Rehda: Over 50% of affordable housing loan bids rejected
The Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) stated that over 50% of affordable housing loan applications were rejected, and that strict lending rules were hurting the property market. A Rehda survey found that loan rejection was the number one obstacle for developers in the second half of 2015, with the majority of developers saying they had more than 30% unsold units which were mostly affordable houses. However, despite banks’ cautious lending, the take-up rate for new homes was still relatively good, with sales of high-rise units rising 120% in the second half while sales of single storey terraces doubled. (The Malay Mail Online)

Flexibility for buyers of properties below RM500k
Rehda is urging Bank Negara Malaysia to be more flexible towards serious home purchasers, owner occupiers and first-time house buyers for properties priced below RM500,000. End financing and low loan approval rate remains a problem and main concern of developers, which faced a high number of unsold properties in 2015. Based on findings from the Rehda Property Industry Survey 2H2015, highest loan rejection has been for properties priced between RM250,001 and RM700,000. Banks base end financing on net income, which doesn’t show other earnings such as overtime. (New Straits Times Online)

Property sales rise 18% in 2H 2015
According to a survey by Rehda, property sales rose to about 18% in the second half of 2015 compared to the first half, although property launches slowed. 62% of respondents reported that unsold units mainly from Selangor, Johor and Pahang in the second half of 2015 from 78% in the first half due to better sales. Sales for low-cost and single storey terrace houses picked up in 2H, and bungalows and semi-detached units also saw an increase during the period. Developers know that buyers are sensitive to price, hence they will modify their launches to smaller-sized units. High-rise property remain popular among homebuyers. (The Star Online)

Mega project planned for reclaimed Gurney Drive land
Two hotels, a mall, business centre and a host of wellness related suites and apartments are expected to form part of a proposed mega development on the reclaimed Gurney Drive land. A resort hotel, five-star hotel and a two million sq ft wellness mall are expected to front Gurney Plaza and sited on 20.2ha of land located between the sea-fronting promenade and Bandar Tanjung Pinang, which is part of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd’s “Wellness City of Dreams” development. Other components include residential suites, serviced apartments, healthcare suites and a wellness business centre. The 53ha reclaimed land at Gurney will be completed by E&O Bhd and handed over to state government. 20.2ha will be given to Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) by the Penang government as compensation-in-kind for the building ofthe upcoming RM6.3 billion mega project, comprising three expressways and an undersea tunnel linking Penang island and the mainland. (New Straits Times Online)

Artist's impression of the Gurney Drive reclaimed land at Tanjung Seri Pinang (Image from The Star)

Artist’s impression of the Gurney Drive reclaimed land at Tanjung Seri Pinang (Image from The Star)

EcoWorld launches women’s network to help female staff realise full potential
In conjunction with International Women’s Day 2016 on March 8, Eco World Development Group Bhd launched a new women’s network, dubbed “Professional Women’s Network (PWM)”, that features a series of structured learning events to empower and help all EcoWorld female employees realise their full potential in a professional capacity. PWN has conceptualised as a platform to acknowledge women’s achievements and create avenues for them to climb to the top. During the launch, EcoWorld chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin attributed the company’s quick rise within the industry to its female employees, which form 45% of its workforce. “In EcoWorld, 50% of management positions are held by women especially in the fields of sales, marketing, customer care, finance, talent management, audit and information technology,” he said. (The Edge Markets)

Luster unit to develop 106 terrace houses in Perak
Luster Industries Bhd’s unit Pembinaan LSP Jaya Sdn Bhd (PLSP) has entered into an agreement with Aznel Development Sdn Bhd (Aznel) and Koperasi Hartanah Malaysia Bhd (KOHOMA) to develop 106 units of terrace houses in Perak. The proposed development, named Taman Tasik 1 Malaysia, will be a joint project by the three companies. PLSP will bear the construction costs and fund the development, and be entitled to the proceeds from the sales. Landowner Aznel is entitled to RM6.36mil for the land, while profit in excess of RM4.5 million up to RM5 million will belong to KOHAMA, with any excess profit shared between PLSP and KOHAMA in a 70:30 ratio. (The Edge Markets)

Hup Seng buys Johor land for RM17.49mil to expand production
Hup Seng Industries Bhd is buying two parcels of land in Batu Pahat, including buildings constructed on it, from Syarikat Koon Fuat Industries Sdn Bhd (SKFI) for RM17.49 million cash. Hup Seng’s unit entered into two separate SPAs with SKFI for the acquisitions; the first for a 1.1875-acre leasehold land together with a 3-storey factory building cum office, and the second for freehold land measuring over 15,400 sq m with five units of buildings. Hup Seng said the said properties, being adjacent to its current factory, would be ideal for future expansion in production capacities and also enable centralised management. (The Edge Markets)