Malaysia’s population estimated at 32 million this year
Malaysia’s population this year is estimated at 32 million, comprising 28.7 million citizens and the rest, non-citizens, according to the Statistics Department. Overall population increased 1.3% from 31.6 million last year, but males still outnumbered females at a 107:100 ratio. The median age for Malaysia is 28.3 years. The current population estimates for the period 2016-2017 based on the Population and Housing Census 2010 (Census 2010), considered three major components of population changes, including birth, death and migration. (The Sun Daily)

Bank Negara: Housing loan approval rates remain high
Housing loan approval rates in Malaysia continue to be high, despite the misconception that cooling measures have led to an increase in loan rejections. Bank Negara said banks approved a total of RM22.3bil of house financing in 1Q2017 to 90,137 borrowers. Of these, more than half was for buyers of affordable housing units priced below RM500,000. Overall housing loan approval rate remains high at 74.2%. Generally, housing loan applications were rejected if the borrower was already highly leveraged with weak credit history and had insufficient documentation to support ability to repay loan obligation. (The Star Online)

Sales fall despite more launches
According to NAPIC’s Malaysian Property Market Report 2016, developers launched a total of 52,713 houses last year, but only managed to sell 31.4% of them. In contrast, 42.1% of the houses put in the market in 2015 were sold. Penang reported the worst sales performance of newly-launched homes last year. Developers sold 9.9% of the total 5,646 units put up for sale, a big drop from 48.2% sold in 2015. “Developers are looking at innovative ways to sell their properties but sales are not moving as expected. Its either they build and sell less, or reduce their selling prices,” said a property consultant. There is high demand in the secondary market as the area is more mature and waiting period is shorter. In the NAPIC report, Johor leads with the most unsold units (16,341), followed by Selangor (14,509), Penang (12,933) and Kuala Lumpur (9,188). (NST Online)

PublicInvest: Property prices expected to hold
PublicInvest Research maintains that the property market will remain challenging in 2017 due to the difficult trading environment currently, driven by weak sentiment, low affordability, stricter bank lending and rising incoming supply. The sector is also faced with high property prices (and high household debt) and oversupply in certain segments-such as high-end condominiums especially in Iskandar. It believed property prices would still hold up well however, supported by ample liquidity, high input costs (due to compliance/land costs), the low interest rate environment and strong secular positives (young demographics and improved connectivity from MRT/LRT/HSR spending). (The Star Online)

Ajiya signs MoU with SPNB for housing projects
Ajiya Bhd has inked a one-year MoU with Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) to implement Ajiya’s Green Integrated Building Solutions (AGIBS) in the development of housing projects under SPNB Group. Ajiya would supply its AGIBS at an agreed cost which would be determined later and/or be appointed as design and build contractor for the housing projects under SPNB Group. SPNB is entrusted with the responsibility of developing affordable housing for Malaysians in the lower and middle income group. (The Star Online)

In-depth study on unsold low-cost homes needed
The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) said an in-depth study on unsold low-cost homes needs to be done, in response to a suggestion that the Johor government should buy up unsold units to help out property developers. The association is in discussion with the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government ministry, and is in the midst of collecting data on these unsold low-cost units. It is in the process of finding out how many low-cost units have been built, how many are unsold and where these units are located so that it can advise the government on where not to build and where these low-cost units are needed. (The Edge Markets)

Lien Hoe sells Johor land for RM100mil
Lien Hoe Corp Bhd is planning to sell an estimated 15ha (36.4 acre) land in Johor Bahru for RM100.54 million to generate cash, which will finance the company’s capital requirements. It is selling the freehold land along Jalan Persiaran Seri Alam to Plato Assets (M) Sdn Bhd. The tract, which has been earmarked for commercial buildings, has a net book value of RM10.15 million and the land had a market value of RM103.06 million. (The Edge Markets)

Amprop, Grosvenor to develop high-end apartments in Madrid
Amcorp Properties Bhd (Amprop) and joint venture partner Grosvenor Europe Investments Ltd have acquired two new properties in Madrid, which will be transformed into high-end residential and commercial space. The properties in the Chamberi district were a 10-storey office building and a six-storey corner building on Modesto Lafuente and Santa Engracia streets. The office building would be converted into 13 exclusive apartments, while the corner building would be refurbished into 18 stylish apartments including two unique terraced penthouses. (The Star Online)

480 claim to be cheated of RM2.7mil by housing developer
Between April 2016 and February this year, some 480 people claimed they were cheated of more than RM2.7 million in total by the developer when they were promised affordable housing under the project near Ulu Yam. According to some of the buyers, the project never took off and the site is devoid of any development. The townhouses were to be sold for between RM100,000 and RM200,000. An Indian community NGO has advised the victims to file police reports and hold on to the bounced cheques as evidence. (Free Malaysia Today)