Malaysia’s house price hikes steeper than US, UK
The increase in Malaysia’s housing price in 2Q this year was among the highest in the world, surpassing even the US, UK, Hong Kong or Singapore, according to Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index. Compared to the same period last year, Malaysia (#12) recorded an increase of 7.2%, while the US and UK saw a 5.2% and 5.1% increase respectively. House prices in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore fell, occupying the bottom 6 rankings among 55 countries. Turkey topped the list with a 13.9% increase in house prices, although it had dropped from last year’s 19%. (Malay Mail Online)

Rehda: Govt must take lead in switching to IBS
The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) is calling for the government to take the lead in getting property developers to transition to the Industrialised Building System (IBS) by providing tax breaks and make it compulsory for government projects to implement the modular construction method. Contractors awarded with government projects should be asked to use IBS. It can bring about cost-savings and increase productivity. He said, theoretically, house prices could be lower once IBS reaches economies of scale in Malaysia — provided there are tax incentives and rebates on materials. (The Edge Markets)

LBS Bina, Selangor govt to develop RM3.43bil mixed development township
LBS Bina Group Bhd is teaming up with the Selangor state government to jointly develop a mixed township in Ijok, Selangor, with an estimated GDV of RM3.43 billion. The township will be located on 10 parcels of leasehold land in Ijok, measuring a total of 909.01 acres. According to LBS Bina, the mixed development township will comprise majority landed residential units to be priced at affordable range; and Rumah SelangorKu would also be included in the development plan. The project is expected to take 12 years to complete. (The Edge Markets)

Selangor’s new policy a challenge to private developers
Property developers have hit back at the Selangor government for amending policies and imposing surcharges that would increase the cost of business, excerbated by the current soft market forcing them to compete in the affordable home segment. The Selangor Housing and Real Property Board (LPHS) last week announced that households earning up to RM15,000 would be eligible for affordable units in serviced apartments and boutique office projects. This compares with the current ceiling of RM8,000 to RM10,000 to be entitled for affordable homes in the state. Developers criticised the move, saying that those earning up to RM15,000 a month would be in the open market. It was also argued that affordable units’ prices should vary in different areas, according to the respective land values. (The Edge Markets)

Johor Rehda plans Mapex International to target other markets besides Singapore
The Johor branch of Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) has plans to reach out to a wider market other than Singapore to promote the state’s property projects, especially Iskandar Malaysia. It will organise the first Malaysia Property Exposition (Mapex) International next year if everything goes as planned. Johor Rehda has 128 developers, with most of their projects located in Iskandar Malaysia. Most members would take part in the twice-yearly Mapex Johor, targeting mostly local buyers, but they also need to think out of the box and extend their market by reaching more potential buyers from other countries in the region apart from Singaporeans. Rehda members from other states are also welcome to join the expo. (The Star Online)

Megasteel closes Banting plant
After months of consideration, Lion Group’s loss-making steel miller Megasteel Sdn Bhd has ceased operations at its 17-year old flat steel products plant in Banting, Selangor, according to industry sources. The management has decided to fully shut down its RM3.2 billion plant effective Aug 30 until further notice. A source says the Megasteel situation has taken a turn for the worse this year. “From January to August there were no fresh orders coming in. Its plant has already been running on a single shift and the full shut-down will see some 800 workers facing termination. Megasteel’s business for more than five years has been severely affected by stiff competition from the influx of imported steel products from China, which are selling below the cost production of domestic steel players. (The Star Online)

VEP tests to be completed soon
The trial run for the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system is expected to be completed by the end of the month. The VEP is a RM20 road charge for each foreign vehicle entering Johor at the two checkpoints at the Causeway and Second Link. Once it has been proved successful, the Transport Ministry would make an announcement as to when it would be implemented. Once implemented at Malaysia’s border with Singapore, the VEP is expected to be expanded and imposed on foreign vehicles entering Malaysia from Thailand and from Kalimantan, Indonesia. (New Straits Times Online)

Foreign cars entering Malaysia will soon have to pay a RM20 road charge (Photo from Today Online)

Foreign cars entering Malaysia will soon have to pay a RM20 road charge (Photo from Today Online)