One in five apartments in KLCC are could be ‘unsafe’
One in five of the high-rise properties around Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) is believed to be unsafe due to certain defects caused by shoddy workmanship, apathy and ignorance in property management, as well as lawlessness in the design of buildings. Accredited architect and trainer Anthony Lee Tee from Architect Centre Sdn Bhd said he estimated one out of five “very expensive apartments” around the KLCC area are unsafe in one way or another, either in terms of fire, electrical or glass safety. The estimate could also be applied to all properties in Malaysia, based on property inspections by Architect Centre from 2008 to 2016. The top three unsafe property categories in the country are: mixed strata buildings, renovated buildings, and public buildings, with the root cause being the building design, construction and property management. (The Edge Markets)

Credit quality of housing loans to remain stable
RAM Rating Services Bhd expects the credit quality of banks’ housing loans to stay relatively stable in 2017, despite the spiralling cost of living. The gross impaired loan (GIL) ratio for the industry’s residential property loans remained at a low 1.2% as at end-February 2017. Households’ debt-servicing ability is largely supported by Malaysia’s healthy economic growth and low interest as well as unemployment rates. The residential property sector is expected to remain sluggish in 2017 due to the depressed consumer sentiment and selective lending by banks, resulting in muted transaction volumes, but the availability of affordable housing has been increasing and could contribute 1-2% to the overall loan growth over the next couple of years. (The Star Online)

Strong take-up for Matrix Concepts landed property in Negri
Matrix Concepts (MCHB) is seeing good take-up rates for its landed property developments in Negri Sembilan, as buyers set their sights on cheaper homes outside the Klang Valley. Its managing director Datuk Lee Tian Hock said there is still healthy demand for “reasonably-priced and premium quality” landed properties. 269 units of its double-story link units at Adira Terraces@Ara Sendayan were sold within hours of its launch yesterday. The new development, to be carried out on 77 ha, would be built in four phases, with the second phase launch slated in a couple of months. MCHB is also the developer of the Bandar Sri Sendayan township. (The Star Online)

EWI plans RM728mil Yarra One residential project in Melbourne
Eco World International Bhd (EWI) is planning to buy an 80% stake in Salcon Development (Australia) Pty Ltd (Salcon Australia), which owns a 2,128 sq m parcel of prime land located in Melbourne, Australia. It is proposing to turn the land into a 27-storey tower with 268 apartments complemented by a retail and office podium with about A$218 million (RM728.3 million) GDV. Known as Yarra One, the project is targeted to be launched in 2Q 2017 and completed within the next 3 to 4 years. (The Edge Markets)

Economists: BNM reserves to remain stable
Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign reserves are likely to remain stable with measures to develop the onshore forex market and the trade surplus position, say economists. Foreign reserves increased to US$95.4 billion as at end-March, up US$0.4billion, despite the sharp selling of RM26.2 billion of local bonds by foreigners last month which marked the largest monthly selloff since 2011. The central bank’s reserves are expected to continue benefiting from continued trade surplus position in the first half this year. (New Straits Times Online)

Carey Island port city augurs well for A&M Realty
Malaysia’s plans for a maritime city on Carey Island, Selangor is good news for property developer A&M Realty Bhd. It has largely been under the radar in the past three years amid the prevailing soft property market, and has now got a jump-start in the form of the proposed port city development. A&M owns 1,900 acres of land on the island located to the south of Port Klang, and under its tourism division operates the Amverton Cove Golf & Island Resort. The group has received interest in its land on Carey Island, thanks to the proposed RM200 billion port city project there. A&M has several development projects lined up on Carey Island. (The Edge Markets)

Criticism of developments in KL unfair, says minister
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that criticism on unplanned development in Kuala Lumpur was an attempt to discredit the ministry. Lawmakers had alleged that development in the city was out of control and public land was being used for commercial purposes. He pointed out that KL was the first city in Malaysia to have changed all light fittings to control carbon emissions. He cited Taman Pudu Ulu as an example, adding that the park was in line with Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) aim to provide more facilities and recreational areas for the local population and increase the number of green areas in the city. (The Star Online)

Children having some fun with performers in a wading pool during the launch of Phase Two of Taman Pudu Ulu in Cheras. (Photo from The Star)