Property transaction value declines first time in six years
According to the latest preliminary Property Market Report released by National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), Malaysia’s property market transaction value fell by 8% to RM149.9bil in 2015. This is the first decline in six years, as the last decline noticed was in 2009 when it fell 8.3%. MIDF Research believes that the property price outlook is better in Greater KL (Selangor and KL) due to urbanisation. Latest Bank Negara statistics show that “Applied Loan for Purchase of Property” fell 4% year-on-year in February 2016; this was however a slight improvement from the 12% drop in January 2015. (The Star Online)

Eco World International gets green light for IPO
Eco World International Bhd has obtained approval from the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) for its proposed initial public offering (IPO) and listing on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia. The IPO will involve the issuance of up to 2.15 billion new ordinary shares of RM1 each, and a bonus issue of up to 960 million free warrants on the basis of two warrants for every five shares held after the IPO. The exercise is estimated to complete by mid-2016. EWI had previously set a target of raising RM2 billion in its IPO. (The Sun Daily)

An artist’s impression of the 250-unit serviced residence in Glenmarie, Shah Alam. (Image from The Edge)

An artist’s impression of the 250-unit serviced residence in Glenmarie, Shah Alam. (Image from The Edge)

Titijaya ropes in Ascott for projects worth RM4.1bil
Titijaya Land Bhd has roped in Capitaland Ltd’s prestigious Ascott brand to manage its two upcoming serviced residence projects in Penang and Selangor, which have a combined GDV of RM4.1 billion. The group inked a residential management agreement with The Ascott Ltd, which will serve as a valuable avenue for the property developer to enter the international market. The deal is for 10 years, with an optional five-year extension, if mutually agreed on. Titijaya will remain the rightful owner of the land, property and facilities throughout the term. The Penang project is a serviced residence located on the south-east of the island, with a GDV of RM2.6 billion, while the RM1.5 billion GDV Shah Alam project will be a mixed-use development. Both projects are expected to launch by 2017. (The Edge Markets)

Maybank: Affordable housing loan rejection rate only 20%
Maybank has denied claims that the loan rejection rate for affordable housing in Malaysia was only 50%, and cited figures from the Association of Banks Malaysia (ABM) that showed the overall rejection rates was only 20.39%. For loans where principal amount borrowed was less than RM500,000, the rejection rate was 19%. Loans between RM500,000 and RM1mil saw a 20.71% rejection rate, between RM1mil and RM3mil saw 25% loans rejected, and those over RM3mil saw 36% turned down. Reasons for rejections were mainly due to amounts that exceeded the applicant’s debt service ratio, failure in the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) assesment and insufficient income. (The Star Online)

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PR1MA to start construction of 19,566 affordable homes in Penang by year end
PR1MA Corporation Malaysia is has targeted to begin construction on 19,566 affordable housing units in Penang by the end of this year, said its CEO Datuk Aminuddin A Manaf. PR1MA has already submitted applications for planning approvals for up to 15,000 units and hopes to start construction on 10,000 by year end after getting the state government’s approval. To date, 1,017 units in Permatang Pauh have been granted. Penang has the highest demand for affordable homes with about 88,000 applying for PR1MA housing, and more than 51% applicants are single. (The Malay Mail Online)

2,500 MyDeposit applications received so far
The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry has received 2,500 applications for the My First Home Financing Scheme (MyDeposit) and recorded 13,187 respondents to the scheme yesterday. There are currently 10,000 housing units priced below RM500,000 nationwide, with plans to add more units. The application is open only until June, but the government will consider reopening applications if there is overwhelming response. (New Straits Times Online)

Malaysia among world’s top 10 countries for education
Malaysia has risen to become one of the world’s Top 10 most desired destinations for education, thanks to the priority given by the government to the education sector, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong. Attributes that make the country globally competitive include quality of life, affordability, cultural diversity and the English medium of instruction. He said the leading status came almost two decades after amendments to the Education Act to open up the sector. King Henry VIII College – the first overseas outpost of Britain’s Christ College Brecon – will be open in 2018 in Cyberjaya. For more than a decade, the country has recorded at least a 16% growth in international higher education students, and aims to have 200,000 international students by 2020. (The Star Online)