Archive for the ‘Property News’ Category

Construction, renovation sector may not generate RM5bil worth of jobs in Penang

June 18th, 2012 No comments

GEORGE TOWN: The construction and renovation industry in Penang may not be able to generate RM5bil worth of jobs this year as forecast by the Penang Master Builders’ and Building Materials Dealers Association (PMBBMDA).

PMBBMDA president Lim Kai Seng said there had been a lower demand for construction materials from the residential housing segment since late last year.

“This is reflected in the jobs obtained for the first quarter of 2012.

“For the first three months, according to the latest CIDB report, the construction and renovation industry of Penang generated about RM543mil worth of jobs for PMBBMDA members.

“Usually the figures are about 10% higher,” he said in an interview.

Of the RM543mil worth of contracts, about RM133mil were government jobs, while the remaining RM409mil were from the private sector.

Last year, according to the latest Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) report, about RM4.9bil worth of jobs were generated by residential, non-residential, social amenities, and infrastructure projects in Penang for PMBBMDA members.

Some RM1.1bil worth of contracts came from the government sector, while the remaining RM3.8bil were from the private sector.

About RM3.52bil worth of properties are expected to be launched in the second half 2012 by four Kuala Lumpur-based developers SP Setia Bhd,Mah Sing Group Bhd, IJM Land Bhd, and Sunway Group Bhd.

SP Setia plans to launch about RM2.5bil worth projects on the island, of which approximately RM638mil are scheduled for launching in the second half, and RM1.7bil in 2013.

In the second half 2012, the key projects included the RM250mil Setia Triangle, the RM335mil Setia Greens 2, and a RM53mil condominium project in Teluk Kumbar.

In 2013, SP Setia plans to launch RM1.1bil mixed-development project in Tanjung Bungah, a RM175mil condominium project in Sungai Nibong, and the Wave and Breeze condominium projects for Setia Pearl Island, with a gross development value of RM350mil and RM300mil respectively.

Among Mah Sing’s projects for 2013 are two residential suite towers in the RM329mil Southbay Plaza, which is part of the Southbay City project.

IJM Land’s new launches for the second half of 2012 total about RM500mil, which included the RM300mil Light Collection 3 next to the Penang Bridge, while Sunway’s projects for late 2012 comprised about RM200mil worth of residential projects in Sungai Ara in south-west district of the island.

“This would translate to about RM2.1bil worth of construction and renovation work for our members over the next three years.

“Actually, there should be no problem for the industry to generate RM5bil worth of jobs, as we are considering only the projects of four Kuala Lumpur-based developers.

“We have yet to consider projects from other developers in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

“But because of the economic climate, we expect a slowdown in the launch of new projects or reduction in the size of projects for this year,” he said.

As the demand for construction materials for the residential sector has softened over the past 12 months, the pricing of cement has also not gone above RM15 per 50 kg bag, which has been maintained at this level since late last year.

At the peak two years ago, the pricing of cement was above RM18 per 50kg bag.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Hardware, Machinery and Building Materials Dealers’ Association executive adviser Datuk Steven Siah Kok Poay said there was generally pessimism about the demand from the residential construction sector this year.

“In comparison, the industrial construction sector is still okay, as the private and international companies are still executing projects.

“As for government projects, there is delay in their implementation.

“So far, this year the sale of building materials to the residential sector have declined by a double-digit percentage,” Siah said.

Source: The Star

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10 proposals to lower house prices

June 18th, 2012 6 comments

PETALING JAYA: The Finance Ministry, concerned about soaring home prices, has sought the help of the National House Buyers Association (HBA) to find solutions to the problem.

Responding to the request early this month, the HBA has proposed 10 measures to address the problem and, hopefully, bring prices down.

HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Leong said immediate intervention was needed to prevent a “homeless generation” of Malaysians, warning that the country would face a social crisis if the majority of lower and middle income earners did not have access to affordable housing.

He called on the Government to take the lead in developing affordable homes and not leave it to property developers “who are profit-maximising entities”.

One of the measures proposed by the association is to disallow those who bought homes under the affordable housing projects from selling their property, effectively only allowing them to transfer it to their next of kin.

This was to prevent people from trying to make a quick profit, he said yesterday.

The association proposed that the Government unlock its land banks in various locations and give priority to affordable housing projects rather than high-end properties.

“By affordable, we mean between RM150,000 and RM300,000,” said Chang.

“Once a property is purchased, the buyer should not be allowed to sell the property other than transfer it to the next of kin,” he said.

However, there should be a provision to allow the buyer to sell it to another owner after 10 years of acquiring the property or, before that period, to sell the house back to the Government.

Chang said another strategy was to penalise speculators, who played a major role in inflating property prices.

He proposed a higher stamp duty and real property gains tax as well as tighter mortgage rules for those buying a third property and subsequent properties.

“Not only will this discourage speculation, but it will also provide increased revenue for the Government to develop affordable housing,” he said, adding that prices would drop as only real demand would exist in the market.

Chang said the HBA proposed 100% financing only for those buying low or medium-cost homes.

“Those buying high-end property or a third and subsequent property should have limited access to funding,” he added.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim said the ministry had received HBA’s proposals and would look at ways to address the issue.

Source: The Star

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Lim: Planning committee to look into hill development exceeding 76m

June 12th, 2012 No comments

GEORGE TOWN: Development on hills above 76m, whether approved or unapproved, will be referred to the state planning committee, chaired by Lim Guan Eng.

The Chief Minister said these projects, including those approved as “special projects” by the previous administration, should be referred to the committee, which comprises several state executive councillors.

“At least let us be aware of all projects – even those above 76m. I don’t want to only know about it from the newspapers,” he said to reporters in Komtar yesterday.

“I, as the head of the state government, and state Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow do not want to be the last to know. At the same time, we can explore other remedies to prevent projects above 76m from starting.”

Lim also met Sungai Ara residents who have protested over two hillside development projects. He said these were approved on Sept 13, 1996, by the previous state government as a “special project”.

“Following this discovery, we’ve decided that such projects should be referred to the planning committee.

“When this project was reported in the press, it shocked me that this was happening. I thought there must have been a system failure that failed to detect the projects above 76m.

“I contacted Penang Municipal Council president Patahiyah Ismail and she told me that they followed the procedures and passed the requirements as it was taken out of the category as a ‘special project’, and approved by the previous state government,” he said.

Lim said the current state government was unhappy that the 76m limit had been breached because of previous approvals, adding that the details of 31 such projects by the previous state government would be released.

Source: The Star

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Penang CM defends hill projects

June 8th, 2012 No comments

GEORGE TOWN: Lim Guan Eng has defended the Penang Government’s stand in treating hillslope development, saying that it has the “most stringent” guidelines for it.

The Penang Chief Minister said the present state government had not approved a single project above 250 feet (76m) high, adding that it was the only state in Malaysia which had set such a bar.

“Penang has the most stringent guidelines for hillslope safety development in the country, crafted by Oxford-trained geotechnical engineer Prof Dr Gue See Sew, a former international chairman of the coordinating committee of Apec Engineers and president of the Institute of Engineers Malaysia,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said that half of the 38 hillslope projects approved the last two years for heights below 76m were for open space and green areas without any building structures.

Lim took a swipe at some other states, which he said allowed development on hills above the height of 76m.

“Thirty-one development projects were approved by the previous Barisan Nasional state government on hill land above 250 feet (76m) compared to none by the present Pakatan Rakyat state government,” he added.

He said according to the Penang Municipal Council, eight projects on hills above 76m were approved from 1985 to 2004, three in 2005, 10 in 2006, eight in 2007 and two between January and March 2008.

The chief minister also addressed the issue of the rise in property prices, saying that there was also a similar rise in Johor and Kuala Lumpur.

The Star had reported on Penang’s various hillslope projects and the rise in property prices in the state.

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) here has called on the state government to practise sustainable development.

Citizens Awareness Chant group adviser Yan Lee said hillslope developments would effect environmentally sensitive water catchment areas like Sungai Ara.

“Such developments require proper studies and environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports. Some projects do not require an EIA because of the development size but nonetheless, one should be done if the projects threaten the environment,” he said.

Lee said the Federal Government, through the relevant ministry, had the discretion to request an EIA in such a situation, expressing hope that such discretion would be exercised in hillslope developments here.

“A crematorium project about 1km away from the Ayer Itam Dam recently received planning permission from the Penang Municipal Council. This is an example of where the EIA report is needed, though not required.”

Source: The Star

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Lure of Penang sees spike in property prices

June 7th, 2012 No comments

GEORGE TOWN: The scarcity of land on Penang island and its lure as a tourist destination and a second home for foreign retirees have caused residential property prices to soar by more than 25% over the past five years.

According to real estate valuers, the prices are among the highest in Malaysia, which is why the Consumers Association of Penang claimed that only the rich could live on the island a world heritage city.

A survey by The Star revealed that condominium units in Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah and Gurney Drive which front the sea are being sold at astronomical prices, in some cases beginning with RM2mil for a 1,000 sq ft unit.

Even pre-war houses in the inner city for example, in Campbell Street have been snapped up mostly by non-Penangites, who have turned them into boutique hotels or simply kept them because of their architectural beauty.

The prices of the houses have rocketed from about RM500,000 in 2007 to approximately RM800,000 today an increase of about 30%.

Raine & Horne Malaysia director Michael Geh said the increase was among the steepest in the Pulau Tikus, Gurney Drive, Tanjung Tokong, and Tanjung Bungah residential neighbourhoods, which experienced a rise of over 25% in prices of condominium units.

Other areas where prices of condominium units and terrace and semi-detached houses have shot up by at least 25% are Bayan Baru, Sungai Ara, Minden Heights and Batu Maung.

The medium-range housing schemes in George Town neighbourhoods of Perak Road, MacCallum Street, Burmah Road, Jelutong Road and Sungai Pinang have not been spared.

“These have seen over a 25% increase in prices over the past five years,” Geh said.

An apartment located in such a neighbourhood cost RM180,000 in 2007 but is now RM250,000,

Geh said the rise in property prices had driven many people to buy homes in Seberang Prai, where property prices are a third of those on the island.

“But we are seeing property prices on the mainland rising as well,” he added.

An apartment in Butterworth town is now selling for RM250,000, compared to RM180,000 five years ago, while a terrace house now costs RM500,000, compared to RM300,000 in 2007.

Given the rise of raw materials prices and the scarcity of land, property prices in Penang were expected to continue rising, Geh added.

Meanwhile, Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow said there were only one or two major hillslope projects during the previous administration. Now, there were hillslope projects all over the island.

He said the present guidelines on hillslope development were adequate, but the state government should be more stringent in enforcing them.

Source: The Star

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