Ekovest to boost size of EkoQuay project in KL
Ekovest Bhd is planning to undertake a mixed development project with GDV of RM293.8mil in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, by combining its existing 1.59-acre land bank with an adjoining piece of land measuring 1.16 acres. Its unit Ekovest Properties Sdn Bhd has signed an agreement to buy the two parcels of land from Ekovest’s substantial shareholder, Lim Seong Hai Holdings Sdn Bhd (LSHHSB), for RM26.77mil. The proposed mixed development project, called EkoQuay, will consist of serviced apartments and retail/commercial blocks. It was previously reported that EkoQuay would be a component of the KL River City project, which also includes EkoGateway, EkoTitiwangsa and EkoRiver. (The Star Online)

Boost for airlines, REITs as more tourists head for Malaysia
Total tourist arrivals to Malaysia this year could jump by over 4% on-year after airline bookings from China to Malaysia surged 72%. This was after China discouraged its citizens from visiting South Korea following disagreements about the deployment of a missile system. Beneficiaries from higher tourist arrivals were the aviation (airlines, airport), hospitality (hotels, theme parks, casino) and consumer (retail, F&B) sectors, which would include MAHB, AirAsia, Genting Bhd, Al-Salam REIT, Sunway REIT and IGB REIT. (The Star Online)

Country Garden Central Park expected to be a hit among buyers
Johor remains a highly attractive market for China property developers, with their continued interest in carrying out development projects there. One of the biggest development is a joint-venture township project by Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd in Tampoi. Known as Country Garden Central Park, the 21.5ha development includes condominiums set amid lush greenery located 5km from the Johor Baru city centre. With an estimated GDV of RM4.6 billion, the development will be completed in several phases, and is expected to be a hit among buyers as its offers a variety of home and living spaces are reasonable prices. It will adopt a green park community concept in urban living. Country Garden Central Park is the fourth project by Country Garden Holdings Co in Malaysia and its third mixed development in Johor. (New Straits Times Online)

A scale model of the Country Garden Central Park development -NST

Suria KLCC expects to keep 96% occupancy rate
KLCCP Stapled Group is currently in the midst of negotiating with a potential tenant to take up 40% of Menara Exxon-Mobil which is vacant. Group CEO Datuk Hashim Wahir said that the management has identified a single tenant in the IT industry servicing the oil and gas (O&G) players to take up the vacant office space. Suria KLCC is expected to maintain its occupancy rate at 96% for FY17, similar to what was seen in the last financial year. This was however a decline from the retail segment’s occupancy rate at 98% in FY15. However, he stressed that the management’s priority is not on the reversion rate but to focus on rebranding and finding the right mix of tenants to better reflect current shopping trends and pave the way for newer brands. (The Edge Markets)

Cuepacs proposes consultative council to monitor house prices
Cuepacs, the umbrella group of civil service unions, has proposed for the government to set up a consultative council to monitor the hike in house prices. Its president Datuk Azih Muda said the effort must be immediately implemented as the government needed to monitor prices and not just adhere to prices set by housing developers. He also hoped that the government would review in detail the reasons for changing the status of Bumiputera units and not easily give approval on the excuse that the housing units could not be sold. (Bernama)

Crime rate in Labuan one of the lowest in the country
Duty-free Labuan, despite being an international financial centre, continues to enjoy one of the lowest crime rates in the country. “In fact, serious property crimes and house break-in-related crimes registered a significant drop, and we will step up efforts to combat drug-related offences,” said Labuan police chief Supt Adzhar Othman. He stressed that police engagement programmes with community at large would continue as it has greatly helped to address social ills and crime. (Astro Awani)

Singapore’s property market to benefit from population and economic growth
Singapore’s property market is expected to benefit from a number of government policy changes that have recently begun to take effect, according to JLL. The financial and professional services firm says it believes the city state’s population and skilled workforce growth rates are set to rise over the next few years to benefit office, retail and residential demand in the local property segment. At the same time, JLL expects gradual relaxation of residential cooling measures, as well as the lift in government housing grants from March 2017, to boost home prices in the years to come. (The Edge Markets)

City Developments markets Singapore’s first Green bond
Singapore property developer City Developments is marketing the first Green bond offering in Singapore. The unrated bond is secured against Republic Plaza, which has scored a green mark platinum from Singapore’s state agency Building and Construction Authority. This is the first time that a Green bond is being offered in the Singapore dollar bond market. Under one of the financial covenants, CDL is required to maintain a net worth of not less than S$240 million. (Reuters)