Homebuyers lost RM6.2mil in affordable housing scams
The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) has established a special committee to investigate affordable housing scams, which has cost homebuyers to lose RM6.2 million to unlicensed housing developers. The special committee seeks, among others, to identify the gap between the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 and the Consumer Protection Act 1999, which focuses on immovable assets or properties. In an effort to curb further property-related frauds, new conditions have been imposed with regards to the Advertisement and Sale Permit, where every property sales advertisement to be shared in the mass media, must be approved by the housing controller. (The Edge Markets)

Ekovest, IWCity shares drop following takeover bid
Shares in Ekovest Bhd tumbled as much as 22% yesterday, as investors reacted negatively to news that Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo intends for it to acquire a 62% stake in Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWCity). Ekovest also saw a total of 366.5 million shares changing hands, thereby emerging as the most active stock yesterday. On Tuesday, IWCity announced its merger with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) had been called off. As an alternative, Lim is now proposing Ekovest to buy the rest of the 62% stake not owned by IWH in IWCity. (The Edge Markets)

E&O to launch third Mitsui JV by end-2018
Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) expects its third development joint venture in Kuala Lumpur with Japanese real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd to be launched by the end of next year. The project is a joint development of a plot of freehold land measuring 5,812 sq m at the intersection of Jalan Conlay and Jalan Kia Peng. E&O first collaborated with Mitsui Fudosan in 2011 for a marketing campaign, followed by a JV project known as The Mews on Jalan Yap Kwan Seng in 2013. (The Edge Markets)

PR1MA homesPR1MA has 15,392 units planned for Penang, says minister
Five 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA) projects with a combined 15,392 units are destined for Penang, after a state minister said none would go to the state. Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the projects are in Sungai Pinang (6,796 units), Teluk Kumbar (3,944 units), Permatang Pauh (1,017 units), Batu Ferringhi (1,248 units) and Tasek Gelugor (2,387 units). PR1MA @ Permatang Pauh has commenced construction while PR1MA @ Batu Ferringhi and PR1MA @ Tasek Gelugor are still pending approvals. PR1MA is still in consultation with the Penang state government on the Sg Pinang and Teluk Kumbar projects. (Malay Mail Online)

Axis REIT embarks on second ‘build-to-suit’ project
Axis REIT is leasing a plot of land from Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to build an industrial manufacturing facility to be leased to an aerospace components manufacturer. It will lease the 7.02-acre vacant land in Subang for 49 years for RM19.88mil, and will then build the manufacturing facility-cum-office building with a gross built-up area of 178,978.6 sq ft at a cost of RM74.16 million on the plot. The facility is expected to be completed by Dec 2018. Axis REIT said the plans are in line with its organic growth plan to develop “build-to-suit” industrial facilities. (The Edge Markets)

Grand-Flo set to venture into construction
Grand-Flo Bhd, a Main Market-listed homegrown tracking solutions provider that ventured into property development in 2013, plans to further diversify into construction next year. The group will tap the expertise of its executive director Chuah Chew Hai — who has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry and 15 years in property development — to build its track record as a builder. Four years ago, Grand-Flo ventured into property development by partnering Chuah’s privately owned companies. They have completed two major projects, namely The Glades and Vortex Business Park (Phase 1) in Penang. (The Edge Markets)

NZ-like ban on foreigners owning properties bad idea, warn experts
Despite concerns about the sale of properties to foreigners, property experts say that Malaysia doesn’t need to follow New Zealand in banning foreigners from owning homes here. “It’s better to set a minimum price or various categories for foreign purchases rather than a total ban to protect locals,” said National House Buyers Association (HBA) honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong. Economist Hoo Ke Ping also feels the sluggish property market means it isn’t the right time to set a higher minimum purchase price for foreigners, let alone bar them from buying properties here. Henry Butcher Malaysia CEO Tang Chee Meng, said even when the property market here was at its peak, the percentage of properties bought by foreigners only accounted for 8-16% of overall sales, and were mostly limited to KL, Penang and Johor. (Free Malaysia Today)

Right time to invest in Japan real estate, says expert
A law expert opined that now would be the right time for local investors to invest in real estate in Japan, citing the ever-strengthening relationship between the two countries. Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill (LHAG) senior partner Datuk Thomas Lee noted how the focus of Malaysia and Japan’s relationship has expanded from merely economic cooperation to include culture, tourism, education and security. Trade with Japan has expanded by 10.8% to RM10.96 billion and accounted for 8% of Malaysia’s total trade. “I guess now is the right time for us to consider following in their footsteps and investing in real estate in Japan for its culture, people and food,” he said. (The Sun Daily)

Hong Kong skyscraper sold for record US$5.15 billion
A landmark skyscraper owned by Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing has sold for a record price of more than US$5 billion (RM21 billion), indicating the city’s booming property sector shows no sign of slowing down. Li’s CK Asset Holdings confirmed that the sale of its stake in The Centre, the city’s fifth-tallest building, had gone through for HK$40.2 billion ― a record for a Hong Kong office tower. The sale surpassed a transaction earlier this year, in which a prime commercial lot was sold for HK$23.28 billion by the government to Henderson Land. (Malay Mail Online)

The Centre is Hong Kongs 5th-tallest building (Photo from Apple Daily)

The Centre is Hong Kongs 5th-tallest building (Photo from Apple Daily)