More retirement housing projects needed
Although developers are building more retirement housing estates to cater to the growing market, Para Development managing director Ng Fui Kong said there have been no retirement housing project that has proven successful in Malaysia. The majority of them are projects that tried to incorporate designs and features that can be helpful to retirees and senior citizens. With Ipoh being recognised as one of the nine most affordable places to retire in the world, Ng said capturing the foreign retirees market could be a shot in the arm for the state’s economy and development. “We have not witnessed any successful senior citizen housing models and there are no successful retirement communities or housing projects that are catered to foreigners in Malaysia to date,” he added. Ipoh is an increasingly popular retirement haven among Malaysians, who claim its fresh air, clean water and relaxing lifestyle not only improved the quality of life but also promoted longevity. (The Star Online)

Penang waives approval fees for expo home buyers
Home buyers at the Malaysia Property Expo (Mapex) in Penang won’t have to pay approval fees, the state government said. The Penang government agreed to exempt application by the Real Estate Housing Developers Association (Rehda) to stimulate the housing industry. “Due to the soft housing market and slow economy, the state government has agreed to waive the 1.5% approval fees for foreign buyers and 2% approval fees for those who decide to sell the property bought in under three years,” said state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo. The approval fees are part of the cooling measures imposed on house buyers to prevent speculation in the property industry back in 2014. (Malay Mail Online)

Plan to ease loan process may backfire
The government’s proposal to relax the housing loan guidelines for first-time house buyers, if not thoroughly thought out, could only worsen the current property market glut. The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) said easing up the loan process, especially to assist the low- and middle-income earners, “may not be a move in the right direction” as every sector in the economy will experience business cycles and “the property market in Malaysia right now is at the stage of contraction”. While the cooling measures implemented by Bank Negara were aimed at curbing speculation, it also made the loan-application process more stringent. Flipping was one of the more popular ways of making money especially during the period of 2008 and 2014, when the local property market was experiencing an up-cycle and bank interest rates were low. (The Star Online)

Breach of land lease contract, KL Karnival sues PSM for RM41.6mil
KL Karnival Sdn Bhd today filed a suit for RM41.6 million against Malaysia Stadium Corporation (PSM) for allegedly breaching a lease contract on a land at Taman Sukan Extreme for the Bukit Jalil Stadium carnival. KL Karnival stated that PSM had leased a piece of land, measuring 123,000 sq ft, at Taman Sukan Extreme for three years, to end on Dec 31, 2020, for the carnival. Following which, KL Karnival claimed that it had spent RM3 million to carry out land work at the site, invested heavily on advertisements in newspapers and magazines, as well as the social media to promote the event, and opened registration for traders keen to participate in the event. However, KL Karnival claimed that in January 2017, PSM wanted to claim back a portion of the land for use as a car park. (The Sun Daily)

Constant interest in Singapore high-end properties from Malaysians
Upper-class Malaysians have continuously been interested in purchasing high-end residences in Singapore even when the ringgit is weakening against the republic’s currency over the years. “Malaysian buyers see Singapore properties as a good investment opportunity. Everyone is interested to acquire a piece of property here,” said GuocoLand (Singapore) Pte Ltd group MD Cheng Hsing Yao. Currency fluctuations are not a determining factor as Singapore is a natural business hub in South-East Asia due to its strategic location. Besides the strategic location and the country’s vibrant economy, foreign buyers are interested in Singapore properties due to no restriction on foreign purchase, low annual interest rates for loans and an active resale market. (The Malaysian Reserve)