Master plan on urban welfare to be introduced
The Housing and Local Government Ministry will be introducing a master plan relating to the welfare of urban people in efforts to uplift city dwellers’ quality of living. Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar said the plan would be made as a guideline in the planning and implementation of urban development and services, and consist of 10 main cores including economic, human development, education, housing, transport, health, security, infrastructure, social and environmental. The master plan is meant to solve various public issues in the cities by reviewing policies and improving existing systems. (Malaysian Digest)

Cuepacs wants govt to review National Housing Policy
The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) has urged the government to review the National Housing Policy to enable civil servants in the lower income category to own houses. Its president Datuk Azih Muda said assistance was required due to rising cost of living and high cost of houses that can reach up to RM400,000 for a terrace house in Kelantan. He suggested that a special fund be set up to finance house buyers who were not eligible due to their small salary, and hoped that a proposal submitted by the union would be included in the tabling of Budget 2017 this month. (Astro Awani)

Malaysian developers seek budget boost in slow property market
An industry survey by the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association showed sales of property developers dropped “significantly” in the first half of 2016 compared with the second half of 2015, with almost 70% saying that end-financing for buyers was the biggest problem. Measures to help middle-income earners to buy a house are expected in the 2017 Budget. The government is studying ways to overcome this problem, and is also in talks with EPF to increase the amount of mandatory savings that can be used for home purchases. Developers have urged banks to provide bigger loans to those purchasing their first homes, at the same time calling for the government to consider granting tax incentives for the development of affordable housing in cities. (The Star Online)

LBS expects Ijok project to contribute from next year
LBS Bina Group is set to undertake another major development, which is expected to help it grow further. While its flagship development Bandar Saujana Putra remains the main contributor to LBS’ sales, accounting fo half of total sales, the new development in Ijok, near Kuala Selangor, is expected to help it achieve double-digit growth. The mixed-development township, to be undertaken jointly with the Selangor government, is estimated to have a GDV of RM3.43 billion over a 12-year period. It will have at least 3,700 landed properties, consisting of terraced and semi-D houses. There will also be Rumah SelangorKu units within the development. Another major development project LBS is banking on is its 640-acre Dengkil township development, which will have 400 to 500 units of affordable landed houses. (The Edge Markets)

Axis REIT sitting on ‘gold mine’
Axis REIT is sitting on a ‘gold mine’ that is waiting to be excavated, in the form of its 50-acre property in Klang, that can generate a net yield of nearly 10% over 10 years through the first development on it. At a plot ratio of 60%, the land — dubbed Axis PDI Centre — can easily house one million sq ft of single-storey industrial properties. The timing is perfect for the REIT, as the Securities Commission Malaysia is proposing a liberalisation of the REIT sector which will allow managers to develop their own properties. In August, the trust announced that the first phase of PDI Centre’s development will include the construction of 515,000 sq ft of warehouse in 18 months. Once the warehouse is completed, a Nestle Bhd subsidiary will immediately move into the building, which will make it a yielding property from the get-go. (The Edge Markets)

Chinese interest in Malaysian property jumps five-fold
There has been a five and a half times rise in Chinese investor interest in Malaysian real estate. Chinese buyer enquiries for Malaysian properties rose 550% in the year to August 2016 on the website and Malaysian online property listing views increased by 52.7% in the same time period. Real estate in Malaysia is ranked 11th worldwide on the website in Chinese buyer interest. The average value of property searched for is US$224,000. On top of the economic ties drawing the two companies closer together, Malaysia’s property sector is making a concerted effort to attract Chinese buyers. They are locating and designing projects to appeal to Chinese as well as locals, and they are marketing them in China. For Chinese buyers, Malaysia is a nearby country with an appealing and very affordable housing market, as well as attracting those pursuing investment or lifestyle changes, have family or commercial ties, or simply cannot afford to purchase in the US or Australia. (OPP Today)