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MALAYSIAN ECONOMY NOT HEADING TOWARDS A RECESSION

Malaysia is not expected to enter a recession in 2019, despite weaker economic growth expected to adversely impact the economy on a minor scale. The Malaysian Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister denoted that the government will introduce measures to mitigate the effects of a forecast economic slowdown. The World Bank has cut Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for 2019 from 5.1% to 4.7%, whereas the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reduced Malaysia’s growth rate from 5.0% to 4.6%.

(The Star, 07/01/2019)


EAM: PRIVATE SECTOR CAN DEVELOP MALAYSIA WITH THE GOVERNMENT

The Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister (EAM) claims that property developers should be open to the idea of thoroughly implementing “disruptive technology”, which could largely assist in creating additional affordable housing in the country. The government must uncover methods on using these new disruptive technologies such as “Artificial Intelligence” and “Big Data” analysis to transform the housing eco-system in Malaysia.

(The Star & The Edge, 07/01/2019)


 

EPF CLARIFIES LAND PURCHASE DONE “IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER”

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has clarified that the purchase of Sungai Buloh land back in 2012 by its wholly owned subsidiary, Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd, was conducted in a professional manner. In a statement, the EPF stated that the purchase of 2,330 acres of land from Aset Tanah Nasional Berhad (ATNB), a 100% owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) by the Ministry of Finance, was done on an arm’s length basis for the development of the Kwasa Damansara. township. The fund denoted that it followed a strict framework in all of its investments, which required it to conduct robust due diligence prior to any transaction.

(NST, 05/01/2019)


 

IKHMAS JAYA’S RM57.94 MILLION CONTRACT TERMINATED WITH 81% COMPLETION

Ikhmas Jaya’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Ikhmas Jaya Sdn Bhd (IJSB), has received a letter from TTDI KL Metropolis terminating IJSB’s contract worth RM57.94 million for earthworks, piling and substructure works for a proposed 59-storey development at Mukim Batu. The project, awarded on November 28, 2016, has been 81% completed and the balance of works to be carried out is worth RM11 million.

(The Edge, 05/01/2019)


 

LBS BINA TO CONTINUE BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOUSES

Against a subdued property market backdrop, LBS Bina Group is maintaining its strategy of building affordable, middle cost housing which caters to the wider market. The property developer achieved sales of RM1.526 billion in 2018, which translates to a 7% growth compared with RM1.426 billion in 2017. Property projects to be unveiled in 2019 include double storey terraced houses in LBS Alam Perdana (Bandar Puncak Alam, Selangor), Residensi Bintang Bukit Jalil condominiums (Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur), double storey terraced houses in Bandar Putera Indah (Batu Pahat, Johor) and more than 1,000 affordable homes in Kita @ Cybersouth (Dengkil, Selangor).

(The Star & NST, 05/01/2019)


 

‘GO KL’ FREE BUS SERVICE TO EXPAND TO SETIAWANGSA & LEMBAH PANTAI

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is expanding the ‘GoKL’ bus service network towards areas within the Setiawangsa and Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituencies by February 2019.

(The Edge, 05/01/2019)


KLANG VALLEY DOUBLE TRACK 2 RAIL SET TO COMMENCE

The second phase of the Klang Valley Double Track (KVDT) rail upgrade is expected to commence in January 2019, beginning with the appointment of a new consultant for the project. Sources have also revealed estimates of the project cost that is between RM4 billion and RM4.5 billion is a substantial reduction from the original cost. Phase 2 of the KVDT project involves 110km of railway tracks spanning from the Kuala Lumpur station to Klang, Salak South to Seremban and Simpang Port Klang to Port Klang.

(The Star, 07/01/2019)


 

ASIA POLY TO GO INTO FOOD AND BEVERAGE

ACE Market firm,Asia Poly Holdings Bhd, plans to venture into the food and beverage (F&B) industry. Although both these segments have yet to officially take off and start contributing any profit, the small firm (with a market capitalisation of under RM30 million) intends on entering the F&B sector due to its “seemingly resilient factor”. The firm is in serious talks to collaborate with an established home-grown F&B group which currently has outlets in the Klang Valley. The plan for Asia Poly is to open more branches beyond the Klang Valley via a franchise agreement with the owners of the company, which would be a profitable move. Interestingly, the same F&B group is also contemplating an initial public offering exercise, slated to kick-off this year.

(The Star, 07/01/2019)


REVAMPED STORE OFFERS WIDER RANGE OF TOP BRANDS

Home and electrical store Harvey Norman has revamped its Pavilion Kuala Lumpur store, located at Level 5 of the mall. At the revamped store, gamers will be excited by the new range of gaming products available. There is also a photo centre providing various printing options. To provide more convenience, there is also a “click and collect” counter to facilitate collection of online purchases made.

(The Star, 07/01/2019)


 

ONE MILLION AFFORDABLE HOMES TO BE BUILT IN 10 YEARS

The Housing and Local Government Ministry plans to build one million units of affordable homes within the next 10 years to enable more people (especially low income earners), to be home owners. The ministry will coordinate all housing projects under Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) and will build 100,000 units a year beginning 2019. The 100,000 units will comprise affordable homes for all, especially those in the B40 group. The ministry was also in discussions with several financial institutions to introduce initiatives that could make it easier for those in the B40 group to become home owners, by allowing “easy to pay” monthly instalments. Their primary issue is coming up with deposit payments, so the ministry is in discussions with financial institutions to find a solution to this. The ministry is also discussing with Bank Negara and housing investors that agree assist in providing financing scheme.

(The Edge, 05/01/2019)


IJM TO BUILD RM4 BILLION THE LIGHT CITY IN 2019

In 3Q19, IJM Land Bhd will commence construction of “The Light City”, a RM4 billion integrated mixed-development scheme. IJM will redesign the project into two phases due to the current soft market condition. Construction works for the first phase, which comprises a retail mall with a 700,000 sq. ft. gross floor area, an international class hotel, a convention centre and a condominium project, are scheduled for completion in 2023. Construction cost for the first phase is estimated to be RM1.5 billion. As for the second phase, the group will first study market conditions prior to making a decision on proceeding. The second phase comprises a 400,000 sq. ft. retail mall, an international class hotel and another condominium project.

(The Star, 07/01/2019)


EWEIN PLANS TO LAUNCH “CITY OF DREAMS 2” IN 2020

Ewein Bhd is looking to launch the second phase of its maiden project “City of Dreams” in 2020, following the completion of the first phase at the end of 2019. Dubbed City of Dreams 2, the second phase will be situated on a 4.5 acre freehold site fronting G Hotel in Penang, with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1.2 billion. City of Dreams is a 3.67 acre seafront development located in Bandar Tanjong Pinang, overlooking Gurney Drive. About 15 out of 37 storeys of the serviced apartment project’s first phase have been built so far and it is on track for completion by the end of 2019. The first phase (offering 572 units in totality) has hit a sales rate of approximately 80% thus far and could be fully sold by the end of 2019. The built-up sizes of the first phase units range between 1,097 sq. ft. and 1,335 sq. ft., all of which offer 3 bedrooms. The second phase will be a single block offering smaller sized units, with the majority of them being two-bedroom units. City of Dreams is part of a 50 acre mixed development which comprises a university, hotel, offices, residential and commercial properties. The entire development will be developed over 10 years and has an estimated GDV of RM15 billion.

(The Edge, 05/01/2019)


PASIR GUDANG TO BE UPGRADED TO “CITY STATUS”

With a population of over 300,000 residents, Pasir Gudang, whose airspace rights are a subject of dispute between Malaysia and Singapore, will be upgraded by being given “city status” in 2019. Last month, Malaysia requested Singapore to withdraw its plan to implement the Instrument Landing System or change the flight route to Seletar Airport as the flight route would affect longer term development in Pasir Gudang as it would limit the height of buildings in the area. Pasir Gudang has been developing for quite some time now and has the potential to grow more rapidly, potentially with high rise buildings, upon being granted “city status”. With the upgrade in status, Pasir Gudang will be the third city after Johor Baru and Iskandar Puteri in the state of Johor.

(The Star, 07/01/2019)


MALAYSIA’S GDP GROWTH TO EASE TO 4.7% IN 2019 AND 4.5% IN 2020.

According to Moody’s Investors Service, Malaysia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to recede to 4.7% in 2019 after averaging around the 5% mark between 2015 and 2018, on the back of external headwinds. In terms of 2020, the economy is projected to moderate further to 4.5%.

 (The Sun & NST, 09/01/2019)


 

MALAYSIA, SINGAPORE MOVE TO SOLVE ISSUES

Malaysia and Singa­pore have agreed for both sides to instantaneously and simultaneously suspend, for a period of one month, Malaysia’s permanent restricted area over Pasir Gudang and Singapore’s implementation of the Instrument Landing System procedure for the Seletar Airport in Singapore.

(The Edge, NST, The Sun & The Star, 09/01/2019)


 

AIRASIA CEASES RM3 KLIA2 FEE COLLECTION

Effective January 7, 2019, AirAsia Group Bhd has stopped charging the RM3.00 per passenger fee for all flights departing from klia2. According to AirAsia, the KLIA2 fee was introduced in May 2014 to “cover the additional cost created at KLIA2” due to the use of mandatory facilities imposed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad including the usage of aerobridges, SITA check-in and boarding systems.

(The Edge, The Star & NST, 08/01/2019)


 

MY50 UNLIMITED TRAVEL PASS TO INCLUDE RAPIDPENANG

The My50 Unlimited Travel Pass programme will be extended to RapidPenang bus users by 2H19, according to the Malaysian Transport Ministry. The move was part of the second phase of the programme before it was expanded to other states. The My50 travel pass, introduced on December 1, 2018, allows commuters to have unlimited rides on all RapidKL buses and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) feeder buses for 30 days at a cost of RM50. It was launched with the My100 pass (costing RM100 and is valid for 30 days), which allows commuters to enjoy unlimited rides on all RapidKL rail and bus services including the MRT, Light Rail Transit (LRT), Monorail, Sunway bus rapid transit, RapidKL bus and MRT feeder bus.

(NST, The Star & The Sun, 09/01/2019)


 

JAKS FAILS AGAIN IN BID TO GET LEAVE TO APPEAL AGAINST RELEASE OF RM50 MILLION GUARANTEE TO STAR MEDIA

JAKS Resources Bhd has once again failed in its bid to attain the court’s permission to appeal against the release of a RM50 million bank guarantee to Star Media Group Bhd. The guarantee is in relation to an agreement between Star Media and JAKS’ unit, JAKS Island Circle Sdn Bhd, for the latter to develop a 15-storey tower in Petaling Jaya. JAKS and Star Media got into a dispute due to delays in the construction of the tower block. JAKS, which argued that the delays were partly due to changes in Star Media’s requirement for the tower’s design, retaliated with a suit to restrain the guarantee’s release.

(The Edge, 09/01/2018)


 

NEW LAUNCHES TO CONTRIBUTE TO SENTORIA’S SALES

Analysts are “upbeat” about Sentoria Group Bhd’s two new residential projects (to be unveiled in 2H19) in Sungai Petani and Langkawi as the group expands into northern Peninsular Malaysia. The Sungai Petani project will feature single storey semi-detached houses and single storey bungalow houses with a potential gross development value of RM129 million. In Langkawi, the group will construct the first phase of Langkawi Resort City, which will be rolled out after launching the Sungai Petani project. Sentoria plans to launch approximately RM740 million worth properties in 2019 in Morib, Kuantan and Kuching.

(NST, 09/01/2019)


 

TOURISM TAX REVENUE TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN 1Q19

The federal government will distribute the 50% tourism tax revenue to state governments in 1Q19, according to the Malaysian Finance Minister. The distribution would be made after the tourism tax revenue accounts for 2018 have been finalised. The distribution will be made without taking into consideration whether or not a state still has outstanding debts with the Federal Government.

(The Star, 08/01/2019)


HIGHER EARNINGS SEEN FOR PRIVATE HEALTHCARE

Malaysian private healthcare operators are set to see higher earnings in 2019, due to rising demand for their services from medical tourists. Fitch Solutions Macro Research ascertained that healthcare players will also benefit from the impact of the latest government policies which encourage health protection. The healthcare sector is expected to benefit from a recovery in private consumption, which will then translate into higher spending on private healthcare. The implementation of the “Skim Peduli Sihat” programme for example aims to make healthcare services more accessible to the B40 income group, which will increase the number of patients seeking treatment in private hospitals. The government also currently provides tax rebates for setting up new private hospitals, refurbishing existing establishments, purchasing new equipment and applying for international accreditation.

(The Star, 08/01/2019)


 

RIVER OF LIFE LISTED IN WORLD’S TOP 10 WATERFRONT DISTRICTS

Recently, the River of Life (ROL) has been listed in the world’s top 10 waterfront districts by “The Independent”, which is one of Britain’s online news portals. The ROL project was aimed at reviving the Klang River and Gombak River within the city, thereby transforming the banks into waterfront areas with economic and commercial value via river cleaning, beautification and land development. The first phase of the river beautification for Precinct 7 of the ROL project involves historic sites such as Dataran Merdeka, the Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque and Central Market, which are situated at the confluence of the two rivers. Other waterfronts that made it into the top 10 list were Shibuya Stream in Tokyo, Japan, Holzmarkt (Berlin, Germany), Tampa Riverwalk (Florida, US), Seaport District (New York, US), Elizabeth Quay (Perth, Australia), Clarke Quay (Singapore), Charoen Krung (Thailand), Sugar Beach (Canada) and Victoria Dockside (Hong Kong).

(The Star & The Sun, 09/01/2019)


 

PENANG ISLAND AND CHENGDU SIGN MOU TO STRENGTHEN TIES

The bilateral ties between Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the Chengdu Municipality in China are expected to improve significantly following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU). MBPP hoped that both cities could strengthen their cooperation in tourism, culture, gourmet, education and youth exchanges. Chengdu Municipal People’s Government ascertained that Penang has become its first friendship city in Malaysia following the signing of the MoU.

 (The Star, 08/01/2019)


 

PENANG SKY CAB ALIGNMENT MAY BE REVISED

The alignment of the proposed Penang Sky Cab cable car project, which will link Seberang Prai to the island, may encounter some changes. The initial alignment from Penang Sentral in Butterworth to Persiaran Karpal Singh in Jelutong may be changed to a location closer to the World Heritage Site in Georgetown. The project developer, Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), had previously obtained approval for the Environmental Impact Assessment from the Environment Department, however, changes are required. The developer has proposed changing the alignment from Butterworth to the Tanjung City Marina on the island, which is closer to the ferry terminal.

(NST, 08/01/2019)


 

PENANGITES TO ENJOY AFFORDABLE HOMES IN BATU MAUNG

According to the Housing and Local Government Minister, Penangites will enjoy affordable homes in Batu Maung as an affordable housing project is slated to begin as early as 2020 within the area. The affordable housing project is in the process of selecting a developer via open tender. Spanning across 10 acres, the ministry is planning on building approximately 1,666 units, priced at RM150,000, RM200,000 and at several other price points. It will be equipped with high-quality amenities and shareable facilities.

(The Edge, 08/01/2019)


KOTA KINABALU PORT AREA TO GET TOURISM BOOST

The old Kota Kinabalu (KK) Port area is set for a facelift with mega-development projects that will boost the tourism industry. The projects include the 15-acre Sabah International Convention Centre, the Kota Kinabalu Convention City (8.33 acres), Jesselton Quay (16.25 acres) and the One Jesselton Waterfront (7 acres). Also in its planning stages are the International Cruise Terminal and a ferry terminal. In terms of connectivity, the proposed ICT and other developments within the KK Port land would be integrated and linked by a boardwalk featuring shops, eateries, amusement centres and lodgings. To make way for the proposed ICT, plans are underway for the construction of a new terminal in Sapanggar Bay for the relocation of general cargo operations at the existing KK Port.

(The Star, 08/01/2019)


MALAYSIA’S ECONOMY FORECAST TO GROW 4.7% TO RM1.41 TRILLION IN 2019

The World Bank has forecasted Malaysia’s RM1.41 trillion economy to grow at 4.7% in 2019 and to contract to 4.6% in 2020. In its January 2019 Global Economic Prospects report titled ‘Darkening Skies’, the World Bank denoted that Malaysia’s lower public investment is weighing on growth, which reflects the completion of several infrastructure projects and a more prudent approach toward newer ones. The bank mentioned that in contrast to regional trends, import growth in Malaysia has been weak, thereby translating into subdued demand for capital goods imports combined with lower imports of intermediate goods. The report additionally highlighted that Malaysia had “pockets of vulnerabilities”, including high levels of public and private debt, external debt, and foreign participation in local-currency sovereign bond markets.

(NST, 10/01/2019)


MAHB MISSES 2018 PASSENGER VOLUME TARGET OF 6.5%

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) missed its passenger volume target in 2018 partly due to the shift of airline seat capacity by some of the local carriers and a lack of anticipated heightened passenger movements related to the 14th general election (GE14) that did not materialise. In 2018, the airport operator encountered 2.5% additional passengers passing through the 39 airports in the country that it operates, in which passengers increased to 99.03 million from 96.64 million in 2017. MAHB had formerly expected passenger volume to grow 6.5% in 2018. For 2019, MAHB has set a lower passenger growth target of 4.9%, with international and domestic passenger traffic growing at 2.4% and 7.6% respectively.

(The Star & The Edge, 11/01/2019)


IQI GLOBAL COLLABORATES WITH COMMON GROUND TO OFFER CO-WORKING SPACE

Global real estate agency, IQI Global, is partnering with Common Ground Works Sdn Bhd, Malaysia’s largest leading co-working space, to market communal workspaces. The signing ceremony between IQI Global and Common Ground Work Sdn Bhd took place in Common Ground, TTDI. Via this agreement, IQI’s agents will be bringing in potential clients to utilise various co-working spaces, services and amenities provided by Common Ground, which opened its first outlet in Damansara Heights in March 2017. The company now has 11 outlets in Malaysia and 2 in the Philippines and are planning to open in Bangkok and Jakarta.

(Starproperty.com.my & NST, 10/01/2019)


NEEDY FAMILIES GET NEW HOMES

Housing units under the People’s Housing Project (PPR) have been given to 40 hardcore poor and underprivileged families under the Baiti Jannati (My Home, My Paradise) @ Wilayah Persekutuan programme. Recipients of the housing units in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur need not pay monthly rental, but the units cannot be rented out or sold to a third party. However, they can be transferred to their children or heirs if they are within the same income category. The housing units, which had been fully restored and repaired, effectively “cost between RM50,000 and RM70,000 per unit.”

(The Star, 10/01/2019)


 

WCT AND CHINESE PARTNER TO DEVELOP FIRST RESIDENTIAL PROJECT IN TRX

WCT Holdings Bhd and China-based China Communications and Construction Group (CCCG), will jointly develop the first residential project at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), with an estimated gross development value of RM1.1 billion. WCT ascertained that its joint venture company with CCCG, CORE Precious Development Sdn Bhd officially held the groundbreaking ceremony to symbolise the commencement of project construction. CORE Precious is 20%-owned by WCT and 80% is owned by CCCG. The development features two serviced residence towers and one serviced apartment tower, which are scheduled to be completed at the end of 2022. The project features 700 residential units alongside “meditation decks, gyms, various gardens and pools.” The project will be opening exclusively for its sales preview in July 2019 and will be officially launched in November 2019.

(The Edge, The Sun & NST, 10/01/2019)


 

ECOFIRST TO LAUNCH PHASE TWO OF AMPANG UKAY IN 2H19

In 2H19, EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd will be launching phase two of the Ampang Ukay development, which carries a GDV of RM600 million. The “low density” condominium development will offer 656 units spread across three towers, with an indicative selling price of approximately RM480 per sq. ft. The units are sized from 1,600 sq. ft. including 1,800 sq. ft. dual key access units and limited premium units of 2,350 sq. ft., located at the rooftop Sky Terrace. Ampang Ukay is a mixed-development sitting on an 84-acre freehold site in Ampang Jaya. Phase one of Ampang Ukay known as LIBERTY@Ampang Ukay has registered a sales rate of 95% for 1,632 of its fully-furnished SoHo units, since the project was launched in 2017. Phase three of the development (currently in its planning stages) will be a mixed development scheme, comprising residential towers and commercial lots.

(The Edge, 11/01/2019)


 

SUN COMPLEX TO BE REBRANDED AND RENAMED

Sun Complex at Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, is now officially known as “Menara Hai-O”. Built in 1978, the 40-year old building of 20-storeys has 220 apartment units above several floors of office space. It is said to be one of the earliest high-rise developments in the country. The Hai-O Group, which owns 80% of the commercial lots, has been operating at Sun Complex since 1996 and has spent close to RM4 million for renovation works, which lasted approximately seven months.

(The Edge, 11/01/2019)


 

IJM LAND PLANS TO LAUNCH RM1.7 BILLION WORTH OF PROPERTIES IN FY2020

In FY20 ending March 31, 2020, IJM Land Bhd plans to launch properties worth RM1.7 billion in gross development value (GDV). For FY19, IJM has launched projects with an estimated total GDV of RM1.6 billion in Penang, the Klang Valley, Seremban, Johor and Sabah. In FY19, IJM had launched two storey link homes in Bandar Rimbayu and Seremban 2 townships; single and double storey terraced homes in Shah Alam; and affordable apartment units within Pantai Sentral Park, Bandar Rimbayu and Seremban 2. Other launches were new phases in Austin Duta, Johor, comprising two storey terraced and cluster homes; and two storey homes in Bandar Utama. Additional phases will be launched in FY20, which are an extension of the projects introduced in FY19. The developer’s confidence is buoyed by the good traction received for its projects such as Permatang Sanctuary (60% sold) and 3 Residence in Penang (70% sold). Meanwhile, previously launched Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Pantai Sentral Park comprising the 211-unit Inwood Residences and 243-unit Secoya Residences, are 90% and 70% sold respectively, whereby vacant possession for Inwood Residences is scheduled for early 2019.

Projects that the developer is looking to launch in FY20 include: Phase 2 of Riana Dutamas and Phase 3 of Pantai Sentral Park. Undertaken by 368 Segambut Sdn Bhd, a joint-venture between FCW Holdings Bhd and IJM Land, Riana Dutamas is a mixed development with a GDV of RM1.5 billion. Located on Jalan Segambut, the first phase of Riana Dutamas, which was launched in 2018, features a 36-storey tower with 1,018 residential units and five levels of parking lots. To be launched in 3Q19, Phase 2 of Riana Dutamas will comprise 922 units of serviced apartments with built-ups ranging from 720 sq. ft. to 1,210 sq. ft. for its two-to-four bedroom units, but prices have yet to be set. Meanwhile, Pantai Sentral Park is a mixed development comprising seven residential and six commercial phases, with a GDV of RM5.6 billion. The 58-acre JV project between IJM Land and Amona Development Sdn Bhd lies adjacent to the 200-acre Bukit Kerinchi forest reserve and is set to be completed within 10 to 15 years. Its first launch was the Inwood Residences serviced apartment in June 2014.

(The Edge Property, 11/01/2019)


DBKL TO OPEN CAPSULE HOTEL FOR KL LOW-INCOME SINGLES

Low-income unmarried individuals living in the Federal capital will get to rent rooms from as low as RM100 a month under a “micro-housing” scheme starting in 2019. The initiative was introduced by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to help reduce the burden of single people in the B40 group who faced difficulties in renting a room in the federal capital. DBKL will be implementing the concept of capsule hotels in which an old DBKL building in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman will be modified into two blocks, whereby one would be allocated for men and the other for women, with 120 rooms each. The two-block building can accommodate up to 200 occupants and they are merely required to pay rent as low as RM100.

(The Edge & The Star, 10/01/2019)


0% INTEREST ON FIRST RM100,000 OF HOUSING LOANS FOR BANK EMPLOYEES

Circa 20,000 bank employees comprising those in clerical and non-clerical categories from 20 banks will enjoy 0% interest on their housing loans for the first RM100,000 tranche. All member banks under the Malayan Commercial Banks’ Association (MCBA) have agreed to grant the benefit, effective April 1, 2019. This benefit will raise the disposable income of the employees, particularly the B40 (Bottom 40 per cent household income group) category and will also support the government’s effort to increase home ownership among low income communities. The 0% interest rate also applies to employees who have existing housing loans.

(The Edge, 11/01/2019)


 

PROPERTY INVENTORY WORSENING, BUT DEVELOPERS WITH UNSOLD UNITS STILL BUILDING

The level of unsold property inventory is continuing to worsen despite the fact that developers have been aggressively unwinding their unsold units over the past two years. RHB Research denoted that a number of developers have still launched various new projects to boost property sales despite holding slow-moving inventory in existing projects. Based on latest financial data, unsold and ongoing projects and revenue, as well as unsold and ongoing projects and sales target ratios for many companies have worsened, as property sales and billings from newer or ongoing projects have been subdued, whereas older projects with low sales rates are being completed.

According to the Real Estate & Housing Developers’ Association’s survey in 1H18, the glut is mainly evident within the high-end segments such as detached and semi-detached units, and the high-rise segment in Johor. Affected areas in the Greater Klang Valley include Puchong, Shah Alam and Seremban. Regarding the outlook for 2019, property sales are expected to remain flat in 2019, as many developers remain cautious amid subdued sentiment levels. Given the sluggish property market outlook, most developers will either lower or maintain their sales targets for 2019.

(The Star, 10/01/2019)


 

NATIONAL HOMEOWNERSHIP CAMPAIGN BEGINS IN MARCH 2019, OFFERING COMPLETED HOMES WITH “AT LEAST 10% OFF”

The National Homeownership Campaign, which was revived in Budget 2019 to tackle the high number of unsold homes in the country, will begin March 1, 2019 and will feature approximately 30,115 completed homes, according to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT). Set to be unveiled at a three-day launch event from March 1 to 3, 2019, the campaign is expected to involve 180 developers and banks that will assist buyers with their loan applications for homes that will be discounted by “at least 10%.” Among the 30,115 homes that will be showcased at the upcoming campaign, 10,410 units are priced below RM300,000, 7,561 units between RM300,000 and RM500,000 and the remaining 12,144 units are priced at RM501,000 and above.

The discount on the selling prices and other offers will be made available to buyers for a tentative period of one year after the three-day event. In Budget 2019, the Malaysian Finance Minister announced that in order to address the issue of unsold homes, the government will exempt stamp duty on the instrument of transfer and the loan agreement for purchases of homes valued between RM300,001 and RM1 million. This will only be relevant for first-time homebuyers for a six month period, commencing January 1, 2019. This will be part of the National Home Ownership Campaign, where developers will offer a minimum price discount of 10%.

(The Edge, 11/01/2019)


 

WORK ON DIGITAL VILLAGE AT HI-TECH PARK TO START SOON

The construction of a Digital Village at the Sama Jaya Hi-Tech Park in Kuching is set to begin in January 2019 and is expected to be completed within 18 months. The Digital Village is set up under Sarawak’s Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2025 to facilitate technological transference and to accelerate the maturity of start-ups via global partnerships. Initiatives at the Digital Village include “Launch Sarawak”, a programme to support innovation, intellectual property creation and spin-offs, scale-up programmes and an open lab.

(The Star, 10/01/2019)


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Jones Lang Wootton