Budget 2017: 100% stamp duty exemption for first-time home buyers
In the recently tabled 2017 Budget, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a full waiver of stamp duty for first-time home buyers, up from the current rate of 50%. However, the exemption is limited to houses valued at a maximum of RM300,000 for first time home buyers for a limited time between January next year and December 2018. He also announced new additions to the newly grouped lifestyle tax relief category to include gym memberships, printed newspapers, smartphones, tablets, and internet subscriptions up to RM2,500 per year. The category currently includes reading materials, computers and sports equipment. (Malay Mail Online)

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)

MyTOWN still confident of replicating The Curve’s success
Despite the announcement that its opening would be postponed to the first quarter next year, instead of the initial launch in November, MyTOWN shopping mall in Cheras is still optimistic of its replicating the success of its sister mall, The Curve. In the case of MyTOWN’s opening, which will be missing the upcoming Christmas and Chinese New Year (CNY) shopping seasons, the delay is mainly to ensure higher expectations of clients on the mall are met. In addition, the management is also focusing on heightening mall security and enhancing its parking system for customers’ benefit. MyTOWN general manager Joakim Hogsander is not concerned that the mall will be missing the two festive seasons, as he believes the mall can still leverage on the back-to-the-city crowd after CNY. The extra time will also allow tenants a longer lead time to prepare for opening celebrations. MyTown, jointly developed and owned by Boustead Holdings Bhd and Ikano Pte Ltd, is positioning itself as a new family and lifestyle shopping centre, anchored by the largest IKEA in Malaysia. (The Edge Markets)

Johor to implement development charge on property developers
The Johor government is planning to impose a development charge on property projects in the state, in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (Act 172). It is currently in the final stage of coordination before being presented to the Mentri Besar. The charge would be levied on the applicant if a development project was approved for the conversion of land use, which changed the floor area, compactness and density, would raise its value. The purpose of the development charge is to accommodate provisions to provide and improve infrastructure and public facilities in the area, resulting from the approval given to the plan. (The Star Online)

Ascenda Residence @ SkyArena (Image from SkyWorld)

Ascenda Residence @ SkyArena (Image from SkyWorld)

SkyWorld plans RM900mil launches this year; mulls listing
SkyWorld Development Bhd, the developer of the mega 28-acre SkyArea mixed development in Setapak, is undeterred by the current property market and has several projects worth GDV RM900 million to be launched towards the end of this year. Although the group acknowledges that the market will “still be challenging” next year, it remains confident of its upcoming launches due to strong take-up rates for past projects, such as the Ascenda SkyArena residential project in Setapak with 95% take-up rate and the Bennington Residence Phase 1 with 90% take-up rate. The group is also committed to building affordable homes, and is now building 2,000 units of affordable housing within the SkyAwani mixed development in Sentul. 1,262 units have already been taken up. The group plans to build another 4,000 units of affordable housing within the Klang Valley, though the location for the units has yet to be determined. (The Edge Markets)

Govt to guarantee up to RM100,000 for buyers of PR1MA homes
The government will guarantee up to RM100,000 under the special step-up end-financing scheme announced for PR1MA. Some buyers who were chosen from the PR1MA balloting process were still unable to obtain loans, therefore the government has agreed with banks to guarantee up to RM100,000 for these buyers. In the event of a loan default, the property will be put up for auction. A statement released by the EPF on Friday, however, cautioned that buyers choosing the facility will no longer be eligible for other pre-retirement withdrawals under Account 2, namely education, Age 50 and Hajj withdrawals, until the PR1MA loan is fully settled. (The Sun Daily)

No delay in PR1MA projects nationwide
There have not been any delays in the implementation of PR1MA housing projects nationwide, the Dewan Rakyat was told. “All PR1MA projects are being implemented according to schedule..this would not have been possible if there were problems of payment and so on,” said a minister, in reply to a query about the number of PR1MA projects bein delayed due to issue of payment to sub contractors. 90 PR1MA projects involving 103,615 housing units had been commenced at various locations throughout the country. The housing units are in Johor (5,747); Kedah (13,987); Melaka (16,860); Negeri Sembilan (6,468); Pahang (7,263); Penang (15,005); Perak (10,282); Perlis (1,311); Sabah (7,724) Sarawak; (4,288); Selangor (7,864); Terengganu (350); Kuala Lumpur (4,797) and Kelantan (1,669). (Malay Mail Online)