KL among top 10 most affordable, business-friendly cities worldwide
According to a study 30 leading global cities, Kuala Lumpur is the 6th most affordable city to live in, and the 9th best in terms of conducting business. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Cities of Opportunity Index placed the Malaysian capital at 20th position in the report, which measured the social and economic health of 30 leading business cities, beating Jakarta (28th), and Mumbai (29th) and just behind Beijing (18th place). London claimed the top position, followed by Singapore (2nd) and Toronto (3rd), Paris (4th) and Asterdam (5th). The cities’ performance was measured against 10 indicators including transportation and infrastructure, ease of doing business, demographics and liveability, technology readiness and cost. (Malay Mail Online)


Affordable housing in Penang to be key sales driver
Penang property market has been facing challenging conditions since 2014 as property prices continue to rise, albeit at a slower pace. Transaction numbers have continued to decline in 2016, and there is no sign of near-term recovery as prices remain high. However, the removal of speculation trend in the property market would prepare developers for a healthier market. Developers have also been launching more affordable housing projects, while absolute property prices have been kept low by offering smaller built-up units. Affordable landed properties with ready infrastructure and amenities remain in demand, as evident in some of the launches in Seberang Prai. Developers have also been looking for cheaper land in mainland Penang to tap on the demand for affordable housing. (The Star Online)

3,855 units of Rumah Aspirasi Rakyat in six towns nationwide
3,855 more units of Rumah Aspirasi Rakyat costing RM744 million will be built in six towns nationwide, which is welcome news for people looking to purchase affordable houses. The first three projects will be built in the towns of Kuala Krai, Kota Baharu and Ketereh in Kelantan, while the remaining three will be built in Sandakan (Sabah), Pekan (Pahang) and Ampang (Selangor). The first three projects will begin in the next six months and slated for completion within four years. The Rumah Aspirasi Rakyat projects will comprise landed houses and apartments. (Astro Awani)

AmInvest to double REIT assets to RM500mil
AmInvest is targeting to increase its REIT assets under management (AUM) to RM500 million for the financial year ending March 31, 2017. The asset management house is “underweight” on Malaysia’s REITs, as the property sector in Malaysia is soft and occupancy rates are low. AmInvest has high holdings in REITs from Australia, Japan, and Singapore, where there are non-traditional REITs with assets that include childcare centres, energy, healthcare, large scale logistics and data centres. These investments have paid off with good growth. It is also focusing on service-related REITs which were previously not considered investable asset classes, but are becoming more institutionalised, and are therefore being more investable and liquid. (The Star Online)

Sunway JV buys Singapore land for S$240.95mil
Sunway Developments Pte Ltd, a unit of Sunway Bhd, and its joint venture partners have won a bid to purchase a 99-year leasehold land at Anchorvale Lane in Sengkang, Singapore from the Housing and Development Board of Singapore for S$240.95 million (RM724.14 million). The propsed JV company is known as Hoi Hup Sunway Sengkang Pte Ltd, which will build and sell executive condominiums on the land, but no further details were revealed. Hoi Hup owns a 62% stake in the JV Co, while Sunway Developments holds a 30% stake, with Oriental Worldwide Investments Inc holding 5% and Azuki Investments Pte Ltd 3%. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysia extends bauxite mining ban until year-end
The government has extended a moratorium on bauxite mining from Sept 14 to the end of the year, and the ban could be stretched a further six months if the current high stockpiles of the aluminium-making commodity were not cleared by Dec 31. Excessive bauxite mining was blamed for water contamination and destruction of the environment, which turned the water and seas red near Kuantan, Pahang. The government first imposed the first three-month ban on mining in January this year. Despite extensions to the moratorium, 4.13 million tonnes of stockpiles remain uncleared in three sites around Kuantan, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. (The Star Online)

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