World Bank keeps 2017 GDP growth forecast for Malaysia
The World Bank has maintained its forecast of Malaysia’s 2017 economic growth at 4.3%. It is a relatively conservative forecast, which anticipates that the economy will be anchored by higher government subsidies, more infrastructure spending and rising exports. However, the government’s fiscal position remains under pressure despite a gradual pickup in global trade growth and rising commodity prices. The World Bank expects Malaysia’s fiscal deficit to fall to 3% this year, and to 2.8% in 2018, from 3.1% in 2016. (The Edge Markets)

Bukit Tunku prime land sold at a loss
Property consultants are scratching their heads over the case of a prime piece of land in Malaysia being sold at a loss. It was reported that land purchased by property developer Thriven Global Bhd in Bukit Tunku a decade ago was recently transacted at a loss of RM11 million. “It’s one of the most sought-after residential addresses and there is no indication that prices of properties there are coming down”, said Siva Shanker. Thriven said the land had been earmarked for bungalow units, which did not generate the type of returns intended by the company, as it was now focusing on developing affordable projects and developments worth over RM100mil. (The Star Online)

Lion Industries sells office building for RM47.7mil
Lion Industries Corp Bhd is selling its office building in Klang to Yinson Corp Sdn Bhd for RM47.7mil through a sale and leaseback arrangement. Its unit Lion Metal Industries Sdn Bhd had entered into a SPA with Yinson for the disposal of a 3.23-ha parcel of land in Klang, Selangor. Meanwhile, another unit of Lion Industries, Amsteel Mills Sdn Bhd, has entered into a lease agreement with Yinson for the lease of the property on the land for a period of five years. Lion Industries will use the proceeds to partly settle its debt to Yinson without disrupting its plant operations. (The Star Online)

HBA calls for homebuyers to pursue rights over late delivery
The National House Buyers Association (HBA) has called on house buyers whose properties weren’t delivered on time to pursue their legal rights and entitlement to compensation under the law. This is in the wake of a recent revelation that 304 extensions of time (EOT) had been given to developers since 2014. Under the statutory SPA, a housing developer is supposed to complete and hand over a unit to a buyer within a stipulated time frame – 24 months for landed property and 36 months for strata – failing which they will have to pay liquidated ascertained damages (LAD) to the buyer. However, under “special circumstances”, the developer can appeal for an EOT, which grants an extension without having to pay LAD. (Free Malaysia Today)

(Image from SAYS)

Selangor suspends house of worship building guidelines
The Selangor government has suspended enforcement of amendments pertaining to houses of worship in the Selangor Town and Country Planning Guidelines. This follows the controversy over restrictions on the building of new non-Muslim places of workship. The state government has asked its Town and Country Planning Department (JPBD) to review a portion of the guidelines before deciding on the next appropriate course of action. Among the “controversial” guidelines was the requirement for these houses of worship not to be present in commercial areas or to be at least 50 metres from the nearest Muslim home. (Free Malaysia Today)

Matrix Concepts to focus on Malaysian property market
Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd is putting its plans to expand its property development business overseas on hold, as it strives to cater to existing demand for properties in Malaysia. The property developer will consider whether to conduct more projects outside Malaysia, upon completion of its sole overseas development called “M.Carnegie” in Melbourne, Australia. Meanwhile, the Negeri Sembilan developer is teaming up with NECL and NHC to set up a plant in Sendayan TechValley in the state to manufacture pre-fabricated building materials using the Industrialised Building System (IBS) method. (The Edge Markets)

Wealth report shows ultra rich Malaysians up 3% last year
Despite the weakening ringgit, the number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) Malaysians increased 3% last year to 1,020 people, according to the latest Knight Frank’s 2017 Wealth Report. The increase is in tandem with the overall growth in Asia and Australasia regions. Based on Knight Frank’s calculations, the number of ultra rich Malaysians who had at least US$30 million (RM1.3 billion) in net assets numbered about 990 people in 2015. The ranking is based on its four measures of current wealth, investment, connectivity and future wealth. According to the report, Vietnam saw the biggest jump in super-rich Individuals last year, while London and New York secured the top two spots in the list. (Malay Mail Online)

Singapore property prices to double by 2030: Morgan Stanley
The protracted downtrend in Singapore’s property market is poised to end next year, with home prices set to double by 2030, noted global financial services firm Morgan Stanley. That implies a 5% to 6% increase per annum and would mark a reversal from a long downtrend in home prices. “Property market bears expect slower population growth, an ageing population, and a structural growth slowdown to weigh on the long-term property market outlook.” The city-state’s housing prices surged more than 60% from 2009 through 2013, even as the government enacted cooling measures. However, in early March this year, some of the curbs were scaled back, indicating the property market was closer to the bottom, which should improve buyer sentiment. (Malaysia Chronicle)