ABM urges first-timers to consider government housing schemes
The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) is urging first-time home buyers to consider applying for government schemes such as My First Home Scheme (SRP) for assistance in purchasing property. Buyers are advised to avoid obtaining more credit, which may not be sustainable in the long term and might overstretch themselves financially. Borrowers might also want to consider getting a pre-approved housing loan before looking to purchase a property. In accessing eligibility for a housing loan, monthly home loan installments and other long-term commitments such as hire-purchase loans should not exceed more than 40% of gross monthly income. Currently, 11 commercial banks and 11 Islamic financial insitutions are participating in the scheme. (The Star Online)

92% of Malaysians worry over retirement funds
Statistic by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) revealed that up to 92% of Malaysians worry over their financial health and needs in old age, as well as being unprepared for retirement. 33% are ‘very worried’ about their financial health, while the remaining 59% are ‘a bit worried’. Conversely, it was found that 40% of Malaysians claim they are ready for retirement while 80% claim they havestrategies to meet expenses at old age. The most popular strategies include relying on the children or partner, continuing working, and relying on government financial assistance. Malaysians seem to adopt a passive strategy for retirement, with 42% preferring to buy properties, 25% saving money and 18% dependng on EPF. (New Straits Times Online)

i-City’s SoHo suites all sold out
I-Bhd, the master developer of i-City in Shah Alam, has registered a 100% take-up rate for two of its SoHo suites projects. Chester Properties Sdn Bhd purchased the remaining 30 units of i-SoHo and 120 units of i-Suites yesterday. The other two projects in i-City – i-Residence and i-SoVo – were fully sold out before handover in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The company expected sustained demand to drive sales growth over the next few years. (The Edge Financial Daily, Aug 11, 2016)

Tough times for real estate sector
According to global property consultant Knight Frank Malaysia, certain real estate segments, including high-end condominiums, in key areas in Malaysia are looking grim now and in the near future. However, it said there would be growth despite the cloudy outlook for all market sectors amid weakening domestic economy and global uncertainties. The country’s economic growth would continue to be driven by construction activities, particularly infrastructure projects which will shift the focus of future developments. More activities along the transportation routes are expected, as more people embrace public transport. (New Straits Times Online)

Encorp denies disposing office suites to MRCB-Quill REIT
Encorp Bhd has denied a news report which implied it has disposed a block of office suites to MRCB-Quill Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). In a filing to Bursa Malaysia today, Encorp said it has not inked any agreement and does not propose to do so with MRCB-Quill REIT, relating to any disposal of office suites to the latter. (The Edge Markets)

RM1.5bil sales target for UEM Sunrise a challenge
UEM Sunrise may be facing a challenge to meet its RM1.5 billion sales target this year, in view of the weak buying sentiment and stiff competition in the domestic front, as well as delay in launching its Melbourne project. According to Maybank IB, UEM is maintaining its 2016 sales target of RM1.5 billion despite weak sales during the first quarter. It has lined up RM760 million worth of new launches in the second half to push sales. The management’s approach also remains focused on affordable housing. Sales of its affordable housing projects have been satisfactory but high-end high-rise projects such as Estuari and Almas remain low. Upcoming launches in Iskandar Puteri will be more towards affordable landed residential and industrial properties to reduce direct competition with Chinese developers in the high-rise property segment. (The Star Online)