Knight Frank: KL best value in the world for office space
Kuala Lumpur provides the best value for investors looking to buy office space compared to other global cities, according to international property consultancy Knight Frank. Office space in Kuala Lumpur could also be rented for less than in many other cities. Besides being cost-competitive in terms of value for money, the capital is also drawing in investors as a city with increasing connectivity to Singapore and cities within the Asean region. According to the study, a 390,000 square feet office in a prime location is available for just US$100 million. In comparison, only offices below 50,000 square feet in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, London and Singapore could be purchased at the same price. KL was also among the top three cheapest cities for rental of prime office space in the upper floors of skyscrapers at just US$34.16 per square foot, compared to Hong Kong (US$278.50), New York’s Manhattan (US$158) and Tokyo (US$149.50). (Malay Mail Online)

Opening of MyTOWN mall in Cheras delayed to 1Q17
The opening of the GDV RM3 billion MyTOWN Shopping Centre in Cheras has been delayed from its initial target of November this year, amid headwinds faced by the shopping mall segment, including the current oversupply situation, lower tourist arrivals, weak domestic retail spending, lacklustre consumer sentiment and intense competition for tenants. The mall, developed by Boustead Ikano Sdn Bhd, will instead open sometime in the first quarter of next year (1Q17). The company plans to leverage the back-to-city crowd after Chinese New Year, which also gives tenants a longer lead time to prepare for opening celebrations. MyTOWN – which targeted an 85% occupancy rate by November and big-name anchor tenants like Village Grocer, GSC, Mango and Uniqlo – is expected to emulate the success of The Curve in Mutiara Damansara. (The Edge Markets)

Artist's impression of MyTOWN Shopping Centre in Cheras, which is located next to IKEA Cheras. (Image from MyTOWN KL)

Artist’s impression of MyTOWN Shopping Centre in Cheras, which is located next to IKEA Cheras. (Image from MyTOWN KL)

6% interest loans unsustainable for developers, say economists
Economists are pointing out that the suggested 6% cap on interest for loans from housing developers is not vialble. They also maintained their criticism of minister Tan Sri Noh Omar’s proposal, saying it would create a “shadow banking” network that is not a long-term solution to current problems with housing affordability. One economist said it could lead developers to financial and cash flow problems, indirectly worsening the problem, while another said there were too many unresolved technical issues which must be clearly defined before the system could be fully evaluated. Normal buyers would not want to borrow from developers as commercial banks offered loan rates below 5%. (Malay Mail Online)

Ekovest to sell 40% stake in DUKE operator to EPF for RM1.13bil
Ekovest Bhd is disposing of a 40% stake in Konsortium Lebuhraya Utara-Timur (KL) Sdn Bhd (Kesturi), operator of the Damansara-Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE), to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for RM1.13 billion. The 40% stake comprises 2 million ordinary shares of RM1 each and 18 million redeemable preference shares of RM1 each held in Kesturi, and 1.44 million new shares of RM1 each to be issued by Kesturi at RM100 apiece upon the completion of a capitalisation exercise. (The Sun Daily)

Sarawak won’t allow developers to give loans
The Sarawak government has rejected the proposal to allow property developers to provide housing loans. State Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out that the move would cause financial complications due to lack of experience, including increased costs of end-financing. He also suggested several alternatives, such as Mutiara Mortgage and Credit Sdn Bhd, which was set up by the state government to provide loans to the low-income group and focuses on PPR projects and the Housing Development Corporation’s (HDC) own affordable projects. Sarawak had introduced the Affordable Housing Policy and Guidelines to ensure there were sufficient affordable homes for the lower and middle-income classes. (Malay Mail Online)

Malaysia attracts RM88.4bil in investments for 1H
Malaysia attracted RM88.4 billion in investments in the first half of 2016, says the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), adding that they are poised to generate over 76,000 jobs. In terms of foreign direct investments, RM28.2 billion was approved during the period. Despite the current economic scenaio, there is continued interest by foreign investors due to strong fundamentals, steady economic growth, quality projects and emerging technologies. The services sector accounts for the largest share of total investments (76.3%), followed by manufacturing (22.2%) and primary sector (1.5%). (New Straits Times Online)