93% of Malaysians do not own houses, expect to do so within next 5 years
A recent survey by HSBC found that 93% of Malaysians who do not own houses, expect to do so in the next five years. The increasing supply of affordable houses and transport infrastructure by property developers, would help stabilise property prices over this period, according to the survey. Houses below RM500,000 are in high demand among millennials seeking to buy their first home, but find themselves unable to do so because of rising property prices and slow salary increments. The HSBC research identified four actions that millennials can undertake to make house ownership a reality: Plan early and do not underestimate the deposit, budget beyond the purchase price, reconsider daily expenses and get a full view of your finances. (New Straits Times Online)

China now top property investor in Malaysia
China has overtaken Singapore as the biggest investors in Malaysia’s property market, amid Chinese emigration to Malaysia. The Financial Times reported that Chinese groups have invested more than US$2.1 billion in Malaysian real estate over the past three years, compared to US$985mil by Singaporean companies from 2014 to 2016. The paper noted that China has increased its investment in Malaysian real estate at a time when closer political ties between Putrajaya and Beijing have smoothened commercial relations. (Malay Mail Online)

More restructuring for PNB after value of companies rise by RM20bil
Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will continue to unlock value in its companies, encouraged by the RM20bil rise in market value of its six main listed entities. In describing his plan of “building a distinctive world-class investment house”, PNB group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar alluded to more restructuring to create more “pure play” companies focusing on their core activities. Wahid reckons that the announced demerger plans for Sime Darby Bhd and UMW Holdings Bhd had excited the market. This, in turn, has contributed to a rise in the market value of its six main listed companies by RM20bil since the beginning of the year. They include Malayan Banking Bhd, Sime Darby, UMW, Chemical Company of Malaysia, SP Setia Bhd, and MNRB Holdings Bhd. (The Star Online)

Sunway Construction bags three projects worth RM186mil
Sunway Construction Group Bhd’s (SunCon) has been awarded three new projects for a combined contract value of RM186.29 million. It had received a letter of award from Gas District Cooling (Putrajaya) Sdn Bhd to provide chilled water supply systems and power generation systems for the Gas District Cooling (GDC) Plant 1 project in Putrajaya for RM152.4 million. It also secured a project from Cergas Murnin Sdn Bhd, for a contract sum of RM18.06 million for piling works at the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway. The third is a piling work project for the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway for a contract sum of RM15.83 million. (The Sun Daily)

Undersupply of affordable houses seen to worsen
The undersupply of affordable homes in the local property market is expected to worsen, going forward, due to demographic factors and current income trends. According to Bank Negara’s Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report 2016, the increase in house prices has outstripped the rise in income levels since 2012, with median house prices beyond the reach of most Malaysians. There is a gross mismatch between housing supply and demand, compounded by the fact that the distribution of new housing supply has been concentrated in the higher-priced categories. The central bank said policy interventions were required, with commitment from both the government and private sector. (The Star Online)

Artist's impression of Harmoni 1 (Image from Sime Darby Property)

Artist’s impression of Harmoni 1 (Image from Sime Darby Property)

Sime Darby launches affordable homes project in Putra Heights
Sime Darby Property has launched Harmoni 1, an affordable homes project under the Rumah Selangorku housing scheme, comprising 1,700 apartment units in Putra Heights with prices ranging from RM170,000 to RM270,000. The project has a GDV of about RM359mil and will have four apartment blocks, with facilities such as a five-and-a-half storey car park, a multipurpose hall, two guard houses, and green space for community wellness. Harmoni 1 Putra Heights is the second affordable home project by Sime Darby Property; the first was launched in 2015 in Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang. (The Star Online)

China stops individuals from buying Beijing commercial property
In the latest step by authorities to cool the market, China’s regulators have introduced rules to curb the purchase of new commercial property in Beijing by individuals. New commercial plots can now only be sold to enterprises, public entities and social organisations. Personal loans for buying commercial property have also been suspended. Only second-hand commercial property can be sold to individuals, who have to prove income tax payments for five consecutive years and hold no property. The smallest unit available should be a minimum of 500 square meters and real estate agencies that falsely advertise commercial plots as housing will be punished. (New Straits Times Online)

MM2H scheme brought in RM3bil last year
The Malaysia My Second Home (MMH2) programme contributed about RM2.9bil to the national economy last year, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. The amount included collection of visa fees worth RM6.85mil, opening of permanent bank savings accounts in the country worth RM542.55mil and property purchases worth RM673.96mil. However, the amount did not include the average household spending based on the children’s education and other additional cost such as the purchase of CBU vehicles. Malaysia is ranked number six in the world for best place to retire, and is the top pick for long-term stay among Japanese nationals above 40 years old. (The Star Online)