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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Residents voice concern over project

RESIDENTS who attended the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) objection hearing session for a proposed residential high-rise project in Wangsa Maju Section 10 recently came out of it with the uncertainty of the safety of the forest located next to their homes.

According to Sheena Moses, 24, a green building consultant who has been living in Sri Ledang Condominium for more than 15 years, the authorities were not very receptive to a few of the issues they raised at the meeting.

Among the major concerns of the residents in the area is the loss of the green space, one of the remaining few in the area, as well as a worsened congestion problem.

A previous front page article by StarMetro published on Sept 13, quoted another resident Aisyah Farhanah Mohamad, 24, an intern at a local environmental organisation saying they were already facing the possibility of the latter problem.

“There are two upcoming projects nearby, one involving six 30-storey blocks and the other another high-rise residential development. These are along the main road leading into this area and will definitely cause an influx of people here,” she said.

They also say that cars are frequently parked along both sides of the roads close to the homes and rush hour congestion is very bad as there is only one access road to the area.

Those staying in the area are from the Wangsa Maju Section 10 low-cost flats as well as Sri Ledang, Sri Kinabalu, Sri Jelatek, Sri Lojing and Desa Villas Condominiums.

During the meeting, they were informed that the project does not involve developing the entire plot and 20%, consisting of Class 3 and 4 slopes, will be maintained.

The project in question will involve the construction of three 26-storey apartment blocks consisting of 721 units with a five-storey carpark podium as well as increase the population density from 60 people per acre to 319 people per acre.

As of the hearing date, the Facebook page they started to save the forest as well as an online petition has garnered more than 2,700 supporters.

By The Star

OSK Property to buy land in Petaling Jaya

KUALA LUMPUR: OSK Property Holdings Bhd has proposed to purchase a commercial land in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, for RM12 million.

OSK said the acquisition will enable it to increase its existing property development land banks and strengthen its presence in the bustling development area northwest of Kuala Lumpur.

The company intends to develop the land which is situated inside a matured residential area of Bandar Sri Damansara by the third quarter of 2013.

By Business Times

Property cooling measures pay

The sitting room of a condominium in world’s tallest luxury residence in Singapore. Statistics suggest that foreign buying interest has picked up again after the market initially cooled in response to the measures. — EPA

Singapore collects US$500mil from additional stamp duties

SINGAPORE: The taxman has collected more than half a billion dollars from additional stamp duties imposed as part of property cooling measures.

The additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) has contributed the bulk of that US$450mil between its inception on Dec 8 last year and the end of last month.

A further US$51mil has come from the seller's stamp duty since it was implemented in February 2010, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) said. According to Iras' annual report, it collected US$2.5bil in stamp duty from sale and purchase agreements in its financial year ended March 31, 2011.

The ABSD take includes about US$261mil collected from foreigners who are not permanent residents (PRs), who bought about 1,400 homes in the nine months to the end of last month, Iras told The Straits Times.

These foreigners comprised about one in four of the buyers who have paid the additional tax.

The figures seem to suggest that foreign buying interest has picked up again after the market initially cooled in response to the measures. In the first four months after the tax was introduced, foreigners paid US$66.2mil in ABSD on the purchase of 369 private homes.

Afterwards, the tax take and transactions shot up, with about US$200mil collected in the subsequent five months on more than 1,000 homes bought. Experts said this trend was also borne out on the ground.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's Realis website shows that non-PR foreigners bought 358 homes in the first three months of the year or 5.4% of private home purchases. In the second quarter, they snapped up 637 homes 6.7% of private home sales led largely by renewed interest in city centre and city fringe homes.

These numbers are still well below the quarterly sales average of 1,369 foreign-bought units seen last year.

International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong said that while foreign buyers held back from purchases when the additional buyer's stamp duty was first announced, continued uncertainty in the global economy had led them to reconsider Singapore. “Singapore is still a safe haven, and for high-net-worth individuals, their goal of wealth preservation might have overridden their concerns of the ABSD,” he said.

By Asia News Network/ST

Australians’ unusual habit with home mortgages

SYDNEY: Australians have an unusual habit of paying off their mortgages much faster than borrowers in most other rich nations, a valuable trait that gives households a safety buffer were the economy to slow sharply.

Around half of all borrowers are ahead on mortgage payments, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reported yesterday, a level only reached by Canada among developed nations.

“In this way, many households have a buffer that they could temporarily draw on to stay current on their loan repayments if their incomes were to fall,” the central bank said in its semi-annual report on financial stability.

This peculiar feature of the Australian market was noted by officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the country recently to assess the local banking system. It was one reason the IMF awarded the banks top marks in a series of stress tests, setting them apart from many of their global peers.

In total, the RBA estimated mortgage prepayment buffers in Australia were equivalent to around one-and-a-half years of scheduled repayments based on current interest rates.

Indeed, the RBA said liaison with major banks suggested 15% of borrowers were ahead by two years or more.

By Reuters