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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Emkay's development of Cyberjaya enters phase 3

EMKAY Group of companies will develop the third phase of Cyberjaya for the next five years with a gross development value (GDV) of RM3.8 billion.

Emkay group chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar said it plans to embark on an additional 3.1 million sq ft of office space, 3,250 units of various types of residen-tial units, 856 commercial units and a light industrial area for automo-tive support services starting this year.

"A lot of people say there isn't much things to do here at night. Well, we plan to come up with something soon and no, it won't be in the form of nightclubs," Mustapha said at a briefing on its projects at Wisma Mustapha Kamal here yesterday.

He believes that Emkay's investment in Cyberjaya will increase by three-fold with the third phase of the development.

The group's involvement in Cyberjaya began eight years ago and from 2006 onwards, the company has started focusing on three types of development - residential, commercial units and office space.

Under the third phase of the Cyberjaya development, the group will venture into developing green buildings and light industry development.

The master developer of Cyberjaya, Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd is 75 per cent-owned by the Emkay Group.

On another matter, Mustapha said the group plans to own seven buildings nationwide in the near future.

Two of the seven buildings, Menara Mustapha Kamal in Damansara Perdana and Wisma Mustapha Kamal in Cyberjaya, have been completed.

The third building, Mercu Mustapha Kamal located in Damansara Perdana, will be completed late 2014.

Mustapha said the other buildings would be built over the next six to seven years. "The average GDV of each building is RM200 million."

He did not reveal the location of the other buildings.

By Business Times

Emkay banking on RM3.8bil Cyberjaya project

More to come: Emkay group chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar gesturing during the media briefing on a five-year plan by the group to further develop mixed property projects in Cyberjaya.

CYBERJAYA: Property developer Emkay Group is embarking on a five-year plan to further develop mixed property projects in Cyberjaya.

Chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar said the plan, to run from 2012-2016, would see an additional 3.1 million sq ft of office space development.

There will also be 3,250 units of various types of residential units, 856 of commercial units and a light industrial area for automotive support service.

“The total gross development value for this period of development will be about RM3.8bil,” he said yesterday at a media briefing.

Mustapha said the group's commitment to pump in more investments in Cyberjaya showed its commitment and confidence in Cyberjaya's progress of development.

“Together with other notable stakeholders, we have managed to position Cyberjaya appropriately in tandem with our Government's aspiration towards the realisation of Malaysia's first intelligent city,” he said.

Emkay Group had invested some RM1.3bil from 2006 to 2011 in developing office, commercial and residential units.

The projects provide a total net floor area of 1.9 million sq ft of office space, 214 commercial units and 452 residential units.

Mustapha said the group made a profit of RM213mil from the RM1.3bil invested from 2006 until 2011.

Emkay's development of residential units will see an increase of seven times with its plan to build another 3,250 units in the next five years compared with only 452 units built between 2006 and 2011.

“It is anticipated that an additional 7,488 residential units will be offered in the near future, which is capable of housing some 32,000 residents,” he said.

He added that the increase in supply of residential property in Cyberjaya would further boost the development of Cyberjaya as a liveable city.

Mustapha also said the group planned to build affordable homes in Cyberjaya under Projek Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PRIMA) after being given the nod by the Perak state government to build affordable homes under PRIMA in the state.

By The Star

Mah Sing notches RM2.26b property sales for last year

KUALA LUMPUR: Lifestyle developer Mah Sing Group Bhd has reported a RM168.6 million net profit on the back of RM1.6 billion revenue for its financial year 2011.

This represents 43 per cent and 41 per cent increases respectively against the net profit and revenue achieved in 2010.

Property development projects that contributed to Mah Sing's revenue and profit during the year under review included Garden Residence in Cyberjaya, Kinrara Residence in Puchong, Perdana Residence 2 in Selayang, M-Suites in Jalan Ampang, One Legenda, Hijauan Residence and Bayu Sekamat in Cheras, and Icon Residence in Mont' Kiara.

The group closed 2011 with some RM2.26 billion locked in property sales, surpassing the previous year's full sales target of RM2 billion.

Group managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum said the 2011 financial performance marks a new record high and represents more than 46 per cent improvement from the RM1.55 billion achieved in 2010.

As for this year, Leong said the group is on track to meet its sales target of RM2.5 billion. "We achieved about RM338 million as at February 15," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Mah Sing also intends to roll out at least RM3 billion worth of property launches this year to achieve its sales target.

Leong said the greater Kuala Lumpur projects are expected to make up the bulk (68 per cent) of the launch targets, while Penang and Johor Baru are expected to contribute 20 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

"We have a clear focus on residential projects this year, and our high-rise and landed residential projects make up 75 per cent of our launch targets.

"Commercial projects are expected to be a strong contributor, at 22 per cent of launch targets, and industrial projects to make up the balance 3 per cent," he said.

Leong said close to 70 per cent of Mah Sing's launches will come from products with an average unit price of RM1 million and below, in view of the current market sentiment and pent-up demand in this segment.

Launches planned for this year include new and existing residential projects such as Kinrara Residence, Garden Residence 2 in Cyberjaya, Garden Plaza in Cyberjaya, M-City in Jalan Ampang, Icon Residence in Georgetown.

By Business Times

City centre to get facelift

Can be improved: Jalan Wong Ah Fook in downtown Johor Baru will undergo major redevelopment work under the Johor Baru city centre transformation plan.

JOHOR BARU: The Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) will ensure minimal disruptions and inconvenience to the people when the Johor Baru city centre transformation plan kicks off this year.

Chief executive officer Ismail Ibrahim said the RM1.8bil project was expected to start by the middle of the year or by the end of the year and would take between five to seven years to be completed.

“The main objective of the project is to transform Johor Baru city centre into a vibrant place for working, living and doing business,” he said in an interview with StarMetro.

Ismail said ‘vibrant’ indicated activities that would generate an influx of people into the city centre, throughout the day.

He said this could be done by turning heritage buildings or those with attractive architectural elements into offices, food and beverage outlets and boutique hotels.

The same would apply to residential properties, condominium towers, office blocks and retail centre.

Ismail said it was vital to redevelop and rejuvenate Johor Baru city centre in line with its status as one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia.

He said there was a need to put a proper management plan, which would be a guideline not only for Irda, but also for other stakeholders involved in the project.

These included the Federal and Johor governments, land owners, businessmen operating within the city centre, non-governmental organisations and community leaders.

“Every one has to embrace to the management plan, otherwise we will not be able to see seamless transformation as we go along,” added Ismail.

He said the roadmap of the project has to be monitored during the progression and development period to ensure that every thing that has been planned work accordingly.

Ismail said there would definitely be hiccups here and there, and the roadmap must be flexible enough to adopt and absorb to changes as the project went along.

He said the city centre transformation project was more challenging as all parties involved would be working on brown field instead of green field.

He said Irda would look into the traffic management issue from day one of the project or else the situation would be chaotic for people and businesses within the affected areas.

“We hope everybody will fully cooperate with us to ensure the project’s success and welcome constructive views or opinions for our benefit,” said Ismail.

The redevelopment project covers 485.62ha area with the city central area including Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bukit Timbalan, the former sites of the Lumba Kuda low-cost flats, the former Tanjung Puteri Lorry Customes complex and areas within the Johor Zoo, Ayer Molek prison and Hospital Sultanah Aminah.

By The Star

Sea-facing sanctuary

The luxurious Andaman sea-facing condominiums at Tanjung Seri Pinang in Tanjung Tokong, Penang, have now been launched.

Built by Eastern & Oriental Berhad (E&O), a premier lifestyle property developer listed on Bursa Malaysia Main Board, the Quayside project is touted to be the finest on Penang island.

It is sited on 8.5ha of the final prime plot of E&O’s acclaimed world-class masterplan development, likened to those of Sentosa Cove in Singapore and Sanctuary Cove in Australia.

E&O deputy managing director Eric Chan said Andaman is conceptualised to celebrate the best facets of the Pearl of the Orient with 75% of all suites meticulously aligned to provide unobstructed views of the sea and Gurney Drive.

“The Andaman at Quayside sits within the island’s largest seafront development at the northenmost cape, which is the most sought-after residential address.

“Imagine being greeted by spectacular views of the sea each morning as you awake, hearing the sound of the waves rippling across the shore from the comfort of your Andaman home,” said Chan.

This signature E&O development boasts nearly 60% of green lung and recreation area that includes a 1.8ha waterpark, the first of its kind in the region, and another 2.8ha of verdant parks.

Units range from 914sq ft for a one-bedroom suite, priced from RM973,800, to the 4,755sq ft penthouse. There are also 1+1 (one bedroom and one study), two-bedroom and three-bedroom suites at 1,188sq ft, 2,047sq ft and 4,755sq ft respectively.

Chan said Andaman’s excellent location and outstanding value proposition were expected to attract healthy local and foreign demand.

On the timing of the launch, he said the developer was encouraged by the thriving response to its earlier launches and with Andaman, it was confident that a project of this calibre was a blue-chip investment.

According to E&O (Penang) marketing and sales head Christina Lau, the condominiums are based on a hotel suite concept and all units are fully fitted with furnishing, including the kitchens and bathrooms.

Designed by GDP Architects, the Andaman series boasts eight layouts offering a range of living choices.

State-of-the-art integrated security systems, developed by GDSS Security Consultants, include perimeter fencing with fibre optic cable, CCTV and video motion detector, a home intercom and call-assist button linked to a 24-hour manned security control room, and a scanning system which electronically records the faces of drivers, vehicle registration numbers and vehicle types.

For details on early bird promotions and special packages, contact 04-8909999 (Penang) or 03-20958888 (Kuala Lumpur).

By The Star

Public can get developments on Iskandar projects

Grand ceremony: The Sultan (second from left) officiating Iskandar Malaysia Information Centre at the celebration. Looking on are Najib (third from right), Sultan of Johor Royal Consort Raja Zarith Sofea Ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah (second from right), Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (right) and Abdul Ghani (left).

JOHOR BARU: Members of the public can learn of the latest development projects in the Iskandar Malaysia areas with its new information centre (IMIC), which was launched by Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar last week.

Also present during the ceremony was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

Businessman Abdul Malek Abdullah,54, said IMIC provides useful information on the plans for Iskandar Malaysia.

“The IMIC is very useful for businessmen such as myself as we want to know the latest projects or ongoing developments in Iskandar Malaysia,” he said.

Student Jenny Hau, 19, said she had fun learning about the development in Iskandar Malaysia at the centre.

“The IMIC is equipped with interactive touch-screen panels where it gives an image of projects in Iskandar Malaysia and what it would look like once completed.

“I am looking forward to see how Iskandar Malaysia will look like in the next few years,” she said.

Trader G. Vasu, 35, said IMIC provided views on upcoming projects in Iskandar Malaysia.

By visiting the centre, he was now aware of the development of Iskandar Malaysia.

“The IMIC helped me understand of the kind of development and changes in Iskandar Malaysia which will benefit all of us once it is completed,” he said.

The IMIC, which cost about RM5mil, is divided into Invest, Work, Live and Play sections and is also equipped with UniFi.

The centre, built on an area of 19,057 sq feet, is projected to receive 200,000 visitors per annum and is located in Danga Bay.

IMIC is open on Tuesdays to Sundays between 10am and 7pm and is closed every Monday and during public holidays.

By The Star

New residential site for S’pore

Spring Grove being considered for collective sale but the process may be difficult

SINGAPORE: One of the largest residential sites in Grange Road could hit the market if talks between home owners and the US embassy are successful.

Spring Grove on the site of the former residence of the US ambassador is being considered for collective sale, although the process is likely to prove difficult due to the complex nature of the estate's ownership.

The 24,481-sq-m plot was acquired from the US government by City Developments more than 20 years ago and developed into a 325-unit condominium.

It has a 99-year lease that started on Dec 1, 1991. Ownership will revert to the US government which has freehold rights to the estate at the end of that period.

This is unusual as it is the government that usually sells 99-year leasehold sites in its land sales programme while holding its freehold interest.

In November, the embassy told a committee hoping to have the estate converted to freehold status that the “most appropriate way forward” for both parties would be through open bidding for their respective rights.

This would typically mean that the MCST subsidiary proprietors or home owners consider the potential of a collective sale, said the notice obtained by The Straits Times.

“The combined offer of vacant possession of land along with either long-term leasehold or freehold rights would be quite compelling, given the location and size of the estate in Prime District 9 and is likely, in our view, to offer the best possible returns to both parties in an open and transparent manner.” The notice also requested that home owners consider forming a sales committee for the estate.

Spring Grove's management committee chairman Parag Goradia said the sales committee would be formed after the estate's EGM in April. The block was expected to fetch “over a billion dollars” and was likely to come onto the market in the next six to 12 months, he added.

Goradia noted that most residents wanted to sell en bloc while the US government was still keen to divest its interest.

However, there are concerns from those who recently bought units there, as they would have to pay the sellers' stamp duty on a sale. Other owners want to continue to stay at Spring Grove.

Experts said a possible collective sale would involve a more complicated process.

Credo Real Estate managing director Karamjit Singh said home owners and the US government must first enter into a joint sale agreement to sell the freehold land and building and agree on the total sale price and how they would share the proceeds.

“While there are no precedents on sharing formulas between the home owners and the freehold interest owner in an en bloc sale there could be parallels drawn from how leasehold en blocs are priced against the top-up premium payable to the state,” he added.

Law firm Rodyk & Davidson partner Norman Ho said two separate tenders could also be conducted simultaneously: one for home owners collectively for the remainder of their 99-year lease and another on behalf of the US embassy, either for an additional leasehold interest or the sale of the estate's freehold right.

By The Straits Times

US housing woes slowing recovery

WASHINGTON: The struggling US housing market is a “significant drag” on the overall economic recovery, Federal Reserve governor Elizabeth Duke told Congress in testimony obtained by Reuters.

“The failure of the housing market to respond to lower interest rates as vigorously as it has in the past indicates that factors other than financial conditions may be restraining improvements in mortgage credit and housing market conditions,” she said.

High rates of foreclosures were likely to persist for a while and push home prices down, Duke said in testimony prepared for delivery to the Senate Banking Committee.

The Fed has in recent months emphasised that turmoil in housing markets, where US homeowners have lost US$7 trillion in equity since 2006 from falling home prices, is a serious impediment to more robust growth.

The central bank released a study of housing woes in January that was criticised by Republican lawmakers for political meddling, but Fed officials have continued to voice qualms about the damage done by housing market setbacks.

Duke said the elevated pace of foreclosures was likely to continue “for quite a while” and would push prices down further. While some retrenchment from the over-eager lending that preceded the 2007/2009 recession had been necessary, current lending caution appeared to be standing in the way of lending even to credit-worthy households, she said.

By Reuters

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

IGB planning hotel REIT

Cititel Mid Valley is among the 16 hotel assets under IGB’s hospitality division.

PETALING JAYA: IGB Corp Bhd is said to be mulling over a hotel real estate investment trust (REIT) to unlock the value of its hospitality assets in the country and overseas.

Industry observers said the hotel REIT was likely to come about after the property group's 75%-owned unit, KrisAssets Holdings Bhd, had successfully injected its two retail assets in Mid Valley City - the Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens shopping mall into a retail real estate investment trust later this year.

The two retail assets have an estimated total asset value of close to RM4bil and the retail REIT is expected to be materialised within this year.

An analyst with a bank-backed brokerage said IGB's new hotel REIT might be the next in line and the plan was an indicator of a positive outlook for the local hospitality sector.

IGB owns a stable of business-class as well as upmarket hotel assets and has been streamlining the assets parked under its hospitality division. Plans for more hotels are also under way.

Last December, IGB acquired a 50% stake in Great Union Properties Sdn Bhd (GUP), the owner of The Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, for RM277.5mil. Upon completion of the acquisition that is expected in the first quarter of this year, GUP will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of IGB.

According to the company's website, IGB has 16 hotel assets under its hospitality division including nine in Malaysia Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, The Gardens Hotel & Residences, Boulevard Hotel, MiCasa All Suite Hotel, Cititel Mid Valley Kuala Lumpur, Cititel Penang, Cititel Express Kuala Lumpur, Cititel Express Kota Kinabalu and Pangkor Island Beach Resort.

It also owns seven hotels overseas MiCasa Hotel Apartments Yangon, Myanmar; New World Saigon, Vietnam; St Giles Hotel Makati Manila; St Giles Hotel The Court, New York; St Giles Hotel The Tuscany New York; St Giles Hotel Heathrow, London and St Giles Hotel Central London.

Meanwhile, IGB's unit, Cititel Hotel Management Sdn Bhd (CHM), is said to be building two new hotels in Penang.

The four-star St Giles Hotel and three-star Cititel Express Hotel will cost about RM180mil and they will be ready for business in 2014. The 32-storey St Giles Penang with about 500 rooms will be the first St Giles hotel in Malaysia.

By The Star

IOI gets tenants for mall

An artist’s impression of IOI City Mall.

PUTRAJAYA: IOI Properties Bhd's new shopping mall, IOI City Mall, will be sealing an agreement with one anchor tenant and one key tenant next month. Construction of the mall is on track to be completed by 2014, and will feature a one-of its-kind entertainment park that has yet to be seen in any mall in the Klang Valley.

“By 2014, the mall, along with two office towers will be completed. By 2015, a hotel will be added next to the mall. The mall and the office blocks will be fully leased out. We will only sell the office blocks if we get an en-bloc buyer,” said IOI Properties Bhd senior general manager, Lee Yoke Har.

She added that the total gross development value for the commercial project was some RM2bil, with the mall taking up RM1bil. The mall, the office blocks and the hotel would occupy 36 acres and funding of it will come from internal funds.

Lee Yoke Har

The mall would have a crucial differentiation point that would set it apart from other malls. While refusing to divulge details, she added that the differentiation was in its entertainment park that was targeted at teenagers and young adults.

“If you like adrenaline rush coupled with information technology, then our entertainment park is for you,” said Lee.

Featuring the Garden Mall concept with lots of alfresco dining, the IOI City Mall will have a net lettable area of 1.35 million sq ft, some 350 shops and 7,200 car parks. The mall will be located in IOI Resort City.

“At present, construction of the three basement levels of the malls had been completed, and we are now starting to construct the above level storeys. The mall will have four storeys,” said Lee.

She added that the immediate target market of the mall was the 1.1 million residents living within a 10 minute drive from the Putrajaya area. Once completed, she felt that the mall would play a big role in further stimulating the vibrancy of Putrajaya.

“Actually, it was one of our tenants who suggested that we build the mall here. The southern portion of the Klang Valley is an untapped mall area. Most of them are concentrated in the northern part,” said Lee.

To support the commercial activity of the mall and the office towers, IOI Properties will also be launching condominiums and semi-detached houses in IOI Resort City and 16 Sierra, in 2013.

Lee said that accessibility to IOI City Mall was excellent, and they were targeting people from the KL-Seremban highway. Right now, IOI City Mall's location is five minutes off the Kajang Toll. It is connected to Kuala Lumpur via the Maju Expressway to Putrajaya.

“There will be two new interchanges from the Maju Expressway in the future. One is from the Equine Park in Serdang, where construction has already started.

“The other interchange, which has just received approval, is near the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, which is diagonally opposite to us,” said Lee.

Meanwhile, she added that the other exciting project in the pipeline was its IOI Vivo City commercial project in Puchong.

This project, which takes up some 80 acres, will have a high emphasis on the green concept. Infrastructure construction of Phase 1 which consists of some 7 acres, will start by year-end.

“We see demand for a neighbourhood mall in Puchong. A mall which is unlike the family mall of IOI Mall.

The new neighbourhood mall will have a heavy focus on food and beverage with lots of niche offerings for the young adults,” she said.

By The Star

Challenging property market in China

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian developers are vying for a share of the vast China market especially after cooling measures introduced by the Chinese government to curb overheating and flyaway property prices.

An analyst with a local bank-backed brokerage said although China’s 1.3 billion population posed a big market for a broad range of property products, including residential properties, it would not be a bed of roses for developers with projects in China as more challenges had cropped up in the country’s economic front.

China’s economy is facing risk of a hard landing should its manufacturing and export sectors falter further as a result of the eurozone debt contagion. The country’s vast manufacturing sector is facing a drastic downturn in external demand from Europe and the United States .

Leong: ‘In terms of accessibility, climate, culture, livability, and political stability, Malaysia is an attractive avenue for Chinese property investors.’

The analyst said measures to cool the property market introduced since late 2009 had resulted in slowing property demand and falling prices.

“Developers with projects in China will be facing a more challenging market as demand and prices ease. That’s why some prefer to wait and see how the market pans out, “ he added.

Meanwhile, amid the tightening measures, mainland Chinese buyers are looking to invest outside China, and have shifted their attention to markets like Singapore and Malaysia.

But the move last December by the Singapore government to curb foreign purchases by imposing an additional stamp duty of 10% on the value of residential properties sold to foreign buyers meant that Malaysia – which has no such curbs – stood a better chance to win over the Chinese buyers.

According to Mah Sing group managing director and group chief executive Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum, China’s ongoing efforts to cool its property market by tightening bank loans, restricting purchase of multiple properties and imposition of higher down payments will cause more mainland Chinese to invest in other growth markets like Malaysia.

“There is growing interest for quality properties in Malaysia by Chinese purchasers who are keen to diversify their investments out of China to other parts of the world.

“In terms of accessibility, climate, culture, livability, and political stability, Malaysia is an attractive avenue for Chinese property investors,” Leong added.

Mah Sing has recently set up its representative office in Shanghai to tap and explore opportunities in China’s property market.

Located in Imago Tower in Putuo District, the representative office serves as a property gallery featuring a number of projects including Icon Residence Mont’Kiara, M City Jalan Ampang and Icon City Petaling Jaya.

Leong said the office would serve as a business liaison between Mah Sing and the Chinese regulators and companies.

The office will also conduct market and product research, marketing, brand promotion and coordination of Mah Sing’s activities in China.

By The Star

Monday, February 27, 2012

Danga gets 14 enquiries from local and foreign investors

Modern city: An artist impression of the hotels, serviced apartments and mall at Danga Bay

DANGA Bay had seen a flurry of investors coming to its place last week, some serious, some just wanted information as to what is available and at what prices.

That has become a daily thing at Danga Bay since the end of last year and the visitors came from far and near. Some from within the country, some from Singapore and some as far as China.

They are companies and high net worth individuals who are looking for land and properties in Johor, especially at the southern tip of Johore Baru city which fronts Singapore.

This is the place that will be transformed into the most modern waterfront city in the region. To develop that, Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Bhd (IWH) has entered into a public private partnership with a state government agency, Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ).

The whole area covers 1,214ha, stretching from west to east of the southern tip and is located next to Iskandar Malaysia, the country's economic corridor in the south. The whole waterfront city project will have a gross development value of RM80bil.

The story of Danga Bay dates back to 15 years ago. That was the time Datuk Lim Kang Hoo came to Johor. He liked what he saw and by the stroke of luck he got introduced to KPRJ and that relationship has led him to be party to the development of a waterfront city.

Lim was born in Kuala Lumpur. He ventured into the business world 40 years ago by doing small renovations to big ones and has worked in various places until he landed in Johor in 1997/98.

“Today he is a much sought-after man in the state, having the right connections and a vast land bank,'' says an observer.

But after 15 years, there is really nothing much to shout about in Danga Bay other than some buildings, infrastructure, and a park. However, Lim is quick to point out that he has spent a lot of time rehabilitating the river which was filled with rubbish and sludge.

Some sections of Danga Bay has been developed and thus far, IWH has invested RM250mil to reclaim 161.9ha and build the infrastructure in the area. Recently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced a RM200mil facilitation fund to kick-start the Iskandar Integrated Waterfront City project in Danga Bay.

At the end of January, he created quite a stir when he, via Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd, announced a proposed purchase of a 33% stake in Tebrau Teguh Bhd from KPRJ.

Last week both parties entered into a definitive agreement. The purchase triggers a mandatory general offer that has to be undertaken at 76 sen per Tebrau share. Tebrau stock price has been soaring ever since the sale was announced. The counter closed at 2.5 sen higher to 87.5 sen yesterday.

Though Lim seems happy to have partnered KPRJ in the Tebraru deal, some do not think he is paying a fair piece for the 33% stake. They felt the deal should have been worth more though the Tebrau land and the river would also need to be rehabilitated and that would cost about RM250mil, if not more.

The funding is likely to come from IWH “given the fact that Tebrau may have insufficient funds to undertake the project as its last audited accounts show that it has a cash balance of RM36mil. Tebrau may need to raise cash.

“So this was factored into the deal since IWH had undertaken the rehabilitation of the river at Danga Bay. He also cannot develop a city overnight and it will take time but to be fair, there is some progress,'' said a source.

Whatever the critics said, Lim has restructured his companies and turned IWH into a holding company of all the land assets. Because of the Tebrau stake, KPRJ now has increased its take in IWH from 30% to 40% and Lim reduced his stake from 70% to 60%, which he holds via Credence Resources Sdn Bhd.

With the partnership, IWH and KPRJ are the master developers that will take charge of the development of Danga Bay, Iskandar Waterfront, Tebrau Coast and CBD development in Johor.

IWH will hold 100% equity stake in Danga Bay Sdn Bhd, 20% of Iskandar Coast Sdn Bhd (the remaining stake is held by Iskandar Investment Bhd), 72% of Iskandar Waterfront Sdn Bhd and 33% of Tebrau.

In terms of land bank, Danga Bay has 216.5ha, Iskandar Coast 985.4ha, Iskandar Waterfront (240.8ha), and Tebrau (404.7ha).

Khazanah Nasional Bhd has 80% stake in Iskandar Investment, KPRJ 20% and the Employees Provident Fund 20%.

For the waterfront city to become a reality, IWH needs investors. That is why Lim spends five out of seven days in Johor. He personally meets a lot of visitors so that he can get investor and develop parcels of land or just buy plots for the development.

IWK has made some progress as it has partnerships with some developers including Dijaya Corp Bhd, Singapore's Azea Residences, Plazzo Hotels & Service, Waz Lian Group, Tune Hotel and Australia's Walker Group.

Over the next two weeks a major deal with Brunsfield Group will be inked.

Those in the know claim that exploratory talks are on with some Singapore companies including Temasek, CapitalLand and Fraser and Neave Ltd.

“On Thursday, the company had 14 new enquiries and all those who came were taken for a site tour.

On an average they get about three to four serious visitors each day and some of whom are high net worth individuals, and the deals will flow through because many want to get the early bird pricing before the valuations go up,'' said a source familiar with IWH.

There was one investor who even wanted to buy Danga City Mall but could not agree on the pricing.

Lim, is also executive chairman of Ekovest Bhd, in which he has a 20.83% stake, and holds a 30% equity stake jointly with the royal family of Johor in Knusford Construction.

He also has a 10% stake in PLS Plantation Bhd and last week, KPRJ sold its 23.4% stake in PLS to Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd and this brings IWH's purchases from KPRJ to a total of RM261mil.

By The Star

SP Setia’s Aeropod will feature hotels, residential units and railway headquarters

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman boarded a train for a ride from the Tanjung Aru railway station to a marquee to launch a redevelopment of the facility existing since for more than a century.

Accompanying him on the five minute ride on Saturday was SP Setia group president and chief executive Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin whose company is making its first foray into Sabah with the RM2bil project called Aeropod.

That ride, Liew later said, symbolised the journey that Sabah was undertaking from the past to the future with the train station being transformed into a transportation hub and more.

Liew says Aeropod modelled after SP Setia’s successful SetiaWalk in Puchong

The project for SP Setia, that has been described as Malaysia's top property developer, is by any measure a massive undertaking.

To be implemented over five phases in a span of about eight to 10 years, Aeropod would ultimately become a place that people would want to go to, said Liew.

When fully completed, Aeropod being built on a 24ha site, would feature three hotels, nearly 28,000 sq m of retail space, some 5,000 residential units as well as the new Sabah Railway Department headquarters.

He said SP Setia's inaugural Sabah venture began in 2008 when the firm worked closely with the Sabah government for the redevelopment and modernisation of the Tanjung Aru railway station to become a state-of-the art transportation hub.

Thus the Aeropod would not only serve as a railway station but would also be geared for the future by being built to accommodate mass rapid transit (MRT) or monorail services.

“Our agreement with the Sabah government sees us redeveloping this transport terminal in return for the rights to build a mixed commercial project on the surrounding land,” said Liew.

He said Aeropod was modelled after SP Setia's successful SetiaWalk in Puchong and conceptualised along with the group's development philosophy of Live, Learn, Work and Play.

“Our award-winning approach of building well-planned developments with great accessibility and extensive amenities within a single location will see to it that Aeropod becomes a hot spot in the state,” Liew added.

He said Aeropod would feature boutique retail lots, office blocks, a shopping mall, hotels and serviced apartments.

“For investors looking to capitalise on Sabah's rising economic potential to families planning an enjoyable outing, Aeropod will have something to offer everyone,” Liew added.

The first phase of the project, according to Liew, would see SP Setia investing some RM235mil covering an area of some 11ha for the construction of among others 28 units of shop lots which have been sold out.

That phase would also see the realignment of rail tracks and the construction of the Sabah Railway headquarters and train station apart from building replacement quarters for department staff at Kinarut.

“Our pledge that despite the ongoing work at the railway station, there will be no disruption of train services,” Liew added.

He said other components of the first phase include the Galleria - a public area featuring among others a huge aquarium showcasing Sabah's diverse marine life as well as a railway museum.

He said the first phase would also see the construction of two ramps or flyover for easier vehicle traffic access between Aeropod and the nearby Jalan Kepayan.

Liew said SP Setia had also committed to preserving the Kepayan Ridge hills just behind the project site and instead landscape it to become a park.

By The Star

Selia seeks partnership to fast-track SouthKey project

JOHOR BARU: Selia Pantai Sdn Bhd is exploring strategic partnerships with domestic and foreign investors to fast track the development of its on-going SouthKey project.

Zaini (second from left) briefing Ghani on the project. With them are Southkey chairman Datuk Abdul Karim Ahmad Tarmizi (left) and executive director Quek Cham Hong.

Managing director Datuk Mohamed Zaini Amran said the company was currently negotiating with several reputable developers from Malaysia and Singapore for partnerships.

“We are looking at partners who can add value to our long-term development project,'' he said at the launch of SouthKey by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman on Saturday.

Mohamed Zaini said the joint-venture development would involve certain precincts of the project which would be divided into nine different development zones.

He said the company liked to work with Singapore-based developers as this would pave the way for the company to attract property buyers from the republic.

Mohamed Zaini said the new ruling introduced by Singapore for foreigners buying private properties in the republic would benefit property developers in Iskandar Malaysia.

Singapore had in December last year imposed a 10% duty stamp for foreigners buying private residential properties in the island state raising the selling price by 10%.

“We are banking on our project's strategic location to attract buyers not only from Singapore but also those from outside Johor and other countries in the region,'' he said.

Mohamed Zaini said apart from its strategic location, the company also saw Iskandar Malaysia as another strong pulling factor to help sell the project.

He said phase one made of 128 units of Lakefront strate-titles shop offices comprising of three, four, five and eight-storey blocks with prices ranging from RM918,000 to RM15.50mil. Ninety-seven per cent of the units have been sold.

SouthKey is located on a 133ha in the Majidee Army Camp area which dubbed as the “last remaining large prime development land” about 4km north of the Johor Baru city centre.

It enjoys good accessibility and connectivity via three major highways the Tebrau Highway and Southern Link Expressway and soon-to-be-opened Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway.

The project, with a GDV of RM13bil, will take about 15 years to develop and is a 70:30 joint venture between Selia Group and state-owned Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.

By The Star

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Magna Prima upbeat on Aussie property project

MAGNA Prima Bhd (MPB) expects to record a gross profit of A$50.3 million (RM162.81 million) from its project in Australia.

With a gross development value (GDV) of A$210 million (RM679.24 million), the project, named The Istana, is set to be completed in 2014.

The Istana is a 25-storey single- tower residential apartment situated on A'Beckett Street in Melbourne, with more than 27,000 sq ft space and 320 units comprising studio units; two-, three-, and four- bedroom apartments; and double- storey penthouses.

The project has garnered 62 per cent take-up from Australians and international buyers.

Magna Prima executive director Datuk Rahadian Mahmud said Australia is among the popular countries for property investment, due to its stable real estate market which offers good investment returns.

Indeed, he said, Australia's expected 3.25 per cent gross domestic product growth per year, positive employment growth rate, contained inflation and property price increases of about 3.0 per cent this year, support the company's investment decision.

"We immediately recognised that it would be financially lucrative for the company and our investors," he said at the launch of The Istana by popular local singer Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin here yesterday.

While MPB has set in motion its vision for regional development, the company will not deviate from its primary focus on local property development projects.

"Our regional plans will run in tandem with our local projects. The local property scene remains our mainstay, especially with the impending escalation in housing and commercial projects.

"We will continue to identify suitable landbank that we can acquire which will offer us niche pocket-size developments with high GDV (gross development value)," said Rahadian.

Currently, MPB's landbank totals 28.35ha, mostly located in the Klang Valley.

Among the company's latest projects are the Boulevard Business Park, which will be launched by first half of this year, and the Habitat d'16 in Shah Alam, to be launched in second half of this year.

MPB is also in the midst of exploring options for a signature development of a two-tower residential and commercial project in Jalan Ampang with a GDV of around RM1.3 billion, planned to be launched within two years.

By Business Times

Tan & Tan is not limiting itself to high-end projects

RENOWNED property developer Tan & Tan Developments Bhd, which is known for developing high-end projects, is not limiting itself to this segment if it considers other prospects viable.

“We develop projects for all segments and across the board, and not just high end,” IGB Corp Bhd property development head Teh Boon Ghee tells StarBizWeek.

Tan & Tan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IGB Corp.

“If it is viable and feasible, we will do it. We have found a niche in the market and prefer to do more value-added projects,” Teh says.

Established in 1971, Tan & Tan is known for developing the first condominium lifestyle concept in Malaysia with Desa Kudalri in 1979 and Sierramas in 1993 - the first gated community development in the country.

One of the company’s latest developments, the G Residence service apartments project at Jalan Desa Pandan, he says, is “not too expensive” compared with other projects within the area.

“We don’t think it’s expensive, seeing as response is quite good. It is around the range of terrace house prices within the Klang Valley,” Teh says, noting that other apartments within the area ranged between RM850 and RM1,100 per sq ft.

According to Teh, the G Residence units are priced at an average of RM650 per sq ft with an expected maintenance fee of 30 sen per sq ft, including the sinking fund. Units range from 1,080 to 1,545 sq ft, and are located on two 23-storey-high blocks. Selling price are between RM610,000 and RM1mil.

He says that the units are targeted at young couples and families.

Despite the recently tightened lending rules, Teh says he expects the G Residence service apartments to be fully sold within the next few months.

“Since sales opened in December, about 80% of the 474 units have already been sold. Over the next one to two months, we should see more units sold,” he says.

Teh says he is confident of full take-up given the response the development has received so far and despite the recently tightened lending rules.

“One or two of our buyers had problems with the new banking requirements, but most of them had no issues.”

However, Teh does believe that the new rules will have some impact on property buying trends in Malaysia.

Effective this year, banks have started using net income instead of gross income to calculate the debt service ratio for loans. This pre-emptive move by Bank Negara is meant to contain the rise in household debt.

“It will affect the buyers’ ability to buy property. However, it’s still early days since it (the new rules) was implemented and we will monitor closely to see if there will be any impact going forward.”

Separately, a recent online property survey conducted by the iProperty Group covering Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Malaysia, revealed that demand for houses priced at around RM1mil had dropped and was expected to be flattish throughout the rest of this year.

iProperty Group chief executive officer Shaun Di Gregoria was quoted in a local news report as saying that Malaysians were expected to continue to be upbeat about the property market, with interest seen mostly in properties priced between RM400,000 and RM500,000.

Teh meanwhile noted that location played an important factor in the development of property, adding that the company’s G Residence was strategically located.

“G Residence is just a few minutes’ drive away from the Kuala Lumpur city centre and within embassy row.

Construction of G Residence, which has a gross development value of RM430mil, has commenced and is expected to be completed by February 2015. The project is located on 1.46ha of leasehold land. Two car parking bays are allocated for each apartment.

G Residence is being developed by Opt Ventures Sdn Bhd, a joint-venture (JV) company between Tan & Tan and Sin Heap Lee Sdn Bhd.

G Residence also comprises 26 units of retail outlets on the ground and first floors. On whether the developer had secured any anchor tenants for the retail outlets, Tan says: “They (the potential tenants) like to see some progress in the project first before they take it up.”

“We expect mainly food & beverage (F&B) stores, as the surrounding area has a shortage of high-end (F&B) outlets.”

The current rental price is RM4,000 per unit, with an approximate size of 1,500 per sq ft. Teh says the retail space will not be for sale.

“This is so that we can have better control (of managing the tenant mix),” he says.

On its other projects, Teh said IGB is developing an apartment project in Jalan Tun Razak, which the company hopes to launch by mid-2013. It also has a JV bungalow project with KL Kepong Bhd.

IGB has some 688ha of landbank in Malaysia.

By The Star

Skills and expertise needed when marketing foreign property

EARLY last week, one of London’s largest lettings agency gave a presentation to a small but eager group of investors who have either bought, or about to complete negotiations to invest in a property in London.

Most of them are buying foreign real estate for the first time while a few of them have been landlords for several years. Despite that, they still had questions about various issues like taxation and rights of landlords/tenants.

Many of them have formed an attachment with Britain because of their student days. Some have children studying there. Yet, there are others who bought into that market to take advantage of the favourable currency exchange rate as it has dropped quite a bit since 2008 and because of the drop in real estate prices.

Most, if not all of them, have bought off-plan. While some of them have visited the location of their future property, many of those who were present at the presentation have not. So it was a rather enlightening evening for most of them.

Anita Mehra and her team from Benham and Reeves Residental Lettings gave a bird’s eye view of the London rental market as many of them are keen to see some sort of yield from their investments while being an absentee landlord. She answered questions about yield for the different areas, the popularity of some areas over others, the advantages of one and two-bedroom units versus three-bedroom units, the benefits of buying in central London versus one located on the fringe of the city.

Mehra says yield will not be all that attractive and instead suggested that capital appreciation will be a better option for investors to consider.

As the evening wore on, it became obvious that while rental yield was important to the investors, it was the issues related to property ownership in a country they are unfamiliar with which brought them out for the evening.

Being a student tenant in their younger days and now being the landlord means they are now sitting on opposite sides of the fence. They are driven by different forces.

Many of them have questions about taxation. This includes taxation from UK’s Inland Revenue Department, local council taxes and the issue of the 40% inheritance tax.

There were questions about insurance, length of leases and what recourse they have when a tenant defaults on rental or reduces the duration of a lease. Because everything is governed by laws and rights, they are also concerned that in the event of a default, the services of a lettings agent may no longer be adequate and there may be the need to engage legal help. There were also many questions whether it was better to take a loan, or to pay cash and why.

It is obvious that being a landlord in Malaysia and a landlord in Britain present two sets of challenges. Mehra answered all these questions with patience but the fact that such questions were posed indicates the fact that they were generally unaware of or have little information when they bought the properties and the implications of that investment.

Foreign property ownership is something that is relatively new to many of these middle-income investors.

Says an investor who bought a property two days before attending the presentation: “I was not able to sleep the day I signed on the dotted line. Many of these presentations were very property oriented. The girls who attended to us told us the property was X minutes from the subway, has X number of rooms and what the price includes and what discount they can give us. I have no idea what the tax issues and property ownership is going to be like.

“At many of these presentation, I was serviced by young personnel who passed me from one colleague to another simply because they cannot answer my questions. Sometimes the property developer and a lawyer are present. But they were unable to give me their single-minded attention. So it was good to have Anita (Mehra) here to answer all our queries,” he says.

Having to glen information from one person to another is troublesome and frustrating. So why did he buy? “There were no competition (from other agencies) and if we wanted to invest in UK and take advantage of the weak Sterling and hope for capital appreciation for a £200,000 investment, we had limited choice.”

At the minimum, a property in London would cost about £200,000 or thereabouts. With an exchange rate of RM4.80 to £1, that works out to about RM1mil.

That is a lot of money in exchange for a property located in another country whose cultural and legal environment we are unfamiliar with despite the fact that our legal system is pretty much British-based.

At the same time, the people who sold them the property need to upgrade the skills and expertise of their personnel because selling a property located in Malaysia to Malaysians and promoting foreign real estate to Malaysians pose two different sets of challenges. Selling foreign properties requires a deeper knowledge of the culture and laws of that country. Those who promote foreign properties need to put themselves in the shoes of their investors to understand their concerns.

Assistant news editor Thean Lee Cheng thinks marketing personnel need to be very familiar with a foreign market and that includes legal issues before marketing a project there.

By The Star

Friday, February 24, 2012

SP Setia eyes RM60b in development value

KUALA LUMPUR: SP Setia Bhd, Malaysia's top property developer, is poised to hit a whopping RM60 billion in gross development value (GDV) this year.

This would be helped by the launch of at least four big projects worth RM6 billion in GDV, said SP Setia president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, who added that the company was confident of achieving its sales target of RM4 billion this year.

Continued strong property demand and ample liquidity in the local financial system would help SP Setia to achieve its target, he said.

Liew said SP Setia had locked in sales of RM933 million for the first quarter of its current year ending October 31, 2012.

"This represents a 27 per cent increase over the RM737 million achieved in the corresponding period of the previous year," he said.

For the year ended October 31, 2011, SP Setia exceeded the RM2 billion mark for the second year running, ringing in a new sales record of RM3.29 billion.

Liew said its RM4 billion sales target would come from numerous upcoming project launches.

"We expect to launch at least four new projects worth about RM6 billion this year. We expect our gross development value to reach RM60 billion."

In Sabah, SP Setia is set to officially launch a project known as "Aeropod" in Kota Kinabalu tomorrow.

The integrated commercial development in Tanjung Aru is the group's maiden project in Sabah, mooted after its SetiaWalk development in Puchong, Selangor.

The group will also be launching several projects in the coming months, such as the Setia Eco Glades in Cyberjaya.

"A new eco-themed development based on the award-winning DNA of Setia Eco Park in Shah Alam has been planned for 108.5ha of prime freehold land."

With the group's current landbank at 1,707ha, Liew said SP Setia was in a strong position to offer a wide range of products to cater to different markets.

By Business Times

Liew confident SP Setia will meet RM4bil property sales target

SHAH ALAM: SP Setia Bhd recorded a 26.6% year-on-year jump in new property sales to RM933mil for its first quarter ended Jan 31, 2012, compared with RM737mil a year earlier.

President and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said he was confident about achieving the group's target of RM4bil in new property sales for its financial year ending Oct 31, 2012 (FY12), despite credit-tightening measures as a result of Bank Negara's responsible lending guidelines.

Effective this year, banks have started using net income instead of gross income to calculate the debt service ratio for loans.

The credit-tightening measures were partially blamed for a 25% year-on-year drop in new vehicle sales in January.

For FY12, SP Setia plans to launch properties with a gross development value of RM6bil.

Liew said the group's projects in Johor, Setia Alam and Setia Eco-Park in Shah Alam, as well as KL Eco City mixed development in Kuala Lumpur were expected to generate RM1bil each in new property sales in FY12, while another RM1bil would come from sales of other domestic and foreign projects.

KL Eco City, located on a 24-acre site along Jalan Bangsar (opposite Mid Valley City), was launched last October and recorded RM303mil in sales for the first quarter of FY12.

“Yes, the central bank's lending guidelines would definitely impact the property sector. But, speaking for SP Setia, we will do well and also increase our prices,” said Liew after the group's AGM in Setia Alam.

He pointed out that the recent soft launch of the group's Phase 8D of semi-detached homes in Setia Eco Park had seen bookings for nearly all the units offered, over one week-end.

“Today, our landbank is 4,218 acres. We have a lot of things going on.”

On Saturday, SP Setia will officially launch its maiden project in Sabah, namely the Aeropod integrated commercial development in Tanjung Aru.

In Johor, the group recently launched Setia Eco Cascadia on a 259-acre site within the Tebrau Corridor.

For FY12, the group has plans for its Setia Eco Glades, Cyberjaya, which is sited on 268 acres of freehold land. Setia Eco Glades will consist of gated and guarded enclave with linked villas, semi-detached homes and bungalows.

In Penang, SP Setia's projects will include a high-rise development called Setia V Residences in Gurney, and Brook Residences comprising 11 bungalows on Brook Road in the upmarket Jesselton area.

In Singapore, the group will launch its maiden project, namely a high-rise condominium development called 18 Woodsville.

According to Liew, there were also plans to launch another phase for the group's Fulton Lane in Melbourne, Australia.

The EcoLakes and EcoXuan projects in Vietnam are also expected to help augment sales in FY12.

Liew said the group was also looking to acquire prime city land for development in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

“The Vietnam property market has slowed down tremendously. So, this is a good opportunity for us to acquire prime land in the city. So far, we are still talking.”

He reiterated that SP Setia was continuously on the lookout for prime city land in London and Singapore. “In central London, prime properties are still in high demand,” he said. “Even in Singapore, if we have the chance.”

Liew also expressed confidence that the group's 18 Woodsville development in Singapore would do well.

“Despite the recent 10% hike in stamp duty for foreigners buying private homes (in the island republic), we think that at least 30 to 50% of our sales in Singapore will be Malaysian buyers.”

By The Star

YTL Land Q2 net profit jumps 195%

PETALING JAYA: YTL Land and Development Bhd posted a 195% year-on-year jump in net profit to RM6.4mil for its second quarter ended Dec 31, 2011, compared with RM2.2mil a year earlier.

The property developer's revenue saw a huge 712% spike to RM222.5mil for the quarter under review, compared with RM27.4milpreviously, due to contributions by The Capers condominium under the Sentul Raya project as well as other developments undertaken by recently-acquired offshore subsidiaries Lakefront Pte Ltd and Sandy Island Pte Ltd.

For the six months ended Dec 31, 2011, YTL Land recorded a 73% year-on-year jump in net profit to RM9.3mil while revenue increased 445% to RM225.9mil.

By The Star

UOA net profit up on fair value gains

PETALING JAYA: UOA Development Bhd posted a 151% quarter-on-quarter jump in net profit to RM139.4mil for its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2011, compared with RM55.5mil in the preceding quarter.

The property developer, which was listed in June last year, told Bursa Malaysia that the increase was mainly due to fair value gains recognised on investment properties. Revenue for the quarter under review was RM137.5mil.

For the financial year ended Dec 31, 2011, UOA Development recorded a net profit of RM384.8mil on revenue of RM613.6mil.

By The Star

Built to display local brands

The newly-built 33 storey Menara Mara in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur is all set to be fully operating in May, with the main attraction being fashion retail to showcase Malaysian brands.

It sits on the same land where the first Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) building was built in 1967, which functioned as its headquarters and also featured retail outlets. The eight-storey building was demolished in 2005 to make for redevelopment.

Mara chairman Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the building was issued a certificate of fitness by Kuala Lumpur City Hall in November last year and they had handed the certificate of practical completion to the main contractor, Pembinaan Jaya Zira on Jan 10.

“The building has a retail podium consisting of five floors with 70 business lots, one banquet hall and 10 seminar rooms taking up three floors, serviced offices on two floors and a one-stop wedding centre on four floors. There is one floor dedicated to mechanical and electrical goods and nine floors for office space.

“The bottom three floors are for parking with 296 lots, while the top six floors will be turned into a four-star hotel managed by Impiana Hotels and Resorts Management. The hotel, consisting of 90 rooms, is scheduled to be open in June.

“We also have a bazaar called Marakesh where the Bumiputera Designer Association will have a variety of clothing on sale under the name BDA Concept, on top of a variety of batik, crystals, leather goods and diamond,” he said at a document handover ceremony held at Menara Mara recently.

Idris said that all the rental lots had been taken up.

“The launch of Menara Mara marks the rebranding and repositioning exercise for our business premises. We currently have more than 7,000 business lots in the country but only some are doing very well. Mara has decided to implement the Blue Ocean Strategy by introducing a new concept, redesigning, a new business model and promotions with a mix of trade and tenants to make the place more attractive.

“Mara has also planned to develop a few other Mara properties soon,” he said.

By The Star

US fund invests in Sunway REIT

PETALING JAYA: US-based fund manager Capital Income Builder has emerged as a new substantial shareholder in Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).

According to filings with Bursa Malaysia, Capital Income Builder has recently acquired 174.95 million units in Sunway REIT, representing 6.5% direct interest in the latter. The transaction was done in the open market.

By The Star

Thursday, February 23, 2012

IGB upbeat on G Residence take-up

KUALA LUMPUR: IGB Corp Bhd expects its strategically-located G Residence condominiums to sell out by the end of the year .

Jointly developed with SHL Consolidated Bhd on a 70:30 basis, G Residence is scheduled to be completed by February 2015.

It is located along Jalan Desa Pandan here on a 1.46ha site and overlooks the Royal Selangor Golf Club. The two-tower 23-storey residential development incorporates a multi-purpose hall, a gym, 30m lap pool and a common garden.

IGB head of property development, Teh Boon Ghee, said G Residence looks over on Lingkungan U-Thant, backs the Polo Club and neighbours the Royal Selangor Golf Club.

"G Residence is surrounded by a mature township of shop offices and cosy apartments. It is very affordable considering its location. Great Eastern Mall is just a leisurely 10-minute walk away," he said.

So far, 80 per cent of G Residence have been sold out. Priced at an average of RM650 per sq ft, the condominiums are sold between at RM610,000 and RM1 million per unit.

"All the units in Block A are sold out. Only 40 per cent units in Block B are still available," Teh told a press briefing here yesterday.

"Those who wish to buy G Residence units for investment can expect a rental yield of about 5.5 per cent. A 1,500-sq-ft unit can be rented out for RM4,000," he added.

Since the start of 2012, Bank Negara Malaysia mandates banks to explain to borrowers the implications of the loans they take, illustrating to them just how much more they will have to pay should the base lending rate go up.

This is applicable to housing and car loans, credit and charge cards, personal financing including overdraft facility and financing for the purchase of shares in the stock market.

Asked if the BNM ruling has affected property sales, Teh replied, "not really. Out of all the sales at G Residence, only a few buyers were seen to take a little longer to secure their home loans."

He then said it is worthwhile to note that starting July 2012, borrowers will not be penalised heavily for early settlement of their housing loans.

Instead, banks will only be allowed to charge for the cost incurred in processing the loan and not for profit loss from the early repayment.

By Business Times

Building on foreign interest in properties

The cooling property markets in China and Singapore should help attract foreign buyers to Malaysia, say industry players.

China has tightened loans,restricted purchases of multiple properties and imposed higher down payments while Singapore has introduced tougher measures aimed at foreign buyers, who have become increasingly visible in the residential sector.

“This is a good time for Malaysia to attract foreign buyers. But there are three key areas that we have to improve on, which are security, education and healthcare,” said Bandar Utama Development Sdn Bhd managing director, Datuk Teo Chian Kok.

Khong & Jaafar managing director Elvin Fernandez said there was a future for properties in Malaysia as more foreigners were expected to invest here.

He said once projects under the Economic Transformation Programme kicked in, there would be more demand for residential properties.

“The focus now is to make the city more robust and there will be automatic response,” he said at a media roundtable at Balai Berita, here, yesterday.

Real Estate And Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) immediate past president Datuk Ng Seing Liong said the first
national-level Malaysian Property Exposition (Mapex) for 2012 would be a good platform to introduce Malaysian properties to overseas buyers.

Mapex 2012, to be held from March 2 to 4 at the Mid Valley
Exhibition Centre here, will have 85 developers showcasing more
than 300 housing developments across Malaysia.

The exposition, themed “Home and Abroad”, will also have foreign developers showcasing their projects here for the first time.
They include Century Properties Inc from the Philippines and Knight Knox International from Britain.

Ng said Mapex 2012 was expected to generate property sales of up to RM100 million.

By Business Times

Mudra Tropika's RM30m project

JOHOR-based property developer, Mudra Tropika Sdn Bhd, is currently undertaking a niche RM30 million project to turn what was once an undeveloped enclave into an ultra-exclusive boutique residences in the heart of Johor Baru.

Called 28@Gertak Merah, the new lifestyle residential area is located in the old quarter of the southern city in Jalan Mustapha near the Istana Besar's Royal Gardens and the Abu Bakar Mosque.

With only 28 limited edition units of semi-detached homes on international leasehold lots, the houses start from RM1,177 million to RM2.534 million.

The units cover a total of 1.861ha, which is surrounded by greenery and away from the hustle and bustle of the city's commercial areas.

It is learnt that the project is designed with a modern colonial-cum-tropical concept. Every unit will be equipped as a modern smart home with an alarm system, complete with panic buttons and an automatic gate. The residential area will be a 24-hour guarded commune.

Mudra Tropika chief executive officer Mohd Nazim Sabtu said the 28@Gertak Merah project's main advantage is its strategic location on prime land, about three kilometres from the Johor Baru city centre.

"The main concept and objective is to deliver exclusive living with unobstructed hill view, low density, privacy and landscaped environment. In a nutshell, its an exclusive residential area in the heart of Johor Baru," he told Business Times when met yesterday.

Nazim said they had planned the concept of having a low-density boutique residences about two years ago.

The 28@Gertak Merah project is the latest addition to Johor Baru's growing, but exclusive market for high-end lifestyle residential properties which is priced more than RM1 million.

Once completed, it will be a main part of the Flagship A zone under the Iskandar Malaysia economic development corridor.

Nazim, who is also a director of Mudra Tropika, revealed that the company has always put pride in being different when it comes to property development, and the 28@Gertak Merah project is testament of this.

Despite talk that this year will see a slowdown in property sales, he said Mudra Tropika is confident that it can achieve 50 per cent of sales for 28@Gertak Merah by this year.

The figure equates to RM20 million in the project's gross development value.

"The groundwork has started and the project is scheduled to be completed by early 2014," said Nazim.

Mudra Tropika was established in 2006 and was initially put in charge to privatise and develop several parcels of state government land.

The company has seen the development of several Malay Reserve land in the Nong Chik area starting with Nongchik Heights, D'Permata homes, a block of three-storey commercial shoplots, the Nongchik Riverside commercial project and of late the 28@Gertak Merah project.

By Business Times

SP Setia confident of hitting sales target

SP Setia Bhd is still confident of achieving its sales target of RM4 billion in its financial year ending Oct 31, 2012 despite Bank Negara Malaysia's new guidelines for loan borrowers.

President and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin who welcomed the ruling, said the move would ensure only genuine buyers who had no financial problems own a property.

"The whole idea of the central bank is to dampen property bubble or credit bubble which is going on.

"Though the ruling will definitely affect the property sector, but we in SP Setia is confident that we can still achieve RM4 billion sales, driven by both local and foreign property sales," he told a media conference after the company's annual general meeting in Shah Alam, Selangor today.

Under Bank Negara's new guidelines that took effect from Jan 1, a prospective loan borrower will be assessed based on net income basis (instead of gross income) after deducting statutory deductions for tax and EPF and all other debt obligations (eg. car loan, other housing loan, credit cards).

Liew said SP Setia had already locked in sales of RM933 million for the first quarter of its current financial year ended Jan 31, 2012.

This represented a 27 per cent increase over the sales achieved in the corresponding period of previous year of RM737 million.

Liew said sustained demand for properties in the group's existing projects in the Klang Valley, Johor Baru and Penang would continue to underpin the group's sales performance in the 2012 financial year.

"We have many exciting new projects to help us capture new markets and further diversify our product mix.

"Our strong balance sheet also gives us ample room to continue to aggressively pursue opportunities to acquire good landbank thereby locking in future growth," he said.

Meanwhile, Liew said the SP Setia group also was keen on the London and Vietnam markets and was looking at opportunities there.

"We are looking at acquiring land in downtown Hanoi and Ho Chi Min for our property projects which will be more customer-based.

"SP Setia is also looking at acquiring land for property projects in London city as we want to make London an important market for SP Setia," he said.

Elsewhere, he said the group was targeting at least 30 to 50 per cent sales of its projects in Singapore would be from Malaysian buyers despite the 10 per cent increase in stamp duty for foreign buyers in the republic.

In Singapore, he said, the group would launch its maiden project namely a high-rise condominium development called Woodsville.

By Bernama

Sentoria debuts on the Main Market at 84 sen

KUALA LUMPUR: Sentoria Group Bhd, made its debut on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities at 84 sen today, with 3,000 shares traded.

The shares recorded a discount of three sen over its offer price of 87 sen.

Sentoria, the first company listing for this year, is the developer and operator of Bukit Gambang Resort City (BGRC) in Kuantan, Pahang.

It is also the first and largest water park resort city in the east coast of Malaysia.

The company had earlier said it had received a total of 6,829 applications for 127.2 million shares with a total value of RM108.1 million, for the public tranche of 20.0 million shares under the group's initial public offering (IPO).

Its IPO had been oversubscribed by 5.4 times.

The company planned to invest RM48 million from internally-generated funds to develop a safari park, slated to commence operations by year-end.

Among its ongoing projects are Arabian Bay Resort, the safari park and Taman Indera Sempurna 2.

The company said it is undertaking a RM735 million gross development value project, known as Global Heritage, to develop up to 1,070 units of themed resort villas and a five-star, 273-suite boutique hotel over 46.134 hectares.

In a statement today it said the resort villas, sold on a sale-and-leaseback option strategy, will feature distinctive architectural designs based on international themes.

Its Head of Public and Investors Relations Nasiruddin Nasrun said the development of Global Heritage - the company's first high value project in BGRC - is in tandem with the group's growing profile as a hospitality operator and property developer in the east coast.

"We aim to not only increase our accommodation capacity in BGRC, but also attract high-end visitors to our theme park attractions and comprehensive conference and exhibition facilities," he added.

Global Heritage is targeted for completion by 2018 in stages.

"The sale-and-leaseback strategy gives property investors the option to buy and lease their luxury villas back to BGRC," the company said.

Sentoria's IPO raised RM51.6 million in proceeds for the group.

Sentoria said RM27.7 million would be allocated for working capital, RM11.2 million for repayment of bank borrowings, RM9.0 million for the purchase of property, plant and equipment and the balance RM3.7 million, to defray listing expenses.

By Bernama

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Green mall for Setia Alam

Almost there: Setia City Mall will be ready by May.

SETIA City Mall in Bandar Setia Alam, Shah Alam has received overhelming reponse with more than 95% of its retail outlet already leased out.

Setia City Mall marketing director Daniel Steffe said the response was good especially since the mall would only open its doors to the public in May.

“Being a neighbourhood mall, we received plenty of feedback from residents in the area through Facebook and Twitter.

“From the feedback, we gave leases to tenants that met our criteria. Like any other shopping centre, Setia City Mall will open from 10am to 10pm daily.

Natural light: The mall offers plenty of light thanks to the skylights.

“Visitors can expect a wide range of offerings including Golden Screen Cinema’s nine-screen cinema, Parkson outlets, a Wangsa Bowl bowling alley, Harvey Norman, Courts, Zara and a Fitness First gymnasium.

“They also will not have to worry about parking as we will provide about 2,700 parking bays,” he said.

“We are also looking at having a karaoke outlet here and there is a park on the ground floor for children to play in. Parents can watch their children from the comfort of F&B outlets such as Starbucks, Delicious, Carl’s Junior and TGIF near the park,” Steffe added.

Key green initiatives in Setia City Mall include a high efficiency air-conditioning system, the implementation of an integrated building energy management system, natural daylight in the concourse and car park and energy-efficient escalators and lifts.

Good stuff: Setia City Mall marketing director Daniel Steffe (left) and development director Robert Spinks taking a closer look at a model display of the mall at The Setia Welcome Centre in Setia Alam.

The mall includes a 20% saving in water consumption with rainwater harvesting for landscape irrigation, low-emissivity glazing, bicycle parking bays and bio-composting of organic food waste.

Setia City Mall development director Robert Spinks said he hoped that all the outlets would open at the same time when the shopping center opens it doors.

“It would be great if all the outlets open at the same time.

“Retailers lease each lot from RM6 to RM30 per square foot depending on the area they are situated,” he said,

The Setia City Mall is a 50/50 joint venture between Lend Lease and S P Setia. The RM450mil retail destination has also received Singapore’s Building and Constructrion Authority (BCA) Green Mark Gold Award.

It it the first shopping center in Malaysia to receive the accreditation.

The award is in recognition of the Setia City Mall’s sustainability initiatives, which meet the five evaluation criteria — energy and water efficiency, environment protection, indoor air quality and innovation.

By The Star

IGB Corp FY2011 net profit, revenue jumps

IGB Corporation Bhd posted an increase of 36.09 per cent in net profit to RM237.65 million for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2011 from RM174.62 million previously.

Revenue for the year rose to RM772.13 million from RM719.36 million a year ago.

For the fourth quarter (Q4), net profit surged to RM91.88 million from RM53.1 million in the previous corresponding period due to the improved performance by the hotel division as well as the inclusion of a one-off gain on the disposal of an associate company.

Revenue in Q4 was up by five per cent to RM225.03 million from RM214.98 million in the same period previously due to higher contributions from property investment, hotel and construction divisions.

IGB said although global economic conditions are still expected to be challenging, it is envisaged that the local economy would continue to grow, albeit at a moderate pace.

“The group’s three major operating sectors - property development, property investment and hotel - are not expected to be significantly adversely affected, barring a drastic change in the global and local economic conditions,” it said.

For property development, the group is targeting to launch a couple of high-end condominium developments.

In the commercial sector, all office buildings located in Mid Valley City have achieved occupancy rates in excess of 95 per cent while rental renewals in 2011 have shown a five per cent to 20 per cent increase.

The total rental collections are therefore expected to increase in the current year, it added.

In the retail segment, the group’s two major shopping malls, namely, Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall are currently enjoying 100 per cent occupancy and contributions from these malls are expected to improve compared to the last financial year.

IGB is confident the operational results for the current fiscal year will be better than the previous year.

By Bernama

Homeless crisis due to lack of affordable homes

ONE of the main contributing factors to Kuala Lumpur’s homeless problem is the lack of affordable housing for the poor, said Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies research fellow Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria.

According to Denison, the shortage of affordable housing, particularly to renters with extremely low incomes like the rural poor, often result in them ending up on the streets.

Denison, who was responding to StarMetro’s cover story yesterday, said hundreds of people from rural areas come to the city in search of work and a better life, yet when they arrive they find the cost of living in KL is too high.

“Before they can even find a job, finding a reasonable accommodation that is close to their workplace with decent facilities and low rental is simply impossible,’’ he said.

“With no decent and cheap housing for these people, it is not surprising to find them seeking shelter under the bridges in the city,’’ Denison said.

Denison said the government, and in this case Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), must address the shortage of rental housing for these group.

“DBKL must provide a decent hostel style housing with a common bathroom and water facilities at least, with the rental at RM10 a day. And these accommodation must be given to genuine cases who have come to the city seeking better employment for casual jobs like despatch worker with low income,’’ he added.

“The city must review this matter and find solutions for these group,’’ he said.

“There must be constant monitoring of this problem as well,’’ Denison added.

Denison said most of the big cities in the world have an affordable home system that looks to the needs of the rural poor and KL must start looking at providing such facilities for its homeless community.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall Advisory Board member C. Ramanathan agreed that lack of affordable housing is a serious concern for the city, but added the problem is not just confined to the young working adults but students who come to the city to seek education or enrol in courses.

Ramanathan, who holds the housing and squatter relocation portfolio in the DBKL board, said homelessness comes about when people who have to choose between shelter or other basic needs tends to forgo the most expensive need.

“When people are unable to pay for basic necessities like house, food, medicine, education, they often they choose to live in the streets as housing absorbs the biggest portion of their income,’’ Ramanathan said.

Federal Territories and Selangor Community Association (Permas) president Tan Jo Hann said a federal policy was needed to look at the housing needs of this group.

“The Government must provide the safety net for them, in fact City Hall can offer the empty PPR units (People’s Housing Scheme) for these group while they look for a job,’’ he said.

The arrangement, Tan added, though temporary, will provide them with a roof over their heads and also keep them off the streets or else more and more slums will emerge in the city.

By The Star

KrisAssets revalues Mid Valley

KRISASSETS Holdings Bhd has revalued Mid Valley Megamall 18 per cent higher at RM2.36 billion as at December 21 2011, compared the revaluation as at December 30 2009 of RM2 bilion.

It said the market value of The Gardens Mall is RM930 million, which is 13.4 per cent higher from the valuation on September 30 2011, at RM820 million.

The company told Bursa Malaysia that the revaluation was carried out by independent professional valuers, Jordan Lee & Jaafar Sdn Bhd.

Mid Valley is owned by Mid Valley City Sdn Bhd, while The Gardens owned by Mid Valley City Gardens Sdn Bhd, both wholly-owned units of KrisAssets.

By Business Times

Consultant assessing bid for late Tan Sri Lee Yan Lian’s family assets

PETALING JAYA: The sale by tender of the five parcels of freehold land in the Klang Valley owned by the late Tan Sri Lee Yan Lian's family has attracted strong interest from bidders.

Teh: ‘The bidders are mostly Malaysians and they comprise both companies and individuals.’

The closing date for the tender was on Jan 30. Colliers International Property Consultants Sdn Bhd is the property agent for the exercise.

Colliers managing director Teh Teik Bin said the consultancy was now assessing the bids and the successful bidders would be finalised next month.

“The bidders are mostly Malaysians and they comprise both companies and individuals,” Teh said.

The five parcels of land are part of the prime land in the Lee family's estate.

A well-known philantrophist and community leader, Lee was a successful housing developer in the 1960s until his demise in 1983.

An industry observer said that in the wake of land scarcity in the Klang Valley, these parcels were among the last sizeable freehold land suitable for redevelopment into mixed property projects.

In the sale tender, a 7,239-sq-ft land in the prime location of Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, has a reserve price of RM50mil. The land is now occupied by The Malaysia Hotel.

The second piece, measuring 276,832 sq ft at 4 miles of Old Klang Road (near the Pearl International Hotel), has a reserve price of RM90mil.

The other three parcels are in Petaling Jaya.

A 265,245-sq-ft plot in Jalan SS23/15 in Taman SEA has a reserve price of RM150mil, and another piece of 82,715 sq ft in Jalan SS2/64, which is currently used as a car park, is going for RM100mil.

A vacant 84,315-sq-ft land made up of seven plots with old bungalows on two plots in Taman Tan Sri Lee Yan Lian in Section 16 has a reserve price of RM25mil.

By The Star