Property market to pick up in 1-2 years
The Malaysian property market is expected to see higher sales transactions in the next one to two years, fuelled by improved economic conditions and higher demand for properties. According to iProperty Group MD/CEO Georg Chmiel, although it was a buyer’s market at the moment, purchasers were still holding back due to inadequate loans, weaker ringgit and GST. A continued slowdow is expected and higher loan rejection rates point to a challenging year ahead. However, Malaysians stilled viewed property as the most attractive investment choice, as it provided capital growth appreciation and was more stable compared to other assets. (MY Sin Chew)

Bursa Malaysia to trade higher with boost from Wall Street
Bursa Malaysia is expected to trade higher on Wednesday (today), boosted from the overnight gains on Wall Steet, with the FBM KLCI to hover around 1,715 to 1,735. US stocks closed higher on Tuesday, led by gains in tech stocks, after Fed said it is appropriate for policymakers to proceed cautiously to raise rates. Asian markets closed on a mixed tone, with Shanghai composite being the top loser, down 1.28% to 2,919.83. (The Star Online)

Sunway Property offers financial assistance for new launches
Sunway Property yesterday announced that would be starting a campaign to offer financial assistance to potential buyers of its upcoming property launches. The Sunway Property Certainty Campaign comprises three packages – a guaranteed loan, deferred payment and a voluntary exit plan. Homebuyers who meet the basic criteria can obtain the package with guaranteed loan, while those opting for deferred payment can get an initial down payment as low as 3%. Purchases can also terminate their SPA if they become unemployed. Projects eligible for the loans include Sunway Gandaria in Bangi, Brook Residences in Mont Kiara and the final phase of condominiums for Sunway Geo Residences 3 in Bandar Sunway. The loans will be for a fixed tenure of 15 years, with a fixed interest rate based on a commercial basis. The offer is from March 29 to Sept 30, with the loan to be provided as at the completion date of the property. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysia Building Society BerhadMBSB goes Islamic after failed mergers
Mortgage provider and consumer lender Malaysia Building Society Bhd is opting to transform into a Shariah-compliant lender by itself, following two failed merger attempted with Islamic banks. The company has stopped offering conventional loans and sees more room for growth in Islamic services, as its net income plunged 75% last year, and discussions with Bank Mualamat in February this year, as well as CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd in January 2015 fell through. “MBSB’s plan is not surprising as many see Islamic finance as the way forward,” said Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, president of the Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals. Malaysia, which pioneered Shariah finance in the 1980s, aims to have 40 percent of its banking assets complying with the religion’s ban on interest by 2020. (Bloomberg)

Lower MGS yield will benefit REITs
As the spread between dividend yield of REITs and Malaysian government securities (MGS) yield widen, real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Malaysia are set to benefit from the lower MGS yields. Expectations of higher volatility for MGS yield due to US interest rate hike had somewhat materialised as MGS yield spiked to 4.37 per cent in December following the hike in US Fed rate. The revision of MGS yield translates into lower discount rates in Dividend Discount Model (DDM) valuation. The REIT outlook remains stable, but rental reversion for retail segment is expected to stay positive with marginal increase due to slow recovery in consumer sentiment. Nevertheless, the decline MGS yield is positive for the REITs sector as it improves the appeal of REITs. (The Borneo Post)

BCorp Q3 net profit plunges to RM15mil
Berjaya Corp Bhd’s (BCorp) net profit for the third quarter ended Jan 31, 2016 slumped to RM15.8mil from RM975mil a year ago due to a lack of contribution from the auto division and lower income from its gaming business. The company noted that the previous year’s Q3 was boosted by a one-time remeasurement gain of about RM1 billion. In addition, Berjaya Auto Bhd (BAuto), the distributor of Mazda cars, ceased to be a subsidiary of BCorp since Dec 1, 2014. The group’s revenue for Q4 fell 2%, while its net profit for the first nine months of the financial year fell 83% from a year earlier. (The Star Online)

Penang to declassify Taman Manggis documents
The Penang government will declassify documents related to the controversial sale of the Taman Manggis land today. The documents will explain the state’s reasons to swap out the parcel of land that was initially earmarked for affordable public housing for a mixed development project. The Pakatan Harapan state administration has been facing heat over allegations it deprived the people of public housing by selling off the Taman Manggis land. (The Malay Mail Online)