS8, Sungei Way, at the crossroads of the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong and the Federal Highway.

The project comprises 30 Jewels (seven- to eight-storey lifestyle shop-offices), Gourmet Street (one- to two-storey retail outlets), i-SoVo (Small office Versatile offices), serviced apartments, and mall, boutique hotel and office towers.

The phase one featured i-SoVo tower 3, where 80 per cent of the units, priced from RM599,000 were sold, as well as 30 Jewels and Gourmet Street.

Some 96 per cent of 30 Jewels, which is worth more than RM10 million each, and 37 per cent of Gourmet Street, comprising 20 retail outlets worth from RM4.5 million, were taken.

Due to overwhelming sales and demand for i-SoVo tower 3, Mah Sing is selling the second block under Phase Two, known as i-SoVo tower 3A, comprising 212 units.

CIMB Research, meanwhile, is maintaining its forecasts and target price of RM3.30 on Mah Sing, based on an unchanged target market price to earnings of 14.5 times, largely because of the impressive take-up for Icon City's phase one.

The RM426.5 million sales achieved by Mah Sing for the phase one make up around 18 per cent to 23 per cent of its full-year sales target of RM2 billion to RM2.5 billion, the research house said.

By Business Times

Icon City racks up RM426.5m sales at launch

KUALA LUMPUR: Mah Sing Group Bhd racked up sales of RM426.5mil during the launch of its Icon City show gallery, at the project site in SS8 Petaling Jaya last weekend.

The sales were from the commercial i-SoVo (small office versatile office) units, 30 Jewels (seven and eight-storey shop offices), and Gourmet Street (one and two-storey retail shops).

Buyers were able to enjoy DIBS (pay 10% and nothing else until completion) 90% financing even for third and fourth properties onwards on the commercial i-SoVo project in Icon City.

Icon City is Mah Sing's flagship integrated commercial project, which enjoys exceptionally high visibility and has a total gross development value (GDV) of about RM3.2bil, to be developed in three to four phases.

The i-SoVo is part of phase one comprising 410 units. The well-designed duplexes come with built-ups of 69.2 sq m and 101.6 sq m, and priced from RM599,000.

By Bernama

UK plans Ampang land sale

Kuala Lumpur: The British government plans to sell the land where its High Commission in Malaysia sits, sources said.

The land located on Jalan Ampang measures some 1.22ha and could fetch as high as RM1,500 per sq ft or RM196 million, real estate agents estimated.

It is understood that the High Commission is looking at relocating to a prestigious office building and has been making enquires within the Golden Triangle in Kuala Lumpur for its new base.

A source said that the decision to move comes as it has more space than it requires. With the advancement in information technology, it now has fewer back office or administration staff.

It is keen to take advantage of modern offices that function effectively.

An official at the High Commission when contacted by Business Times to confirm this said: "The High Commission had in principle decided to relocate the High Commission but no firm decision has been taken on the location".

It is understood that the High Commission will not go ahead with the sale until it finds an alternative location.

The current building includes office, residences, a swimming pool and tennis courts.

The British High Commission Kuala Lumpur's website states that the piece of land was given to the British government in return for giving up Carcosa in 1987.

The British government had until then used Carcosa as its diplomatic residence.

The website noted: "So in 1987, in return for giving up Carcosa, the British government was given a plot of land near the corner of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang, then a fair distance from the city centre (but now very convenient to the Twin Towers!), on which it decided to build a new High Commission building".

It would be interesting to see if the neighbours of the British High Commission will buy the land.

They include Boustead Properties, IOI Group, HSC Healthcare and Sri Mersing Hotels Sdn Bhd.

Sri Mersing owns the vacant land at the corner of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak.

The land measures 1.22ha and it is understood that Sri Mersing is linked to Malaysia's richest man, Robert Kuok.

HSC, meanwhile, runs the recently-opened HSC Medical Centre, while Boustead Properties has a project named 183 Ampang located behind the High Commission.

The IOI Group too has land in the embassy enclave in Kuala Lumpur.

By Business Times

China housing inflation up 4.2% in June

BEIJING: China's annual housing inflation ticked higher in June for the first time this year, official data showed yesterday, keeping up pressure on the government to rein in the red-hot property sector.

Many economists have warned that a bursting of a property bubble is the biggest risk facing the world's second-largest economy in the medium to long term.

China's average new home prices rose 4.2% in June from a year earlier, an uptick from an annual rise of 4.1% in May, according to Reuters calculations from official data published yesterday.

Month-on-month, however, home prices grew at a slower pace in June, for a sixth month in a row.

Earlier this year, the agency stopped publishing its average national home price index.

The government has unveiled a spate of heavy-handed measures to cool down the property sector, including home-purchase restrictions alongside higher down payments and mortgage rates.

Such tightening efforts have started to bite, but property buying interest remains strong as the real interest rates remain deeply negative, analysts say.

China's cabinet rolled out new steps last Thursday, taking its heavy-handed purchase restrictions to smaller cities while urging local officials nationwide to increase efforts to curb property speculation.

That would make the operating environment even harder for Chinese developers and force them to sacrifice prices to boost sales performance sooner rather than later, analysts said.

“Home prices will fall slightly in the second half,” Sun Jianping and Li Pinke of Guotai Junan Securities, said in a note last week after talking to six major developers including China Vanke and Poly Real Estate.

Cooling home prices is an important part of China's priority to check inflation, which hit a three-year high in June.

The central bank has increased interest rates three times so far this year, with the latest move on July 6. Meanwhile, Chinese banks have also demanded higher down payment and mortgage rates, beyond regulatory requirements, making it harder and dearer for people to buy homes.

New home prices in Beijing rose 2.2% in June from a year earlier, up from a 2.1% annual rise in May, the National Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday.

In Shanghai, prices climbed 2.2% last month, compared with a rise of 1.4% in May. Reuters

Chinese property shares ended down 0.3% at GMT 0312, underperforming a rise of 0.04% in the benchmark Shanghai stock index yesterday morning.

Apart from Beijing and Shanghai, annual housing inflation also accelerated in other big cities, including Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

A cabinet meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao concluded on Thursday that “some cities are still facing pretty high upward pressure on home prices and others are relaxing their tightening efforts.”

Prices have been rising faster so far this year in smaller cities where the purchase restriction is non-existent or lax.

For example, new home prices rose the fastest in Urumqi, capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, by 9.2% in June from a year earlier.

In May, the northeastern city of Dandong witnessed the quickest annual home price rise of 9.7%.

Prices of new homes, including affordable housing, fell in three cities of Hangzhou, Sanya and Nanchong, in June from a year earlier, as compared with three in both May and April.

In month-on-month terms, cities saw housing price declines in June, as compared with nine in both May and April.

By Reuters

More MRT lines likely beyond 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Apart from the blue and circle lines of the My Rapid Transit system, there is a possibility for other lines, depending on density and economic activity, to be built beyond 2020, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

However, Kong stressed that the focus would be to implement the blue line, which covers the 51km Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT route. This line will have 31 stations.

Speaking after the launching of the Third World Chinese Economic Forum, he said details of the circle line had yet to be finalised and may be announced by the year-end or early 2012.

Kong said the waiting time for KTM Kommuter train services would be reduced from 30 minutes to 10 minutes once the 38 sets of Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) ordered by KTM Bhd were operational by June 2012.

“The first EMU will be delivered in September while the remaining five will be delivered by the year-end. We will receive all by June next year,” he said.

The 38 sets of EMUs cost RM1.89bil, excluding maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) expenses. KTM signed an agreement with CSR ZELC in May last year to purchase the EMUs for commuter service in the Klang Valley.

Kong also said the park and ride facilities in various commuter and light rail transit stations in the Klang Valley were now being upgraded, which will see the addition of about 7,000 parking lots.

By The Star