Outdated data leads to bad decisions by property players
Outdated information and the lack of new research from the authorities are hindering developers from executing smart and informed decisions which could further dampen the growth of the property market, as it adds more pressure to the present glut and mismatched situations. The National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), under the Valuation and Property Services Department, does not possess the latest statistics on various aspects of the property market. Industry players need more detailed information at shorter and more regular intervals to ensure that companies have the latest information to make critical decisions before embarking on new projects. The authorities should provide more detailed and up-to-date data on all aspects of the property market, and should carry out periodic reviews of policies; and modify or abolish those policies which are no longer relevant or appropriate. (The Malaysian Reserve)

OPR to stay above inflation level in 2018
The overnight policy rate (OPR) is expected to stay above the inflation level throughout the year, according to AmInvestment Research. Headline inflation is envisaged to moderate in 2018. “We project inflation to average around 2.8%, which is our base case while our lower end is 2.5% in 2018,” said the research house. “Room for inflation to moderate in 2018 are due to a stronger ringgit against the US dollars that will help ease potential upwards pressure from import prices; a stronger ringgit reduces the transfer pricing from producers consumers; and high base effect,’’ it noted. It projects a 30% chance of another rate hike in September or November. (The Star Online)

Rehda: Houses unaffordable as salary remains flat
The almost unchanged salary over the years is the reason why many are deprived of the luxury to own a house, said Rehda, adding that there is a need to revisit key fundamentals related to housing unaffordability. Developers have been blamed for jacking house prices, overbuilding and constructing properties which are not suitable for the salary brackets of most Malaysians. “It is said that the maximum affordable price for a house in Malaysia is RM282,000. But the World Bank said Malaysia is one of the affordable places to own a home. So, we have two conflicting views. The RM282,000 figure is because the salary has not gone up,” said Rehda president Fateh Iskandar. (The Malaysian Reserve)

PR1MA to build homes along LRT for middle-income, B40 groups
The proposed transit-oriented development (TOD) projects would serve as a game-changer in transforming urban housing development, says PR1MA. The TOD development would have an estimated GDV of over RM1 billion. To date, PR1MA has been granted land at eight locations along the LRT network to be developed using the TOD model. The first phase is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of this year, involving two locations – Cempaka and Pandan Jaya. The other six locations are Pandan Indah, Titiwangsa, Sentul, New Town PJ, Jelatek, Kinrara and Bandar Puteri. TOD developments are usually targeted at the higher-income group due to the strategic locations. However, the new approach by PR1MA will help ensure that the M40 group also benefits. (Free Malaysia Today)

Serenia City by Sime Darby Property (Image from NST)

Sime Darby’s Serenia City launch sold out in one hour
Sime Darby Property Bhd sold 126 units of its double storey link homes, from its first township offering in five years, within an hour of its launch on Saturday. The first phase of 126 units for sale, called Serenia Armani, is part of the 1,775-acre Serenia City township, which is near to KLIA and KLIA2. The Bandar Serenia interchange, targeted for completion by October 2018, directly links the township to the ELITE Highway, further enhancing connectivity to and from Serenia City. (The Sun Daily)

RM2bil purchase doubles BNM’s real estate assets
Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) RM2 billion land purchase from the government doubled its land assets last year, according to its 2017 annual report. The 55.79-acre freehold land, which is contiguous to the bank’s Sasana Kijang complex, lifted the value of freehold land carried at cost in its books to RM3.316 billion as at end-2017 from RM1.25 billion as at end-2016. Including leasehold and revalued land, the value of land assets carried on its books jumped to RM4.18 billion in 2017 from RM2.114 billion in 2016. The land purchase is its single largest transaction to-date. (The Edge Markets)

Sarawak LRT will open up more land for housing
The implementation of light rail transit (LRT) in Kuching will open up more land for affordable housing development. Last week, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had announced the commencement of the design and the construction of Phase 1 of the Kuching LRT next year. The LRT will bring much convenience, economic benefits, reduce cost of living and doing business, more business opportunities will be created, and specifically in the property development greater increase in supply of land through the accessibility created by LRT. (The Borneo Post)

PNB completes sale of London property
Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) has completed the sale of its 90 High Holborn property in London. The disposal was confirmed on March 28 and was generating good yield for PNB. Details of the sale could not be disclosed as it was still in “confidential period”. The 90 High Holborn property, which is located in Midtown, Central London, reportedly has a market value of £190 million. The building accommodates office, retail and basement car parks and is entirely leased out to OMD Services Ltd, according to the fund’s website. PNB currently has four remaining assets in London. (NST Online)

Parliament may be dissolved next week, says Umno minister
The Dewan Rakyat might be dissolved before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launches the Barisan Nasional (BN) manifesto towards the end of next week. Based on previous experiences, the launch of the BN manifesto will be held after the dissolution of Parliament. The manifesto was slotted to be launched some time next week, while the last day of the Dewan Rakyat sitting is on April 5 (Thursday). (Malay Mail Online)

Ampang Jaya stadium to be launched on April 8
The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) Stadium in Pandan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, will be launched on April 8. It is the municipality’s first stadium since the local council’s inception 25 years ago. Construction of the stadium started at the end of 2015 and took 18 months to complete. It cost RM23mil to build and is equipped with some technologically advanced features. The stadium has a 400m synthetic race track spanning 6,090sq m and and 8,670sq m synthetic football turf. There will also be 1,100 seats for spectators. (Star Metro)

Photo from The Star