House prices unlikely to fall
House prices in Malaysia will not go down despite current economic uncertainties, due to higher land prices and compliance costs, and increased cost of construction, said Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda). Instead of declining, the rate of price increase will slow, said Rehda president Datuk Seri FD Iskandar. He said there should be a holistic approach taken by all stakeholders to address the issue of rising cost for developers, due to higher conversion premium, higher development charges, increased steel levy, and cross-subsidisation for affordable houses. (The Edge Markets)

HSS Engineers group bags ECRL design contract
HSS Engineers Bhd’s (HEB) 30%-owned associate HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd (HSSI) has clinched a RM16.5mil contract to provide preliminary design consultancy services for the first 220km of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). A subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co (M) Sdn Bhd group appointed HSSI as a design consultant. HEB expects to complete the job in the final quarter of 2017. (The Star Online)

Designers of MiTEC incorporate local themes into building design
The newly-launched Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MiTEC) in Persiaran Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur is eye-catching with its almost futuristic design. The spheroid shape is meant to reflect a rubber seed and pays homage to the rubber industry’s contribution to the country’s economic growth. Developed by Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd, the property arm of the Naza Group, the building’s design takes inspiration from traditional Malay attire, incorporating the intricate design found on the ‘songket’, while elegant curves hug the front facade. The RM628mil facility was designed to meet the growing demands of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) industry. It is also set to host nine indoor events for the SEA Games 2017. (The Star Online)

The MiTEC building was designed with local themes in mind (Photo from The Star)

Perak records RM626.1mil in land revenue
Perak recorded land revenue collection totalling RM626.1 million last year, exceeding the amount collected in 2015 which stood at RM574.2 million. The increase was due to several factors, including revenue from mineral and sand at RM128 million, as well as arrears in land taxes amounting to more than RM20 million. “The total amount of RM626.1 million collected in 2016, is the highest ever recorded in Perak’s history. The amount represents 61 per cent of the total state revenue of RM1.12 billion,” said state land and mines department director, Rumaizi Baharin. (Malay Mail Online)

Scientex enters Klang Valley property market with RM85.4mil land acquisition
Global packaging manufacturer and leading property developer Scientex Bhd marks its entry into the Klang Valley property market with the acquisition of a 65.3-acre freehold land in Rawang for RM85.4 million. The company plans to launch a mixed development project on the land. The land is situated near to the town centre of Rawang with matured residential neighbourhoods and amenities such as Rawang AEON Shopping Mall, KPJ Rawang Specialist Hospital, Anggun City Commercial Hub, as well as a proposed international school. (NST Online)

SEDC signs MoU with UDA Holdings
The Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) has signed an MOU with a federal government linked property developer – UDA Holdings Bhd (UDA), which will allow the SEDC and UDA to collaborate in identifying and developing potential land and properties of the SEDC, as well as to spur greater investment and economic growth within the state. Increased property development projects would not only stimulate economic growth locally, but also enable local businesses more opportunities to participate in the construction industry through future potential developments with UDA. The MOU will also help facilitate the exchanged of information and technology, potential for joint-ventures in property development management, land management and opportunities in the leisure industry. (The Borneo Post)

OCR unit forms tie-up for Pahang property project
O&C Resources Bhd’s (OCR) 90%-owned subsidiary, O&C Properties (Kuantan) Sdn Bhd, is teaming up with the Pahang State Foundation to carry out a mixed development project in Penor, Pahang with estimated GDV of RM166mil. The 50:50 joint-venture project would include commercial development and an affordable housing scheme known as the “Priya Scheme” on 100 acres of the foundation’s 814-acre leasehold land. The project will comprise terrace houses, semi-detached houses, and shop lot offices. The first phase is set to begin in the first half of 2018. (The Star Online)

Sunway REIT net property income rose 4%
Sunway REIT reported a 4% increase in net property income (NPI) to RM388.8mil for FY17. The higher NPI was attributed to better performance from the retail and hotel segments in the fourth quarter, gradual improvement in the office segment as well as resilient performance from the retail segment throughout the financial year. Retail segment remained as the largest contributor to Sunway REIT’s revenue and NPI growth as it grew by 5.8% y-o-y and 7.6% y-o-y respectively. This was mainly contributed by higher average occupancy rate and average rental rates at Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall and Sunway Carnival Shopping Mall. (NST Online)

TA Global to sell Sydney coastal land for RM288mil
TA Global is seeking to sell the remaining 24.26 acres of undeveloped land at its Little Bay Cove development in Sydney, Australia, for A$245mil (RM827.8mil). the property development and investment group said it stood to gain about A$102mil (RM344.9mil) before tax from the disposal of the freehold residential land to Karimbla Properties Pty Ltd, a unit of Meriton Properties Pty Ltd. The Meriton group is said to be Australia’s largest residential apartment developer. The entire Little Bay Cove project spans 33.6 acres in the suburb of Little Bay, just south of Malabar in New South Wales, and is believed to be TA Global’s only ongoing property development project in Australia. (The Star Online)

Little Bay Cove development in New South Wales, Australia (Image from The Urban Developer)