Indefinite freeze on luxury properties since Nov 1
The government has announced an indefinite freeze on the development of luxury properties worth more than RM1 million per unit. The freeze, according to Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani, had come into effect since Nov 1. A report from Bank Negara published in June revealed an oversupply of luxury units, including high-rise condominiums, shopping malls and commercial units, including those that are worth more than RM1 million. Johari said this was merely a temporary measure until all the excess supply is cleared. “However, as soon as demand for luxury homes pick up again, we will review the freeze,” he added. (The Sun Daily)

Property developers open to rent-to-own
Developers such as UEM Sunrise Bhd and Mah Sing Group Bhd are open to the “Rent-to-Own” (RTO) concept which allows a homebuyer to enter a rent-first, buy-later contract with the property seller. Other developers that have come up with versions of the RTO concept include TAHPS Group Bhd’s “Stay and Own” scheme, Selangor Dredging Bhd’s (SDB) “Reside and Purchase” (RAP) programme and Khoo Soon Lee Realty Sdn Bhd’s “Rent Now Buy Later” programme. Homeownership is a necessity for many and RTO schemes will help provide a buffer period for these potential homebuyers to sort out their personal finances and build up their credit standing, before they start applying for a loan. Such schemes can also help promote and raise the take-up rates of property developments. (The Edge Markets)

Less than 10% of 141,000 PR1MA homes sold so far
Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia, which is in various stages of building 141,661 units of PR1MA homes, have only managed to sell 11,944 units – a sign that many in the country are unable to afford to buy a house. A Bank Negara initiative, Housing Watch, estimates that 57.6% of households in Malaysia, which earn up to RM5,999, would only be able to afford a home worth RM354,111. PR1MA acknowledged that many registrants “drop out” during the financing stage, and those who face difficulties in securing loans from banks fail to proceed with the purchase, which is why the Special PR1MA End Financing (SPEF) scheme was introduced for buyers to gain access to a higher loan amount. (The Sun Daily)

Idris: Developers must identify customer needs to avoid unsold units
Property developers and related parties must study and identify customers’ needs and requirements to avoid losses when their property projects have not been fully sold, said Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron. The Melaka state government had taken an initiative by setting the price for Affordable Housing in the state at not more than RM180,000 per unit for a house with minimum built-up of 1,000 square feet, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Meanwhile, the Johor state government is studying the factors that contribute to the large number of unsold houses in the state. (Malay Mail Online)

Jayacorp expects great potential in Sabah’s construction sector
Jaycorp Bhd sees Sabah as an ideal starting base for its construction and property development business as the state offers “tremendous potential”. Executive chairman Tan Sri Abdul Majid Khan said that the group intends to tender for infrastructure, housing and tourism development projects in the state. Earlier this month, the rubber wood furniture maker announced its plan to diversify into construction and property development. Its associate Jaycorp Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd (JEC) has secured two projects: a seven-storey shop-cum-office in Likas, Kota Kinabalu, and the construction of the one-storey gallery and auditorium at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. (The Edge Markets)

BMIS app for strata owners launched
The Building Management and Information System (BMIS) app was recently launched for strata title owners. The system aims to act as a platform for them to lodge complaints related to their properties as well as access the building’s structural plan in 3D. The BMIS will connect the strata title owners with DBKL’s building commissioners. Kuala Lumpur residents can expect more skyscrapers for their future homes rather than bungalows and terraced houses, with land becoming scarcer as the city grows to cope with increasing number of residents, said Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan. (The Star Online)

Johor sultan gives consent for straight bridge to Singapore
Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim has consented to the construction of a 25m-high Rapid Transit System (RTS) straight bridge across the Strait of Johor. The construction of the RTS was proposed in May 2010 as an alternative transport for the 80,000 to the 100,000 users of the Johor Causeway daily. It is expected to facilitate travel for up to 10,000 passengers every hour between the two stations, namely Woodlands in Singapore and Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru. (The Star Online)

Forest City wins green building award, again
Forest City recently won the Global Model of Green Building Industrial Park award, which was part of the Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Award (SCAHSA) presented by the Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS). This was the second time that Forest City had won the award. Forest City had won a number of international awards over the past years, including the BSLA Merit Award, one of the most prestigious design awards in the United States. It also won the 2016 Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific New Product Innovation Leadership in Property Development Industry Award. (NST Online)