More high-end condos despite slow demand, say experts
There are more high-end condominium launches and preview in the second half of last year compared to the previous half, despite falling demand for such properties amid the sluggish economy. It was reported by Knight Frank Malaysia that in the second half of 2016, seven high-end projects were completed: KL Trillion, Le Nouvel, Setia Sky Residences (Divina Tower), Three28 Tun Razak, Nadi Bangsar, KL Eco City and Serai Bukit Bandaraya. The firm said there was an excess of 46,047 units of high-end condominiums and houses at the end of 2016. Putrajaya’s move to increase the stamp duty rate for real estate worth more than RM1 million which comes into effect in 2018 would be a double-edged sword for the market as it may help boost sales of properties this year and force developers to build cheaper in the future. (Malay Mail Online)

EcoWorld sets RM4bil sales target for FY17
EcoWorld Development Group Bhd has set an ambitious RM4 billion property sales target for FY17 ending October 2017. It is believed that the property developer is able to meet its sales target in FY17, given the overwhelming response to the group’s launches in FY15 and FY16. The group’s property sales in FY17 will be supported by 15 on-going projects and two new projects to be launched in FY17 namely Eco Forest at Semenyih, Selangor and Eco Horizon at Batu Kawan, Penang. Factors that will help generate interest and sales include the group’s strong brand name, good track record, innovative products, completion of units, focus on gated-and-guarded strata homes, and eco-friendly amenities. (The Borneo Post)

Pavilion REIT’s operating expenses to remain high in FY17
Pavilion REIT’s operating expenses are expected to remain high in FY17 for maintenance work of Pavilion KL, and due to higher operating expenses allocated towards promotional and marketing initiatives for da:men Mall and Intermark Mall. Following the acquisition of a controlling stake in WCT Holdings Bhd, new assets comprising BBT One Mall and Paradigm Mall with combined market value of about RM1.2 billion will likely to be injected into Pavilion REIT. (The Edge Markets)

Bank Negara slaps RM1.4mil fine on financial institution
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has imposed an administrative monetary penalty of RM1.4mil on a financial institution for failure to notify it promptly after learning of its dealers’ misconduct involving the fixing of the US dollar/ringgit exchange rate. The financial institution, which was not named, had paid the penalty. Money and foreign exchange (forex) market manipulation activities were prohibited under the Financial Services Act 2013 (FSA), and institutions aware of such findings are required to notify the central bank immediately. (The Star Online)

Bayan Baru underpass plan underway
The proposed 0.5km underpass may be constructed from Krystal Point in Bayan Lepas to somewhere nearby the Kompleks Bukit Jambul to facilitate traffic flow and solve traffic congestion in the area. Hunza Properties Berhad is preparing to submit a planning permission to the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) for the underpass at the Bayan Baru roundabout. Hunza Properties plans to develop the Penang International Commercial City (PICC), a mixed development project with GDV of RM8 billion, over a 10-year period on a 43-acre land in Bayan Baru, which is near the planned underpass. (The Star Online)

The Penang International Convention Centre (PICC) is getting a major uplift with its renaming to Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition (SPICE). (Image from MyCEB)

The Penang International Convention Centre (PICC) is getting a major uplift with its renaming to Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition (SPICE). (Image from MyCEB)

NWP eyes property projects in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka
After successfully diversifying into the construction business, timber products company NWP Holdings Bhd is venturing into property development. The loss-making company hopes to see a turnaround in its current year results. It plans to use NWP as a platform for property development, and is looking at projects in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, said CEO Datuk Seri Nelson Kee Soon Ling. The company plans to enter property development this year, and sees huge potential in the company due to sales experience in properties. (The Edge Markets)

china propertyChinese investors’ appetite for overseas assets hits record high
The increasing appetite of Chinese mainland investors for international real estate assets reached a record high in 2016, and is likely to continue to play a significant role in the global property market in the next few years. Research by leading real estate firrm Jones Lang LaSalle found that Chinese mainland’s outbound investment last year in commercial and residential properties surged 53% from 2015, hitting $33 billion. Over the past three years investments in land, office buildings and hotels accounted for 90% of the overall outbound property investments. In 2016, hotel and industrial properties were the two segments that saw the biggest investment increases. Land acquisition in Hong Kong, Australia and Malaysia were the most popular. (China Daily)