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Ministry mulls measures to strengthen MM2H programme

March 27th, 2017 No comments

EligibilityforMM2HThe Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture is looking to roll out several initiatives to strengthen the programme, possibly from the third quarter of 2017.

Among them is a plan to raise the visa fee for the Social Visit Pass by 30% to meet the rising administrative cost (the current fee for the Social Visit Pass is RM90 per year). It is targeting total collections of RM7.5 million including visa fees in 2017, says Ministry of Tourism deputy secretary general (tourism) Nor Yahati Awang.

“The collection depends on the number of approved applications. Last year, we targeted RM7 million, but we did better than our target so, this year we are targeting RM7.5 million, ” she tells TheEdgeProperty.com.

In 2016, the Ministry achieved total collections of RM8 million including RM6.85 million in visa fees under the programme. The number of applicants approved in 2016 (up to November) was 2,333.

“It is a positive figure for our efforts and we will not rest on our laurels. We will continue to explore and promote the programme to new potential markets,” says Nor Yahati.

Since the programme’s establishment in 2002, the total amount of approved applications as of last November stood at 31,723.

The highest number of approved applicants were from China (7,976), followed by Japan (4,127), Bangladesh (3,399), UK (2,361), Iran (1,331) and Singapore (1,258).

The MM2H programme was established by the Malaysian government to allow foreigners, who fulfil certain criteria, to live in Malaysia for up to 10 years on a multiple-entry and renewable Social Visit Pass.

MM2H is open to citizens of all countries recognised by Malaysia regardless of race, religion, gender or age and applicants are allowed to bring their spouses and unmarried children below the age of 21 as dependents. The programme aims to tap into the pool of financially-independent expatriates whose settlement in Malaysia could contribute to the local economy.

The Ministry also plans to raise the applicants’ financial requirements, specifically their fixed deposit amount.

“We want to get quality and qualified candidates for the programme. Quality applicants refer to people who have extremely stable financial conditions and are clear of criminal records — meaning they will not be a threat to our country.

“We have been in collaboration with local and international banks, the immigration department as well as the police force to scrutinise all applicants. Hence, there is no doubt about those who are approved for the MM2H programme,” she stresses.

The Ministry also wants to attract more participants to reside in other states outside of the Klang Valley. “We do not want MM2H participants to just focus on Kuala Lumpur and Selangor only. We would also like them to look at purchasing properties in other parts of Malaysia like Penang, Malacca, Johor and East Malaysia — Sabah and Sarawak.

“It is all a work-in-progress for us and we will work hand-in-hand with industry players to make all these happen. Our main aim is always to get more participants for this programme,” Nor Yahati adds.

MM2H is currently being promoted through the Tourist Development Corporation offices, more fondly known as Tourism Malaysia abroad, roadshows at international property conferences, MM2H’s official portal and through strategic partners namely the Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and local banks in Malaysia as well as through the National MM2H Agents Association, says Nor Yahati. Tourism Malaysia has 35 offices in various parts of the world.

However, the number of MM2H applicant approvals have been on the decline after 2013 when the programme recorded its highest number of approvals at 3,675. In 2014, the number of approvals was 3,074 — a 16.4% drop from 2013 while in 2015 there were 2,211 applications approved, 28.1% down from the previous year. MM2H declined to disclose the number of applications received.

Nor Yahati attributes the decline to competition from neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Thailand where the property industry targeting foreign buyers is rapidly developing. The global economic slowdown and uncertainty is also a contributing factor, she says.

“But I believe they [applicants] will be back [to Malaysia] because we stand out in terms of political stability and our multicultural society,” says Nor Yahati, adding that Malaysia was ranked in the International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index the sixth best place to retire in 2017.

Nor Yahati also reiterates that the objectives of MM2H are to increase economic activity and to boost the high-end property segment in Malaysia.

“Moreover, with the minimum property purchase price for foreign buyers set at RM1 million, middle-income Malaysians who are looking to own a home will not be affected.

“Participants of MM2H are like ambassadors for Malaysia as they will share their experience with their friends and family back in their home country. Word-of-mouth is the best promotion for the programme,” she adds.

Source: TheEdgeProperty.com.my

 

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E&O launches final batch of landed homes at Seri Tanjung Pinang 1

March 24th, 2017 2 comments

SeriTanjungPinang1Eastern and Oriental Bhd (E&O) launched its final batch of landed residential properties at Seri Tanjung Pinang 1 here, yesterday.

The final release comprises just 35 units of terraced houses in the second phase of Ariza Seafront Terraces.

The 2.5-storey freehold terraced houses have built-ups ranging from 3,236 sq ft to 3,526 sq ft, with prices starting from RM2.19 million. Phase one comprising 33 units was launched in 2009 and fully sold.

The latest homes are targeted at those who are looking for an upgrade or for investment purposes, E&O senior general manager for group marketing and sales Wayne Wong told TheEdgeProperty.com.

Wong added that the estimated total gross development value of these homes is RM90 million and the completion of the project is slated for March 2019.

Seri Tanjung Pinang is Penang Island’s largest master planned seafront project. Developed over two phases, it features residential enclaves and a festive retail marina that bring to life the concept of living by the sea for the more than 20 nationalities residing there.

“Ariza Courtyard Terraces was the maiden launch at Seri Tanjung Pinang in 2005. In the subsequent 12 years, the success of our homes here was evident, with residents enjoying the maturing landscape of linear gardens in place of standard back lanes that were typical of link homes.

“E&O paid homage to the rich architectural history of Penang, by drawing inspiration from the Straits eclectic style building façades, as well as the incorporation of high ceilings and internal courtyards suited for our tropical climate,” said Wong.

Last December, the group launched Amaris Terraces By-The-Sea terraced houses which has achieved 65% take-up to date.

“Standard units are available from RM3.68 million. The spaciousness of these 3-storey freehold homes and the inclusion of an elevator are ideal to accommodate ‘multi-generational’ living. The total built-up areas are almost the size of Seri Tanjung Pinang’s super semi-dees and villas, ranging from 5,262 sq ft for intermediate units to 6,540 sq ft for corner units — a rare offering especially when landed homes with a prime seafront location are becoming a luxury around the world,” said Wong.

All Amaris units have central courtyards to enhance air circulation from their sea-fronting orientation and to welcome natural light.

“These linear lawns have proved very popular in terms of aesthetic appeal as they allow residents to enjoy the gardens safely and conveniently,” Wong added.

Despite the market slowdown, Wong is confident that there is still demand for innovative products offering distinctive concepts, branding and delivery as well as those in niche locations.

“Of late, Malaysians residing overseas as well as savvy investors from Singapore and Hong Kong have shown interest in E&O’s properties in Penang, underscoring the sentiment that it is time to invest in our market,” said Wong.

“Our track record at Seri Tanjung Pinang is clearly visible to all, having in a decade, become a highly desired address on Penang Island,” Wong pointed out.

Source: TheEdgeProperty.com.my

 

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Malaysia’s affordable housing undersupply may ‘worsen’

March 24th, 2017 No comments

Bank NegaraThe undersupply of affordable houses in Malaysia may worsen, given current income and demographic factors, according to Bank Negara Malaysia’s 2016 Annual Report.

Bank Negara said since 2012, the increase in house prices in the country had outstripped the rise in income levels.

“Consequently, prevailing median house prices are beyond the reach of most Malaysians. This is primarily attributable to a gross mismatch between housing supply and demand, amid diverging expectations between households and developers.

“The issue has been compounded by the fact that the distribution of new housing supply has been concentrated in the higher-priced categories. The undersupply of housing is particularly acute in the affordable housing segment,” Bank Negara said.

Looking ahead, Bank Negara said a carefully-designed strategy of policy intervention would be required for the housing market to ensure it is able to accommodate households of all income groups.

Bank Negara said government and private sector commitment is needed to meet demand for affordable houses in the country.

“The establishment of a central agency to consolidate the provision of affordable housing, as well as a central repository, is key.

“Additionally, reducing costs associated with the development of affordable housing through the implementation of cost-saving and productivity-enhancing technologies would increase the speed and scale of delivery of affordable housing projects, going forward,” Bank Negara said.

On the demand side, Bank Negara said development of the rental market to bridge the affordability gap could relieve pressure on the government to build all the affordable housing needed.

This should be complemented by more innovative schemes to fund delivery of affordable houses, according to the central bank.

Source: TheEdgeProperty.com.my

 

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Gurney Drive listed among best streets to visit around the world

March 22nd, 2017 No comments

gurney-drive-futurePenang has made the tourism headlines again after Gurney Drive was listed in the “Best streets for tourists to visit around the world: 25 to see before you die” list by Traveller, an Australian travel resource.

Gurney Drive was in 13th place which is sandwiched by Hollywood Road in Hong Kong at 12th and The Dark Hedges of Northern Ireland at 14th.

“The seafront promenade in Penang offers some of the best street food in all of Asia,” the website noted.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at a press conference today with state Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law lauded the achievement.

He noted Penang was one out of four Asian cities to have made the list with Hong Kong in 12th, Khao San Road of Bangkok in 19th and Shijo Avenue of Kyoto in 23rd while the Champs-Elysees of Paris was first.

“The state government will continue to develop the tourism industry in Penang,” he added.

The recent accolade adds to a growing list of recognition after CNN recommended Penang as one of the 17 best places to visit for 2017 in January this year.

This was followed by a CNN travel article in February which noted the state should not only be known for good food but also for street art, Penang Hill, Balik Pulau and the Thaipusam festival.

Source: TheSundaily.my

 

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Eco World plans to launch Eco Sun and Eco Horizon this year

March 17th, 2017 No comments

eco-world-2017

Property developer Eco World Development Group Bhd is confident of hitting its sales target of RM4bil this year after securing more than RM900mil in the first four months of the company’s current financial year ending Oct 31, 2017.

President and chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah said sales this year would be driven by 15 of the company’s ongoing projects, as well as several new ones planned for launch in the second half of this year.

The company plans to launch Eco Forest and Eco Business Park V in the Klang Valley, as well as Eco Sun and Eco Horizon in Penang.

“We plan to launch the projects either in the third or fourth quarter of this year,” Chang told reporters after the company’s AGM here.

Eco Forest has a gross development value (GDV) of RM3.5bil; Eco Sun and Eco Horizon have a collective GDV of RM7.76bil and Eco Business Park V a GDV of RM2.75bil.

“Going forward, we’re confident of meeting our sales target for 2017,” said Chang.

Eco World’s net profit surged 461% to RM116.17mil in the first quarter ended Jan 31, 2017 compared with RM20.67mil in the same period last year, due to a gain on dilution of its equity interest in Paragon Pinnacle, a unit of the company.

The developer saw revenue for the quarter jumping to RM592.71mil against RM463.51mil previously.

Eco World said the percentage increase in net profit was significantly higher than the percentage increase in revenue mainly due to the inclusion of a gain of RM94.8mil which arose from the application of FRS 10 – consolidated financial statements to recognise the impact of the change in the company’s interest in Paragon Pinnacle from a 100% subsidiary to a 60% joint venture.

This took place following the subscription by the Employees Provident Fund of 40% of Paragon Pinnacle’s enlarged share capital pursuant to the terms of the subscription and shareholders’ agreement between the parties.

Eco World said in the case of Paragon Pinnacle, the successful launch of Eco Grandeur, the development activities and other work performed since the acquisition of the land in Ijok had substantially enhanced the fair value of its underlying assets.

Accordingly, the value of the company’s retained 60% equity interest in Paragon Pinnacle has increased, resulting in the gain being recorded on the day the dilution took place.

For the first four months of the current financial year, the company secured RM955mil in sales, which was 57% higher than the RM607.8mil achieved in the first four months of 2016.

A total of RM797mil was contributed by projects in the Klang Valley, while the remaining RM158mil was from projects in Johor and Penang.

Chang said Eco World’s landbank stood at 8,000 acres, with 55% in the Klang Valley. The company has remaining landbank in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor and Penang.

“About 2,500 acres have already been developed,” he said.

Source: TheStar.com.my

 

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