Measures to bridge home ownership gap
The supply and demand gap of affordable housing has yet to narrow to a desirable level, despite various affordable housing and home financing schemes by the government, such as 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA) and its Skim Pembiayaan Fleksibel, Rumah Mampu Milik Wilayah Persekutuan, Rumah Selangorku and Rumah Idaman Rakyat, among others. Only 35% of 1,000 Malaysian millennials owned their own homes, which is below the global average of 40%. Suggestions from industry experts include prioritising existing affordable home schemes to support prospective homebuyers, providing more incentives for developers to use Industrialised Building System (IBS), and selecting strategic locations for affordable home projects. (The Edge Markets)

Developer sees better year for residential sector
Worldwide Holdings Bhd, one of the pioneer developers in Puncak Alam, Selangor is seeing a gradual improvement in the residential property sector, and expects this year to perform better. The company is targeting a sales value of RM289mil this year and has scheduled three projects to launch, in addition to two projects that have already been launched. The group is targeting to achieve a sales value of RM356mil for 2018 and has scheduled for launch four projects. (The Star Online)

Sime Darby Property launches Elmina Green
Sime Darby Property Bhd, which will be launching the first phase of its Elmina Green this weekend, is confident of repeating the success of its other hot selling developments. It will comprise 187 units of double-storey terrace homes which feature an open-plan floor layout combining living, dining and kitchen areas. It is expected to be completed by October 2019. The estimated GDV for phase 1 of Elmina Green is RM380mil, and is located within the new Elmina Green precinct at the City of Elmina, a 5,000-acre freehold mixed development in Shah Alam with estimated GDV of RM24.6 billion. (The Star Online)

Artist's impression of Elmina Green (Image by Sime Darby Property)

Ringgit boon for Malaysian market
Property locations such as Kuala Lumpur city centre (KLCC) have long been favoured by foreign investors, but because of global economic uncertainties, many investors held back from buying in Malaysia and other countries. With the ringgit’s current value, Malaysia is seen as an attractive market where there is a value proposition with major developments and infrastructure projects in the works. KLCC has among the cheapest luxury residential units versus other countries in Southeast Asia, with many residential units below RM2.5 million. However, due to land scarcity, coupled with higher construction cost, prices in the city centre are sure to increase especially when the MRT3 line comes up. (NST Online)

SDB’s Hijauan on Cavanagh wins FIABCI Singapore award
Selangor Dredging Bhd (SDB) has won the FIABCI Singapore Property Awards 2017 in the Residential (Mid-Rise) category for Hijauan on Cavanagh. The development by wholly owned subsidiary SDB Asia Pte Ltd will now compete in the FIABCI World Prix d’Excellence 2018. Hijauan on Cavanagh, which comprises 41 residential units, is located adjacent to the grounds of the Istana and is a short walk away to Orchard Road and the Somerset MRT station, via a pedestrian link bridge. SDB has previously won 5 FIABCI Malaysia Property Awards for its developments in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. (The Star Online)

HK-listed developer eyeing controlling stake in Vivocom
A Hong Kong listed construction and property developer is believed to be looking to take a controlling stake in fledgling construction firm Vivocom International Holdings Bhd. The plan is to use Vivocom as its vehicle to bid for large construction projects in Malaysia, sources said.The new major shareholder is also looking to undertake a rebranding exercise, and this will involve a name change for Vivocom. Vivocom is a mid-sized construction company but its earnings have been on a downward trend of late, as it aggressively rolled out construction projects in 2016. (The Star Online)

China firm to invest RM12.56bil in Bintulu
A company from China will invest up to US$3bil (RM12.65bil) to set up a steel plant in Bintulu. The steel facility would not only provide plenty of job opportunities for local people but would also spur the growth of other related businesses. The investment from China is a testimony that Sarawak remained an attractive investment destination for foreign investors despite the challenging global environment. Sarawak had maintained its place in the top four most preferred investment destinations in Malaysia for the last nine years. Separately, a new industrial estate would be built in Sibu to enhance the growth of small and medium-scale industries. (The Star Online)

Aussie-inspired retirement homes unveiled in Ipoh
A former nurse’s vision for a centre where elderly retirees can retire gracefully and continue to lead independent lives has led her to build the GreenAcres Retirement Village, which is named after an American sitcom. The unveiling of the first 26 units of resident-ready single-storey landed villas and a RM10mil community-centric clubhouse at the retirement village in Bandar Meru Raya, Ipoh, marked a step closer for Siew Yin Leng to fully realise her dream. The RM100mil project, which includes a clubhouse for recreational activities, will offer 177 units for independent living sprawled across a 5.26ha land surrounded by lush greenery and the rolling limestone hills of the Kinta Valley. The Australian-inspired homes and apartments are leased out to residents aged above 55 following an innovative lease structure. (The Star Online)

Phase 1 launching of GreenAcres Retirement Village in Ipoh (Photo from The Star)