5,000 property managers not registered, certified
Practising property managers will now be officially regulated alongside property valuers, appraisers and estate agents, following the launch of the Register of Property Managers. This follows the inclusion of property managers into Act 242, now known as the Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act 1981. With the launch of the Register of Property Managers, it brings the practice of property management under the ambit of the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP), which falls under the ministry of finance’s purview. Common cases include breach of trust when managers disappear with management fees, as well as incompetence in managing the property, resulting in home- or strata-owners refusing to pay management fees. Illegal or non-registered property managers risk a warning by BOVAEP and a maximum fine of RM25,000. (The Edge Markets)

OPR hikes poised to impact property launches
There could be difficult times ahead for property developers who are looking to launch this year. Investors’ sentiment is expected to be overcast by risk of Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) hikes, says Kenanga Research. It opined that there will be two OPR hikes (25bps each) from 3.00% currently. A 50bps increase in average lending rates will result in a 5-6% increase in monthly mortgage payments, which will be felt by the market, said an analyst. In addition to cost-push inflationary effects on replacement cost, the OPR hike means that housing affordability might deteriorate slightly unless banks are willing to absorb further margin compressions from lower lending rates. It also means that developers are likely to pursue smaller built-ups, which may not be liveable in the long run, while supply in this segment is picking up pace very quickly. (NST Online)

LBS launches Residensi Bintang Bukit Jalil condominiums
LBS Bina Group Bhd (LBS) has launched Residensi Bintang Bukit Jalil project with a total GDV of RM955 million in Bukit Jalil. The two-tower condominium development was strategically located and deemed epicentre of existing and upcoming education, sports, entertainment and leisure amenities. Residensi Bintang Bukit Jalil sits on a 5.47-acre site with a 47-storey North tower and 50-storey South tower. It has a total of 1,342 units. (Malay Mail Online)

Residensi Bintang Bukit Jalil (Image from LBS)

Ta Ann to acquire 30% stake in SPB for RM169mil
Ta Ann Holdings Bhd is acquiring a 30.4% stake, in Sarawak Plantation Bhd (SPB) from Cermat Ceria Sdn Bhd for RM169.94 million. The acquisition is consistent with the company’s plan to further expand its oil palm plantation business and gain larger market access in Sarawak. The acquisition may also create an avenue for the company to explore potential collaboration / joint venture opportunities with SPB for acquisition and/or development of plantation lands in the future. (NST Online)

570 land owners will be affected by Pan Borneo Highway mandatory acquisition
Owners of 570 land titles in three districts, namely Putatan, Penampang and Kota Kinabalu, will be affected in the mandatory acquisition of land for the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah. According to Borneo Highway PDP (BHP) Sdn Bhd the land would be involved in the sixth package of the project, particularly for the construction of the Kota Kinabalu Outer Ring Road. The 19.6-km stretch under the sixth package will begin from Kampung  Dumpil in Putatan to Pomodoton in Inanam. (Malay Mail Online)

No money paid for undersea tunnel project, says Lim
Not a single sen has been paid for the undersea tunnel project so far, says Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. Instead, he said, the Penang government has paid RM208mil so far for the completion of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports for the three highways under the RM6.3bil mega project comprising the undersea tunnel and the highways. The payment for Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd was done through two land swaps, totalling 3.7 acres (1.49ha). On Tuesday, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested two “Datuks” involved in the controversial Penang undersea tunnel project to help in investigations into claims of corruption. (The Star Online)

Singapore property on path to recovery after prolonged slump
Singapore’s housing market is expected to build on its recovery over 2018, analysts say, as private home prices marked their first annual rise in four years. Private residential home prices went down for 15 consecutive quarters since a record peak in 2013, due to a string of government cooling measures. The downturn may be over if optimistic forecasts by analysts are on spot, after home prices edged up just 1% for the whole of 2017. Credit Suisse forecast residential prices to rise 5-10% in 2018, while Morgan Stanley forecast an increase of 8% this year and said the pace could be sustained even in 2019. Real estate services firm Colliers said average home prices may rise by 17% over 2018-2021, supported by higher economic growth, falling physical completions and ongoing collective sale deals. (Free Malaysia Today)

Malaysian firms unfazed over cooling Aussie market
Malaysian firms with real-estate development projects in Australia must embrace themselves from the likelihood that property prices there may come down this year. Reuters reported that home prices across Australia’s major cities fell last month, while prices outside the major cities edged up. The three biggest firms in Melbourne are SP Setia Bhd, UEM Sunrise Bhd and OSK Property Holdings Bhd, which have a combined A$5.5 billion (RM17.25 billion) worth of projects. Despite concerns about a looming oversupply and high property prices, these developers have expressed their confidence in Melbourne’s residential market. (NST Online)