KL named best city to rent in the world
Kuala Lumpur has been named on one index as the best city of opportunity for renters in the world above Moscow and Johannesburg. According to new study of housing affordability by US-based apartment search website RENTCafé, Kuala Lumpur the best city worldwide to live in terms of relative rental costs. RENTCafé took PwC’s recent Cities of Opportunity report, which listed the firm’s chosen 30 best cities globally to live and work in, and ranked them according to rental affordability. Singapore, which took the number spot in PwC’s list, dropped to 25th place in RENTCafé’s list due to soaring rental prices. (Asian Correspondent)

S&P expects Malaysia’s economy to grow over 4% up to 2020
S&P Global Ratings expects the Malaysian government to continue implementing prudent budgetary and economic policies, and forecasts the economy will grow at an average rate of over 4% between now and 2020. The stable outlook was based on its expectation that Malaysia‘s strong external position and monetary flexibility would balance its relatively weaker, but improving, public finances over the next 24 months. (The Star Online)

Titijaya to launch two high-rise residential projects in Q3
Titijaya Land Bhd aims to launch two high-rise residential projects with GDV of RM3.25bil by the third quarter of this year. The properties are the 2.02 hectare Riveria City @KL Sentral (RM1.45bil GDV) and the 2.42 hectare 3rd Avenue @ Embassy Row Kuala Lumpur. Riveria is a high-rise lifestyle office and two blocks of service apartments, while 3rd Avenue with a New York concept, is located at a residential hotspot. Titijaya plans to continue specializing in smaller units due to strong demand, and is looking to acquire more landbank in Malaysia, particularly Klang Valley and Penang. (The Star Online)

Riveria Sentral @ KL

Artist’s impression of Riveria Sentral @ KL (Image from Titijaya)

SP Setia to acquire I&P Group for RM3.65bil
SP Setia Bhd has agreed to buy sister company I&P Group Sdn Bhd for RM3.65bil in cash, which will enable it to almost double its land bank and fast-track its expansion plans. The I&P group, a township developer, has a land bank of about 4,276 acres located in the central part of Klang Valley and Johor Baru. Acquiring I&P will boost the SP Setia group’s land bank by 83% to 9,417 acres. (The Star Online)

Prime office leasing market like to remain challenging
The leasing market for prime office space in Kuala Lumpur is expected to remain challenging as new supply comes in. Rents for older buildings in KL’s Golden Triangle may come under pressure as landlords look for tenants to backfill space vacated by companies that are either downsizing or moving out of the area. According to NAPIC’s property market report for last year, office building completions in Kuala Lumpur were around 320,643 sq m, but the take-up rate was only for 24,646 sq m. New supply of office space for Kuala Lumpur this year and next year is expected to be between 4.72 million and 6 million sq ft, respectively. Singapore, which expects its prime-office leasing market to bottom out next year, is also facing a similar decline in rental earnings. (NST Online)

PR1MA homesPR1MA spurs developers to build affordable housing units
The 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA) initiative has led to more private property developers building affordable homes. Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias said that previously, not many developers were involved in building homes for the middle-income group. “But we have noticed that over the last few years, especially after we started marketing our products, developers have been targeting the same market.” Despite the soft property market, demand for PR1MA houses has been encouraging, with a total of 9,791 units worth RM2.3bil sold to date. (The Star Online)

Malaysia’s good infrastructure continues to help economic growth
The proof of the country’s strong economic fundamentals is in the numbers, said Statistics Department chief statistician Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin. The findings of the five-year 2016 National Economic Statistic Census showed that Malaysia has strong fundamentals with good institutions and infrastructure which continue to attract investments and growth. Gross national output grew 7.5% to RM2.5 trillion in 2015. Private and infrastructure development projects saw the construction sector expand from RM91.3bil in 2010 to RM177.9bil in 2015. (The Star Online)

Glomac 4Q net profit shrinks 94.36%
A loss in “other operating income” has dragged Glomac Bhd’s fourth-quarter net profit down 94.36% to RM1.28 million, from RM22.64 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 16.12% mainly due to completion of Glomac Centro and Reflection Residences, and tail-end projects in Saujana Rawang. Glomac plans to open initial phases of terrace houses for launch at its new developments in Saujana Utama 5 in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, and Saujana Jaya in Kulai, Johor. (The Edge Markets)