Archive for the ‘Property News’ Category

Project to widen highway bottleneck starts this month

January 25th, 2012 No comments

THE Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway in Penang is finally set to have three lanes on both sides of its entire stretch.

A bottleneck near the Batu Uban marine police base which reduces the three lanes (on each side) to two is undergoing a road-widening project that began this month.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the RM3.7mil project was undertaken as a corporate social responsibility initiative by IJM Corporation Berhad.

“This expansion and upgrade essentially resolves a 10-year-old problem of a 2km traffic jam caused by the road narrowing from three to two lanes.

“By widening a 400m stretch on each bound, the state hopes to reduce this traffic congestion problem that has haunted motorists, especially the industrialists and workers at (the Free Industrial Zone in) Bayan Lepas,” he said.

He was speaking during a symbolic ground breaking of the project yesterday.

Lim added that the project was announced in August last year, but plans at that time included only the widening of one side of the road which was not satisfactory to the state.

“We felt both sides should have three lanes each and went back to the drawing board.”

IJM Land general manager (northern region) Toh Chin Leong said the upgraded project would also include the rebuilding of an overhead pedestrian bridge along the 400m stretch and the building of a U-turn at Persimpangan Bertingkat Gelugor.

“The existing pedestrian bridge will be demolished and a new one with a higher clearance of 5.4m will be built.”

On the new U-turn, he said a new acceleration/deceleration lane would be built to ensure road users could make the turn safely.

“With this U-turn, motorists from George Town who are heading in the direction of Bayan Lepas will no longer need to drive all the way to the Bayan Mutiara Interchange or use the narrow Jalan Hajjah Rehmah in Jelutong.

“This will save motorists about 3.5km each way if they are headed to places like Tesco, E-Gate and Green Lane,” he said.

Toh said preparation works had already begun on the project and construction would kick into high gear after the Chinese New Year, adding that the whole project was targeted for completion by Sept 1.

Free Industrial Zone Penang Companies’ Association (Frepenca) president Horst Rosenmueller, who was also present, lauded the project, saying that it would benefit thousands of people working in Bayan Lepas.

“There are many workers travelling daily from the island to the mainland and back so it’s very important to open up this bottleneck.

“I am happy because it (the traffic congestion) was a pain for our employees in the FIZ who are stuck in jams every morning and evening,” he said.

Source: The Star

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SP Setia must take possession of Pisa first

January 21st, 2012 No comments

THE timing of property developer SP Setia Bhd's new launches for its 2012 fiscal year in Penang appears to hinge on whether the company is given vacant possession of the Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa) by the first quarter of this year to build the RM300 million Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition (sPICE) Centre.

Business Times has learnt that the property giant's application for planning approval to proceed with its upmarket Setia V Residences project along Gurney Drive cannot be deliberated as yet by the Penang Island Municipal Council, until the time SP Setia takes over Pisa officially.

Three other projects in the pipeline for its fiscal year ending October 31 2012 are located in the Relau and Sungai Ara areas.

The company on January 3 took over as operator of the building and it has already ploughed in RM1 million to spruce it up, sources say.

"The problem now lies in the fact that SP Setia is unable to avail itself yet of the increased density privilege it was accorded as part of the sPICE deal," one source said.

SP Setia was granted the right to build an additional 1,500 residential units over and above the density limit of its existing and future projects in Penang over a 30-year period when it inked an agreement with the Penang authorities last year to build the convention centre.

The project includes 2.8ha public park and an upgraded and refurbished Pisa.

The move for SP Setia to be granted additional density was viewed positively by analysts who noted that it would enhance the gross development value of some of the company's proposed high-rise projects.

Based on the existing density limit, it is learnt, Setia V Residences can only build about 50 units on the 0.8ha site, which has a dual frontage of the sea-fronting Gurney Drive and Jalan Kelawai in Pulau Tikus.

Analysts had also hailed the fact that with the additional density, SP Setia would now have a competitive edge over other developers in bidding for land in Penang, since it would be in a position to pay higher land costs, given the company's ability to build beyond the "normal" allowed density.

SP Setia officials could not be reached for comment.

Under the agreement signed in August last year between Penang island Municipal Council and SP Setia's subsidiary, Eco Meridian, the proposed sPICE Centre will feature a basement car park and a green park on the roof top. The project, which is expected to be completed by 2014, includes a 2.8ha public park, refurbishing, repairing and upgrading Pisa and the Aquatic Centre as well as construction of a new hotel, retail outlets and a car park.

SOURCE: Business Times

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Rehda: Property prices will continue uptrend in H1

January 20th, 2012 No comments

KUALA LUMPUR: A majority of developers expect property prices to continue climbing in the first half of the year in tandem with rising costs.

In a recent survey of members by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda), about 74% of respondents surveyed generally felt that prices would be on an upward trend, largely influenced by an increase in the cost of development.

Rehda president Datuk Seri Michael Yam said about 36% of the respondents said property prices might increase 10% to 20%, 31% expected prices to increase less than 10%, and 7% expected prices to increase more than 20%.

“The main reason cited was the escalation in land, building materials and labour costs. For example, steel bar price had climbed to RM2,589 per tonne in 2011 from RM2,285 in 2010, while cement had gone up to RM16.33 per bag in 2011 from RM15.64 in 2010,” he told a briefing yesterday on the Rehda Property Industry Survey for the second half of last year.

Two other main factors were the larger deposits required in obtaining housing development licences and the higher market demand.

The deposit for a housing development licence is now 3% of the estimated project cost instead of RM200,000 previously. The survey covered 148 companies or 15% of Rehda’s 979 members, and they were selected from all the states in Peninsular Malaysia.

Yam said 63% of the respondents indicated that they planned to launch projects in the first half of this year. In comparison, 45% had launches in the second half of 2011.

“The top property types to be launched in the first half of this year are two-storey terrace houses, apartments and condominiums as well as service apartments,” he added.

The survey also reported that better sales were expected in the first half of this year compared with the preceding six months. About 67% of the respondents with planned launches in the period under review anticipated to sell 41% of their properties and above. Yam pointed out that this was despite the drop in confidence largely influenced by external factors. “Some of the external factors are the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, fragile US economy and volatility in commodity prices.

“Nevertheless, the Malaysian market is still buoyed by its relatively strong economy, low non-performing loans for the property sector and the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme (GTP/ETP),” he said.

On challenges for the industry, Yam said the unsold designated bumiputera lots had been the main reason for unsold units recorded in the last four surveys, which were conducted every six months.

“The way forward in solving this is to have a policy for automatic release of designated bumiputera lots. This will enable such ideal units to be put in the open market instead of them remaining unproductive.”

“Additionally, more than half of the respondents believed that the real property gains tax would have an impact on the overall property market.

“Other than that, 48% of respondents reported that they faced financing issues but mainly in the end-financing for buyers due to buyers’ creditworthiness as well as due to banks being more stringent in their lending policies,” he said.

Rehda Federal Territory branch chairman NK Tong said the 45% of respondents that reported launches in second half of 2011 represented a slight drop from the 58% in the first half of 2011.

“The average size per project launch has also declined to 145 units from 160 units for the period under review,” he said.

“Sales were encouraging for the period as more than half of respondents who had launches sold more than 40% of their launched units,” he said, adding that the majority of the units launched were landed properties, but Kuala Lumpur and Penang were more focused on strata-title properties.

Rehda announced that the first Malaysia Property Exposition for 2012 would be held from March 2 to 4 and would feature some foreign developers.

SOURCE: The Star

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Rising confidence in property mart: Napic

January 18th, 2012 No comments

KUALA LUMPUR: Higher housing starts and building plan approvals last year signify confidence of developers and investors in the development activity, said National Property Information Centre (Napic) director Dr Zailan Mohd Isa.

Some 400,000 transactions valued more than RM100 million were undertaken during the first three quarters of last year.

Zailan said the second quarter of 2011 was the most active period during the period with more than 115,000 transactions recorded.

Housing starts, a key economic indicator, refer to the number of residential building construction projects begun during a particular period.

Speaking at the 5th Malaysian Property Summit 2012, Zailan said residential property sub-sector expanded significantly by 23.2 per cent after recording a 8.8 per cent growth for similar period in 2010.

At a media briefing, summit chairman and real estate agency CH Williams Talhar and Wong (WTW) managing director Foo Gee Jen does not expect prices to soften within KL although the external uncertainties may have led property buyers to be more cautious.

Choy Yue Kwong, who is president of the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector (PEPs) said past crises have shown that although property prices may drop in cities like Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya for a short period, prices also pick up as fast.

Zailan expects the vacant space in the retail and office sectors to be absorbed as more space taken up from the market as private investment spurred by the Economic Transformation Programme takes place.

He described the outlook for the 2012 property market as bright with strong demand as developers and investors capitalise on the government’s incentives.

Demand for development land will also increase from the spillover effect of projects such as highways such as Ampang-Cheras-Pandan Elevated Highway, Guthrie-Daman-sara Expressway, Damansara-Petaling Jaya Highway, Pantai Barat-Banting-Taiping Highway, Sungai Dua-Juru Highway and Paroi-Senawang Highway.

Source: Business Times

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Affordable housing coming up

January 17th, 2012 2 comments

A DEVELOPER is building 554 low medium-cost apartment units along Lebuhraya Halia in Tanjung Tokong, Penang.

Currently 30% complete, the 38-storey Taman Bukit Erskine developed by Ivory Villas Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary company of Ivory Properties Group Berhad, is expected to be completed in 2014.

Ivory Properties Group Berhad executive director Ron Loh said each unit with a built-up area of 654sq ft comes with three bedrooms, a bathroom and a washroom.

“Despite being a low-medium cost project, the apartments offer good views,” he said in a press conference at Penang Time Square on Friday.

He added that the project was abandoned for 11 years due to the 1997 economic crisis and was revived when Ivory took up the project as a white knight in 2007.

Originally named Fettes Villa, the project was later renamed Mount Erskine Development which consists of The Peak Residences, The Latitude and Taman Bukit Erskine.

Loh said the group had since changed the initial 500sq ft layout plan to 654sq ft and increased the units from 363 to 554.

He also said former purchasers who had paid the deposit in the previous project can opt to purchase the units or get a full refund next year.

“According to a court order, we can only refund the deposit a year after we launch this project.

“So far, 30% of the 363 former purchasers wanted to continue with this project,” he said.

State Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai who launched the project said that he had contacted Rapid Penang to consider plying the route there.

“They used to ply the route but in 2007, they stopped due to poor response.

“I suggest that the bus company conduct a study on the need to service the route there since the apartments are coming up,” he said.

He added that the public could send their feedback to Rapid Penang at

Wong also said that since 2008, seven abandoned projects including Taman Bukit Erskine had been revived and were at different stages of completion.

The projects are Desa Aman in Paya Terubong, Taman Cemerlang in Bandar Baru Air Itam, Mengkuang Heights and Taman Guar Perahu Indah in Central Seberang Prai, Taman Orkid Indah in North Seberang Prai and Taman Pekatra in South Seberang Prai.

On a related issue, Wong said the request for proposal (RFP) period for the revival of the Majestic Heights project in Paya Terubong ended on Jan 6.

He added that the Malaysia Building Society Berhad and the property liquidator Deloitte Kassim Chan had called for the RFP on Oct 7 last year.

“Phase 2A, 2B and 3A have been abandoned.

“They are going through the submissions by several developers.

“We hope that the phases can be completed soon after being abandoned for more than 10 years,” he said.

Source: The Star

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