Secondary market a good option for first time home buyers
First time home-buyers should look into the secondary market as an alternative because they are more affordable, said the Finance Ministry. The primary market pricing is usually inflated, due to freebies and rebates, and there is a higher chance for loan eligibility in the secondary market. Currently, the market share for secondary properties stood at 82% with the remaining 18% in the primary sector. (Astro Awani)

Strong demand for affordable homes
Affordable housing will continue to lead demand in the residential segment of the property market, amid expectations that sentiment will remain soft this year. However, demand in the residential segment, particularly for houses ranging between RM200,000 and RM250,000, will remain strong. New launches will continue to slow down as developers opt to review their products and pricing. Property developers were urged to exclude freebies and rebates in pricing their products as it would lead to higher market price of the units. This could eventually affect house buyers’ eligibility for home financing as a larger loan amount would be required. (The Star Online)

Bad time for retail space with ‘megamall domination’, developers warned
Property developers are warned against building more shopping malls in Klang Valley this year, due to oversupply of malls in the region. Allan Soo, the managing director of Savills (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, said the market is currently dominated by eight of what he dubbed “megamalls”, and the number is expected to rise to 14 by in just five years. Soo said challenges in the retail industry this year included shrinking global luxury market, falling margins due to the weak ringgit, and poor consumer sentiments leading to lower spending. Retail occupancy rate in Greater KL has fallen from 91.7% in 2012 to 89.2% last year, causing lower rental yields for new malls. (Malay Mail Online)

prasarana public transport bus lrt

Image from KiniBiz

Prasarana receives international recognition for public transport initiatives
Prasarana Malaysia Berhad’s contribution and ongoing initiatives in the public transportation sector has received recognition from the prestigious 7th Middle East Business Leaders Awards (MEBLA) held in London recently. Prasarana won the Excellence Leadership and Infrastructure Development award at the event, in recognition of its massive contribution in management of public transport operations and development of public transport infrastructure that included the new LRT Line Extension Project and SEA’s first elevated Bus Rapid Transit system, as well as its efforts to help in rejuvenating the public transport industry in the country. (New Straits Times Online)

SP Setia posts pre-tax profits of RM1.18bil
Property developer, SP Setia Bhd recorded a pre-tax profit of RM1.18 billion for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 on the back of RM4.95 billion in revenue. For the fourth quarter, pre-tax profit stood at RM527.23 million and revenue at RM1.77 billion. The results were attributed to several ongoing projects in Malaysia, as well as the Eco Sanctuary in Singapore, Battersea Power Station in London and Parque Melbourne in Australia. Revenue from other operations were by wood-based manufacturing, trading activities and operation of the retail mall and Setia City Convention Centre. (Astro Awani)

Encorp profit soars as property business improves
Property development and construction firm Encorp Bhd boosted its earnings by almost four times to RM16.8mil in Q4 of FY16. The increase in revenue in the quarter was attributed to higher progress of works achieved by the property division in the Encorp Marina Puteri Harbour project in Johor, coupled with close monitoring and effective management of group costs. For 2017, the group will focus on measures to increase efficiencies and pursue innovative concepts to enhance its development projects. (The Star Online)

Singapore property demand remains ‘very resilient’
Singapore’s property demand remains “very resilient,” supported by factors including low interest rates and a stable economy, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said. “Our economy is still growing, so I think demand is still healthy and our assessment is these factors will remain for some time,” said Wong, who is also the second finance minister. Singapore home prices fell 3% in 2016, with prices declining for the 13th straight quarter. Singapore’s government has been steadfast in its commitment to cool the housing market, maintaining real estate curbs rolled out since 2009, with some of the strictest measures implemented in 2013. Singapore’s residential property curbs are set to stay in place for at least another year amid signs the city’s housing market is stabilising. (The Star Online)

PJ Old Town bus terminal 95% complete
Petaling Jaya Old Town’s brand new, revamped bus terminal started construction in mid-2015 and is set to open next month. Located along Jalan Othman, on the site of the old terminal, its construction is now 95% completed, with final works to be done such as installation of escalators and exterior lighting, and road resurfacing. The new terminal has two storeys and its earlier 20 tenants will occupy the first floor. Upgrading works were also ongoing for the wet market nearby. (Star Metro)

PJ Old Town's new bus terminal is built on the site of the old bus terminal.  -AIMAN ARIFUDDIN/The Star

PJ Old Town’s new bus terminal is built on the site of the old bus terminal. -AIMAN ARIFUDDIN/The Star