Experts predict 2016 as ‘flat year’ for Malaysia property sector
Industry experts have predicted that the Malaysian property sector will go through a ‘flat’ year in 2016 while market prices will benefit those looking to buy or rent houses. However, Siva Shanker, CEO of property agency PPC International, said there was no need to “panic” or worry as the property market would typically go through a cycle of a few “bad” years before recovering. He also noted that activity would slowly come back into the market in 2017 and 2018 because of the elections. He also believed that 2019 would see the market surge forward again and 2020 be the next high. Rentals were expected to shoot down next year as owners compete to rent out properties, in a bid to gain extra income to pay or subsidise mortgages. Developer Datuk Seri Vincent Tiew agreed, but went on to say that next year would be a good time to buy property as its value is expected to rise by 2019 and 2020. The PropertyGuru Property Outlook Report 2016 said that the current oversupply in property would mean a buyers’ and renters’ market, and that the annual average of unsold homes in Malaysia is at 36%. There is less demand with weak investor sentiment as only 54% of buyers buy to occupy. (The Malay Mail Online)

Property market to stay soft until 1H2016
The current soft property market is expected to continue into the first half of 2016, said Sime Darby Property Bhd deputy managing director and acting managing director Datuk Jauhari Hamidi. He said that hopefully, with the right incentives from the government, it will pick up again by the second half as it boils down to housing being a necessity instead of a luxury. “The government has to play its role in making sure that the incentives given are enough so that at least first-time house buyers have a chance to buy,” he said, adding that Sime Darby Property, like other developers, had to review its launches and reduce some of them in response to market condition, and limit the amount of unsold stock. (The Sun Daily)

Dignitaries from Malaysia, Singapore and China at the China High Speed Railway symposium held at KLCC yesterday. (Photo from The Star)

Dignitaries from Malaysia, Singapore and China at the China High Speed Railway symposium held at KLCC yesterday. (Photo from The Star)

KL-SG high speed rail garners strong interest, 14 companies invited to present views
14 companies have been invited by officials from Malaysia and Singapore to present ‘in-depth’ views on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project. Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said it had reached a stage where there was “a lot of interest” in the project, and that 220 enquiries were received during the request for information (RFI) stage. Transport Oriented Development – a mixed-use residential and commercial area designed to maximise access to public transport – would be carried out along the HSR line. The China High Speed Railway symposium was held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday, which was organized by the China Railway Corporation. Both China and Japan are competing with each other for HSR construction projects around the world and have expressed interest in the project here. (The Star Online)

PR1MA initiative a “total failure”, says consultant
The 1Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA) has failed in its mission to provide affordable housing in the right locations, claimed property consultant Dr Daniele Gambero, CEO of consultancy group REI Group of Companies. He said the initiative started as a good idea, but the company running the programme has not met the government’s set targets by not delivering homes at the right value at he right place. He questioned Putrajaya’s promise of churning out thousands of PR1MA units, highlighting that even all the developers in Malaysia combined would only be able deliver less than 160,000 units per year. So far, the government has only approved 72 PR1MA projects with a total of 50,000 units, and none have been delivered. (The Malay Mail Online)

Malaysia commits to retain 50% of forest area after Paris talks
Malaysia has reiterated its commitment to preserve 50% of its forest areas after signing an agreement together with 195 other countries at the Paris climate change talks (COP21). Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the country would increase efforts to protect and preserve its forests, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Existing projects are the Central Forest Spine (CFS) project and the Heart of Borneo programme. The CFS includes a corridor of reforestation and permanent forests in Peninsular Malaysia. After two weeks of negotiations for the COP21 deal, 195 countries agreed to try and limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2°C. (The Star Online)

Iskandar Malaysia records RM187.96bil total cumulative committed investments
Iskandar Malaysia, the main southern development corridor in Johor, recorded RM187.96 billion in total cumulative committed investments from 2006 to November 2015, according to the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). 50% or RM93.39 billion are investments that have been realised as projects on the ground. Domestic investments made up 59% of the total cumulative committed investments, while the remaining 49% was by foreign investments. The manufacturing sector registered the highest amount of investments, followed by logistics, tourism, health care, education, consulting services and financial advisory, and creative industry. Other supporting sectors are residential, retail and industrial, as well as utilities, government investments (focusing on infrastructure and public works), and latest technologies. (The Malay Mail Online)

EcoWorld surpasses FY15 target with RM3.02bil sales
Eco World Development Group Bhd has surpassed its RM3 billion sales target for the 2015 financial year, recording a total sales of RM3.02 billion for the year under review. The group’s four projects in the central region contributed RM1.579 billion, proving the resilience of demand in the Klang Valley and its surrounding areas. Its four townships and two business parks across Iskandar Malaysia recorded RM1.21 billion, while its projects in Penang secured RM224 million sales. EcoWorld will launch two new projects in FY16, namely the Bukit Bintang City Centre (BBCC) in Kuala Lumpur and Eco Business Park II In Iskandar Malaysia. (The Edge Markets)

Over 400ha land south of Penang island to be reclaimed
Over 1,000 acres (404.69ha) of land on the two isles south of Penang island will be reclaimed as part of the state government’s land swap deal with SRS Consortium for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). Last month, it was reported that the two islands measuring 1,300 acres and 2,100 acres would be reclaimed. Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd (IPD) said that the 1,000 acres earmarked for industrial development would include sites for the electronic, electrical and light industrial sector. The remaining land would be used for a green lung (1,000 acres), dam, sewage plant and airport expansion, as well as administrative buildings, offices and residential units. (The Edge Markets)