Pilot project can stop sale of heritage buildings to foreigners
The George Town World Heritage Incorporated’s (GTWHI) pilot project to come up with sustainable restoration methods in cooperation with a clan association is a move in the right direction, said property consultant Michael Geh. This will encourage more heritage building owners to restore and keep their buildings instead of selling it off. In the past 10 years, these owners faced problems such as heritage guidelines and not being given simple, straight-forward answers on what to do when restoring the buildings, leading to dilapidation and dereliction of inner city houses. The pilot project aims to assist heritage buildings owners to restore their buildings sustainably and affordably without resorting to selling off their properties to others, including foreigners. (Malay Mail Online)

SPNB to build housing projects near sewage treatment plants
The government aims to build 500,000 units of houses at sewage treatment plant areas using a new technology in the next five to 10 years. A smart partnership between Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) and a private company ould allow SPNB to develop a residential area by redeeming the use of sewage sites owned by Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK). Using new technology, sewage areas will be minimized to 5-10% of the initial area, while the rest is for use of public housing without compromising on sewage processes. The initiative is in line with the government’s three-key priorities which is to cover the cost of living, transportation and housing. (Astro Awani)

Interest seen returning to mortgage market
Interest seems to be returning to the mortgage market and interestingly, it is not just loan applications that have increased but the approval rate as well. According to the latest Bank Negara Malaysia statistics, mortgage applications have been rising every month since the start of the year, with May registering a 20% increase year on year. The approval rate for housing loans is also rising. The stock market is performing better, and the overall economic growth rate has improved slightly, following the cautious approach due to uncertainties in the past two years. The increase in loan applications and approvals can be attributed to several factors such as developers launching more mid-range and affordable properties, and secondary market sellers having more realistic asking prices. (The Edge Markets)

Credit control, cooling measures will impact Penang property market
Residential property transactions in Penang will improve slightly from the final quarter of this year, but the luxury market is expected to remain sluggish because of cooling measures and tighter credit control, say property experts. Cooling measures have brought down property prices in Penang, and investors are expected to start buying from both primary and secondary markets. However, with the PTMP (Penang Transport Master Plan) set to be completed only in 2030, there will not be improvements in the property market overnight. (NST Online)

Putrajaya urged to set higher green standards for developers
The government has been urged to increase the amount of greenery in new property development projects, in the wake of calls from an environmental NGO for developers to strike a better balance between market demands and preserving nature. The current green ratio requirement is set at onlu 10%, and has been implemented by the local authorities in Kuala Lumpur, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam and Klang. Aside from the 10% green ratio, the Green Building Index (GBI) also sets the bar for rating green buildings, although it is not compulsory. Green spaces are important because they help produce oxygen, filter air pollutants, reduce carbon dioxide, provide shade and a sanctuary for small animals and insects. Especially in urban areas, green spaces encourage social interaction and provide a place for the building’s occupants to interact. (Free Malaysia Today)

Chow Kit set to be wholesale hub by 2020
Chow Kit is a well-known wholesale area in Kuala Lumpur. By 2020, there will be a new landmark when the Chow Kit Trade Center (CKTC) opens, transforming the area into a bigger wholesale and retail shopping destination. Developed by New Paradisee Development Sdn Bhd, a property firm under Vinsoon Group, the 10-storey wholesale mall will be launched this month. It has an estimated GDV of RM160 million, and is expected to be fully completed by end-2019 and opened by early 2020. CKTC will provide significant value not only to Chow Kit but also to wholesalers and investors as the area does not have a wholesale mall focusing on cosmetic products, kitchenware and traditional Malay herbs. (NST Online)

Artist’s impression of Chow Kit Trade Centre (CKTC)

Influx of Chinese investors interested in Malaysian properties
There is an influx of Chinese investors interested in the Malaysian property market, says global property consultancy firm Knight Frank. There are a lot of China-based manufacturers, as well as other sectors that have set foot in Malaysia, and most are very positive in doing business here. Asian real estate investors have launched themselves onto the global stage over the last few years to become one of the most important global capital exporters, with China (11%) ranking second behind the United States. Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea are also in the top 10. “Chinese investors are focusing on gateway cities due to stability and depth and key Southeast Asian hubs, especially cities on the “Road & Belt’ route including Malaysia, will continue to attract investors.” (Malay Mail Online)

UOA REIT 2Q rental income slides 15%
UOA REIT’s 2QFY17 net rental income fell 15% from RM17.1mil a year ago, on lower gross rental. Though total expenditure declined 1% mainly due to lower borrowing cost, this was offset by higher property operating and administrative expenses. On prospects, the REIT said occupancy rates continue to remain stable at its existing levels, but added uncertainty in the economic condition will continue to influence occupancy rates and rental rates. It declared an income distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.06 sen for the quarter, against 2.61 sen in the same period last year. (The Edge Markets)

Kerjaya Prospek bags RM64mil job for KL mixed project
Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd has bagged a RM64.22 million contract to undertake foundation piling works and associated sub-structure works for a proposed mixed development on Jalan Puchong in Kuala Lumpur. The construction works are for a block of 25-storey hotel and office building and two blocks of 53-storey service apartment building on top of an 11-storey podium, with one partial underground level and a three-storey basement. Works are to commence on Aug 2, with completion on Oct 1, 2018. (The Edge Markets)