Budget 2018: Cost of living most popular category
Cost of living appears to be the most popular topic under 14 categories on the 2018 Budget microsite online. Under that category, easier access to home ownership and increased allowances for various groups, were among the more popular suggestions offered by Malaysians who visited site. Among the suggestions for housing included increasing civil servants’ allowances, creating a specialized bank for matters of housing financing, increasing the minimum wage, and controlling property prices. In terms of healthcare, it was suggested that Budget 2018 go towards buildings a children’s hospital, as well as increasing the capacity of government hospitals. The tabling of the 2018 Budget is expected to be held on Oct 27. (NST Online)

Malaysian property market sentiment improving
The Malaysian property market is seeing growth and improved sentiment compared with the previously “quiet market” plagued by issues related to loans and access to funds, according to the CEO of a leading property portal. Besides increased listings and subscriptions, he noted that there were more property transactions in new developments, “which is a positive trend while all economic indicators are pointing north”. In terms of market trends, affordable housing is driving the market with more units, as more developers shift focus towards the segment in order to meet market demand. (The Sun Daily)

Property sector needs integrated database
The Malaysian property sector is in need of an integrated database with comprehensive, statistical information that can be accessed by both consumers and developers. It would supply information to consumers about housing products, as well as allow developers to plan for developments at the right location and at the right price, said Khazanah Research Institute research director Dr Suraya Ismail. “Currently we don’t have a proper national housing survey that looks into account what is the existing stock, vacancy rate, price range, last transacted price or transportation cost,” she added. (The Star Online)

Property agents should adopt technology to keep up
Property agents should equip themselves with technological knowhow to keep up with changing market trends. The emergence of electronic gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and notebooks, more property buyers had shifted towards technology-driven methods in making their purchases. Agents now need to understand how to deal with buyers online, new ways of marketing and how to use data pertaining to the market to serve their customers. Despite property portals being an important part of consumers’ research before buying, they still require the advice and services of a property agent in the transaction process. (The Borneo Post)

Glomac optimistic on RM810mil property launches
Glomac Bhd will more than double its property sales launch to about RM810 million in the year ending April 30 2018, from RM290 million previously. Group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri FD Iskandar said the company is optimistic of the prospects due to the aggressive plans for new property launches. The launches include the Lakeside Residences, Saujana KLIA, Saujana Perdana, Saujana Utama 5, Saujana Rawang and Saujana Jaya in Kulai Johor. The components of the projects include affordable homes and shops, shop offices, semi-Ds, serviced apartments, and terrace houses. (NST Online)

Eco Business Park V to launch in Puncak Alam
EcoWorld will be unveiling its first business park development in the Klang Valley, Eco Business Park V, this Saturday. It will be the fourth Eco Business Park in Malaysia. The 518-acre leasehold development, located in Puncak Alam, Selangor, has a GDV of RM3 billion, and comprises around 100 cluster or semi-detached factories. The development is a joint venture with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Board. (The Edge Markets)

Artist impression of SkyAwani Residence in Setapak (Image from SkyWorld)

SkyWorld hopes govt will shorten Rumawip sell-off period
Property developer SkyWorld Development Sdn Bhd is hoping the government will consider shortening the sell-off period for the Federal Territories Affordable Housing (Rumawip) scheme to five years in the upcoming Budget 2018. Its founder and group managing director said the gap should be similar to PR1MA houses, which was reduced from 10 to five years. Its SkyAwani Residences, which has a GDV of RM360mil, is 60% complete and targeted for handover in August 2018, nine months earlier than the original construction period. The company would be launching its next affordable housing project, SkyAwani 4 in Setapak, following the successful take-up rate for its previous Rumawip SkyAwani projects. (NST Online)

PRG Holdings subsidiary gets approval for HK listing
PRG Holdings Bhd has received the in-principle approval from the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX) for the planned listing of its manufacturing business on the growth enterprise market (GEM). The company had submitted its listing application to the HKEX in May this year. PRG, which has interests in property development, construction and manufacturing businesses expects the proposed listing to be completed before the end of 2017. (The Star Online)

Johor Sultan said to be Berjaya Assets substantial shareholder
Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar is expected to surface as a substantial shareholder of loss-making Berjaya Assets Bhd (Bassets). According to sources, the Johor ruler bought 80 million shares or a 6.7% stake in BAssets off-market yesterday. BAssets is the developer of Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur, one of the country’s largest retail and commercial projects. Another source says Sultan Ibrahim is likely to continue to mop up more BAssets shares to at least a double-digit percentage stake. (The Edge Markets)