Knight Frank: Local property market continues to self-correct
Malaysia’s property market is expected to remain sluggish in the first six months of the year, leading property consultant Knight Frank Malaysia said. While the recent property freeze may provide a breather to the oversupplied markets, it is not expected to correct the oversupply situation in the short to medium term. The firm said the market continued to be weak in the second half of last year with oversupplied position in the main sub-sectors such as high-end residential, office and retail. The second half of 2017 will continue to see developers shifting their focus to the middle-income and affordable housing segments to cater to a wider target catchment amid challenges in the high-end market. (NST Online)

Penang housing exco welcomes lower house loan rates, calls for focus on first time buyers
Penang today lauded Putrajaya’s proposal for a lower mortgage interest rate for house buyers in Malaysia. Housing development committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the proposal is a good idea to reduce the financial burden of homeowners. “We hope this proposal will prioritise first-time home buyers instead of millionaires,” he said. House buyers are still facing high loan rejection rates, preventing many from purchasing their first homes. (Malay Mail Online)

Mah Sing plans eight residential launches this year
Mah Sing Group Bhd plans to launch eight residential projects in the country with an estimated GDV of RM2.2bil this year. The upcoming launches would be in the Klang Valley, Johor and Penang. The new launches in the Klang Valley are M Centura in Sentul, Questa Serviced Residence and Cerrado Residential Suites (Tower C and D) in Southville City KL South, M Vertica in Cheras, and M Aruna in Rawang. In Johor, the group is launching the Meridin East in Pasir Gudang, a township project with two-storey link homes. In Penang, the group’s new project is M Vista@Southbay, a high-rise residential scheme. The group will focus on developing affordable products for the mass market. (The Star Online)

‘More discounts being offered by KL high-end condo developers’
While several new phases of high-end condominiums and serviced apartments were launched with higher prices psf, more discounts on these properties were also offered amid a slow market. This segment of the market remained tepid due to a mismatch in supply and demand, as well as in product and pricing, according to Knight Frank Malaysia. “The freeze on approvals for four categories of developments including condominiums and serviced apartments priced from RM1 million as of Nov 1, 2017 is causing market uncertainties as to its implementation. Although on a positive note, it may provide a breather to the oversupplied market,” said the report. (The Edge Markets)

‘Johor developers clearing stock, postponing launches’
The second half of 2017 saw some property developers postponing new launches while clearing existing stocks by offering attractive discounts and incentives, including absorbing legal fees, stamp duties and providing furnishing in some projects, according to property consultancy Knight Frank Malaysia. Instead of holding landbank, developers are gradually releasing their products amid in smaller numbers and offer reasonable prices and attractive sales package to attract potential buyers. Meanwhile, the retail sub sector is expected to be more competitive as three newly opened malls, AEON Bandar Dato Onn, Paradigm Mall, and IKEA Tebrau, have increased the supply of retail space. (The Edge Markets)

Retailers more likely to adopt ‘clicks and mortar’ concept
More retailers are expected to embrace the “clicks and mortar” concept as e-commerce sees rapid growth in Malaysia, according to Knight Frank Malaysia. This is also seen in the F&B segment, with the rise of food delivery services. Additionally, the popularity of e-hailing services has changed the way we commute and helped to boost footfalls to selected shopping centres. However, the report noted that physical stores are still very much a fixture in the local retail scene. Online retail sales account for less than 5% of total retail sales in Malaysia as most shopping is done in stores. Visiting shopping centres remains a favourite pastime for Malaysians during weekends and holidays. (The Edge Markets)

Penang is top with approved investments worth RM7.7bil
Penang is top on the national list with approved investments worth RM7.71 billion in the manufacturing sector for 1H17, according to Knight Frank Malaysia’s recent report. “This accounts for 45% of the total RM17.02 billion investments approved nationwide and which has also surpassed the total investments for 2016 at RM4.29 billion.” The report noted that overall, 2H17 did not witness improvement to the overall property market as sentiments are still very much subdued owing to the overall financial/economic situation as well as political uncertainties. (The Edge Markets)

Ascott bags deals to run 4 properties in Malaysia, Philippines and China
The Ascott has bagged contracts to manage four properties with 1,200 units in new cities Malacca in Malaysia and Davao in the Philippines, while deepening its presence in Guangzhou in China and Cebu in the Philippines. In Malacca, Somerset Melaka Island – slated to open in 2022 – will be part of a mixed-use development that also includes a shopping mall. It is located near an upcoming free trade zone and free port. In Davao, the 250-unit Citadines Riverside Davao will be part of an integrated development that also includes retail, office and event spaces. Its other new property in the Philippines is lyf Cebu City, which will be the first lyf property in the country. In Guangzhou, Citadines Panyu Guangzhou is expected to open in 2019. (The Straits Times)