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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lumayan Indah to 'plant' RM700m Banyan Tree in KL

KUALA LUMPUR: The Banyan Tree Signatures Pavilion Kuala Lumpur will be developed at an estimated cost of RM700 million by Lumayan Indah Sdn Bhd.

The project, slated for opening by end-2016, will include luxurious hotel-plus-residences. It will have a gross development value of RM1.4 billion.

Lumayan Indah is building the 55-storey building on a 0.59ha land that it owns in Jalan Conlay.

The company is owned by Serantau Optima Sdn Bhd, which in turn is owned by Nightingale Global Ltd.

The chairman of Lumayan Indah, Tan Sri Aziz Ismail, is also the deputy chairman of Urusharta Cemerlang Sdn Bhd, which owns Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

Hotel manager Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd and Lumayan Indah yesterday signed an agreement to collaborate on the project. The "Siganatures" concept will be the first for Banyan Tree.

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Banyan Tree both have Qatar Holding LCC as a key investor.

According to Aziz, the project will be the tallest residential development in Kuala Lumpur.

It has a total of 441 units of private residences, 51 units of serviced residences and 50 units of suites. The units will be sold at an average of RM2,000 per sq ft.

Meanwhile, Banyan Tree's executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping said that this may not be the sole Banyan Tree presence in Malaysia as the company is also seeking opportunities in Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu.

He added that Banyan Tree is also looking at the possibility of working on other projects elsewhere with Pavilion as the latter carries a strong brandname and is a reputable company.

Banyan Tree Residences and Banyan Tree Signatures Hotel will be complemented by a world-class spa, a heated pool, comprehensive amenities and a rooftop gourmet restaurant and sky bar.

The hotel will offer couture concierge services which include limousine, yacht and private jet booking facilities.

Banyan Tree and the mall will be connected by a private link bridge.

By Business Times

S’pore private home sales surge

Boost from upgraders: Residents of HDB flats in Singapore have lifted property sales as they move on to better homes.

SINGAPORE: New private home sales surged 21% with 1,631 homes finding buyers in September. This is more than the 1,351 units sold in August.

Industry watchers attribute the higher sales volume to Housing and Development Board (HDB) upgraders.

Including executive condominium (EC) units, the number swelled to 2,064 units. Li Hiaw Ho, executive director of CBRE Research, said the high September volume was mainly supported by mass-market and upgrader-type projects, with a total 433 EC units sold in September, compared with 290 in August.

“It is likely that the latest government move to raise the household income ceiling for EC buyers from S$10,000 to S$12,000 a month has given a boost to the sales momentum,” he added.

EC owners who have occupied their apartments and met the five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) can sell their EC on the open market. Resale ECs are treated as equivalent to “private housing”, according to information listed on the HDB website.

Arc At Tampines, the first EC project launched after the announcement, registered 233 units sold at a median price of S$734 per sq ft (psf). RiverParc Residence in Punggol sold a further 90 units (S$685 psf) in addition to the 393 already sold, while Blossom Residences in Bukit Panjang sold 52 units at S$706 psf on top of the 361 units sold earlier.

Mohamed Ismail, chief executive officer of PropNex Realty, agreed, highlighting that units in private property projects such as A Treasure Trove in Punggol were sold mainly to HDB upgraders.

“Savvy home buyers are now taking the mid- to long-term perspective to investing in a home in Singapore,” he said. “Overall, we predict that mass-market homes will be the driving force for this private property segment in the next three months.”

However, he qualified that “this forecast is not withstanding any unforeseen disaster or economic downturn.”

Li said developers were monitoring the impact of the eurozone crisis on the Singapore economy to time their project launches.

“We expect the total new home sales volume in 2011 to exceed the 14,688 units sold in 2009, but it remains to be seen whether it can outdo the record 16,292 units sold in 2010,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Singapore government will be releasing four residential sites for sale by the end of this month.

Together, the four parcels of land will yield about 1,900 homes. The first is a land site in Alexandra Road that had been launched for sale by public tender on Monday.

The other three sites will be available for sale on Oct 27. One of the land parcels is at the junction of Almond Avenue and Chestnut Avenue and is designated for landed housing.

Another plot zoned for condominium or apartment use is located at the corner of Punggol Central and Punggol Place.

The third piece of land is an EC site at Fernvale Lane. Three of these sites are from the confirmed list of the second half of this year's government land sale programme, while the EC site at Fernvale Lane is from the reserve list.

By Straits Times Singapore

Keppel Land to sell Ocean Financial Centre stake to K-REIT

SINGAPORE: Property developer Keppel Land is selling its 87.5% stake in glitzy new office building Ocean Financial Centre to its own real estate investment trust, K-REIT Asia.

The sale, at S$1.57bil, will give K-REIT the stake for 99 years, after which Keppel Land has the right to buy it back for S$1.

To raise money for the mega-purchase, K-REIT will mount a 17-for-20 rights issue, in which it will sell new units to existing holders for 85 cents each, a 17.5% discount to the closing price of S$1.03 on Monday.

Keppel Land and its parent company Keppel Corp, which together hold 76.3% of K-REIT, will subscribe to their entitled rights.

By Straits Times Singapore

Credit crunch in China hurts developers

SHANGHAI: Property developer Zhang Xin made a fortune over the past decade on the back of a building boom fuelled by China's blistering economic growth and the privatisation of its housing market.

Now the co-founder of SOHO China, one of the nation's leading developers, is worried Beijing's efforts to cool the sector are hurting sales and threatening to send some debt-laden property developers to the wall.

“In my 16 years as a developer this is by far the most challenging year I've ever had, in terms of what we could sell,” Zhang, chief executive of Beijing-based SOHO, recently told reporters.

China has invested heavily in property about US$750bil in 2010 alone since it privatised the market in the late 1990s, ending decades of state allocated housing and enabling a growing middle class to own their own homes.

But with real estate investment now a key driver of the economy, there are fears a collapse in the market could trigger social unrest fuelled by millions of home-owners seeing the value of their properties plummet.