Malaysia up four spots on global house price index
Malaysia has climbed to 28th on Knight-Frank’s Global House Price Index for the second quarter of 2017. Malaysia registered a 5.3% increase in home prices from the previous 12 months, while the 6-month and 3-month increases were 1.3% and 0.8% respectively. The improvements were enough to lift Malaysia up four places in the index from 32nd in the previous quarter. Singapore came in second-last in the index, with home prices contracting by 2.1% over 12 months. Iceland and Hong Kong topped the index with increases of 23.2% and 21.1% respectively. (Malay Mail Online)

Call for Singapore-JB project tenders in 2018
Malaysia will lead the rapid transit system (RTS) project between Johor Baru and Woodlands North in Singapore, with plans to call for open tenders for construction in the country in 2018. The RTS’ cost will also be finalised by the end of the year once its design is agreed upon by the operating company (OpCo). Instead of a 50:50 ratio, the OpCo will be approached in a ‘brotherly’ manner where both parties have agreed that one of them has a slight majority, so it is easier to carry out the RTS decision-making process. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysia’s world competitiveness ranking improves to 23rd
Malaysia has edged up two places to 23rd out of more than 130 countries in the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report on the back of improved scores of macro and micro economic aspects. According to the report, Malaysia performed most strongly in financial market development (16th) and made the most improvement in health and primary education pillar (30th). In terms of scores, Malaysia moved up a notch to 5.17 from 5.16 last year. In the latest report for 2017/2018, Switzerland topped the class ahead of the United States and Singapore, followed by Netherlands and Germany. (NST Online)

Sentul police quarters being demolished in Kuala Lumpur. — The Sun/Adib Rawi Yahya

Sentul police quarters make way for MRT line
Some 270 families living in the Sentul police quarters will move to new, larger apartments by December next year. Demolition work on the old quarters, comprising two 16-storey blocks, has been ongoing since June to make way for the MRT Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) Line, as its foundations are in the way of the underground tunnel project. All the 270 families were now relocated to temporary housing in Setapak while waiting for the completion of the new police quarters in Taman Keramat AU. The tunnelling works are expected to begin in the first quarter next year. (Astro Awani)

Mah Sing launches sales galllery in Sentul
Mah Sing Group Bhd has launched the M Centura Sales Gallery to introduce its first high-rise residential development in Sentul. Located at Maxim Citylights, the gallery is a stone’s throw from the actual development site. It showcases M Centura with a scale model and two fully furnished show units, offering prospective buyers a clearer view of the integrated development. Among the key selling points include the 0.4ha resort facilities which comprise features such as swimming pool, floating gym, laundry bar, childcare room, green features and a three-tier security system. With prices starting from RM328,000, Ho said the development caters to first-time homebuyers, working professionals, young families and upgraders. (The Star Online)

Malaysia to have largest MICE venue in SEA
Malaysia will house South-East Asia’s largest meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) venue following the combination of the Malaysia Exposition and Convention Centre (MyExpo) and existing Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) by 2021. It will have a total gross floor area of 1.5 million sq ft. MyExpo, which features unique design and can accommodate 60,000 people at a time, had projected a total annual revenue of RM500mil. It is the first phase development of the MyExpo City at the Diplomatic and Integrated Mixed Development enclave in Putrajaya. (The Star Online)

Model of MyExpo (Photo from The Star)

‘Heritage law’ for land being considered
A new law to declare certain locations, such as forests, jungles and open land, as heritage sites is being proposed. A working committee comprising representatives of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) and Khazanah Nasional had been working for the past eight months to come up with a module, similar to those used in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand. This was to ensure that the country’s important heritage and historical locations were maintained and recognised. (NST Online)

Photo from The Star

Ho Wah Genting, Dufry to run duty-free shop in Genting Highlands
Ho Wah Genting Bhd (HWGB) plans to jointly operate a duty and tax free shop in SkyAvenue mall, Genting Highlands Resort, with Dufry International AG. Swiss-based Dufry Group is a global travel retailer with operations in about 62 countries comprising more than 2,200 shops at touristic locations such as airports, railways and cruise liners. A joint-venture company to operate the shop will be 51% owned by Dufry. The HWGB group, through the joint-venture company, plans to tap into Dufry Group’s strength in travel retail business and to expand into the travel retail business in Genting Highlands Resort. (The Star Online)

49% of Singaporeans willing to buy homes despite low affordability
According to a survey by a property portal, 49% of Singaporeans intend to buy a property in the next six months, despite dissatisfaction towards the affordability of housing. They are also more open to the idea of both new and resale homes, compared to counterparts in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand which prefer new property. Property affordability score remained the same at 29 compared to the H2 results in 2016. The score is the lowest amongst countries surveyed. High property prices were cited as the main driver for dissatisfaction among all the markets surveyed. (Singapore Business Review)