KL remains top choice for commercial investment, development
Kuala Lumpur remains the top choice for commercial investment or development, followed by Selangor (23%), Johor (20%), Penang (17%) and Sabah (11%), according to Knight Frank Malaysia. In its Malaysia Commercial Real Estate Investment Sentiment Survey 2017, interest in KL had waned marginally, with more respondents looking to diversify their investments to popular regions like Penang, Johor and Sabah. Both office and retail markets will continue to be under pressure with rental and occupancy due to oversupply, while logistics/industrial space will see high demand due to growth of e-commerce. Sabah and Penang were seen as attractive for hotel/leisure investment, and there will be increased interest in the healthcare/institutional sub-sector among developers. (New Straits Times Online)

Eco World Development targets RM4bil in sales for 2017
Despite acknowledging the challenging real estate market, Eco World Development Group Bhd is optimistic of achieving RM4 billion in sales in the current year ending Oct 2017. CEO Datuk Chang Khim Wah noted that the interest rate was attractive so far, and property sales remained strong despite households facing rising cost of living. The key to achieving its sales target is innovation and having the right products in strategic areas, along with enhanced security, infrastructure, and amenities. With unbilled property sales of RM6 billion as of Oct 2016, Chang said the group is focusing on existing projects in Penang, Johor Baru and the Klang Valley. (New Straits Times Online)

KL SG HSR routePotential spillover benefits up to RM650bil from HSR
MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd believes the 350km high-speed rail (HSR) connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will result in a potential spillover of economic benefits up to RM650 billion in gross national income by 2069. This is according to a study by economic consultant EC Harris for SPAD, in an ‘unconstrained scenario’ where the government adopts a “very strong approach”, takes over land, and dictates what is to be developed on the land. In a constrained scenario, where private land owners can develop whatever they want on their land, the figure would be somewhere around RM200 billion. Another study by McKinsey for Khazanah Nasional Bhd found the wider economic benefit from the rail to be at least RM21 billion. (The Edge Markets)

UEM Sunrise to develop RM750mil project on MCOBA land
UEM Sunrise Bhd’s unit, Sunrise Innovation Sdn Bhd, will develop the Malay College Old Boys Association’s (MCOBA) land in Kuala Lumpur into a mixed development project, with GDV over RM750 million. Two blocks of service apartments with facilities would be built on the 1.07ha site located along Jalan Syed Putra. The development deal will also involve the construction of a new office building for MCOBA and a 1,200-pax banquet hall. The land’s strategic location would appeal to city dwellers, due to its proximity to amenities and commercial hubs such as Mid Valley City and KL Sentral. (The Star Online)

Melati Ehsan ramps up property development to boost revenue
Melati Ehsan Holdings Bhd is looking to reduce reliance on construction jobs by ramping up activities in property development. For FY16 construction jobs contributed 70-80% of its total revenue. The company aims to reduce its revenue from construction to 50-60% by FY18. A shift towards property development will help to improve its net profit by FY18, as it will be able to reduce reliance on construction where profit margins are small. It is on the lookout for more land in the Klang Valley, especially in locations close to public transport or transit-oriented developments. (The Sun Daily)

bicycle laneKedah to introduce bicycle lanes in future projects
Following the teenage cyclists tragedy in Johor Bahru, the Kedah government has recommended that local authorities include bicycle and pedestrian lanes for every new landscape project in the state, in order to avoid a recurrence of similar incidents. In April, a bicycle lane separated from the motor vehicle traffic would be incorporated in an Alor Setar Municipal City Landscape project. The 2.5 metre wide lane covering a 3.5km distance would be painted with special colours to distinguish it from the main road. (New Straits Times Online)

⚠ ‘Be alert when buying old high-rise units’
Buyers of secondary properties, particularly apartments and condominiums, need to make sure the seller(s) have settled outstanding payments owed to the Joint Management Body (JMB) of the building, or risk being saddled with debt as of Jan 1 next year. This could pose a major problem to house buyers when changes are made to the Strata Titles (Amendment) Act 2016 are implemented then. With the new law, owners of apartments and condominiums could sell their properties even if they owed money to the JMB. Currently, the JMB’s consent is required and all outstanding payments completed before a unit can change hands. The new Act would affect thousands of high-rise unit owners in Penang, which has the highest number of high-rise buildings next to Selangor. (The Star Online)