Govt to consider allowing resale of affordable homes to first-timers
The government will look into the proposal for the resale of affordable houses to be open to only those who are purchasing a house for the first time. “This is one of our objectives to ensure that those who have yet to own a house will be given a priority. This is because some of them have waited for years for the opportunity, while [others] somehow managed to own not one, but several units of affordable and low-cost houses,” said Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Senator Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad. He said the proposal should be considered to ensure affordable houses were only sold to deserving quarters. (The Edge Markets)

MIEA says ‘yes’ to separate board for real estate agents
The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) said it supports the call by the Malaysian Institute of Professional Property Managers and Facility Managers to establish a separate board for real estate agents. Eric Lim, president of MIEA which represents 5,000 real estate agents, said a separate board will more effectively regulate its practitioners. The profession is currently regulated under BOVAEP. Lim pointed out that the current board is overwhelmed, regulating the four professions under the real estate services industry, namely property managers, valuers, appraisers and real estate agents. “Real estate agents, who made up the majority of the profession, are not adequately represented at the board level. The real estate profession should be regulated by its practitioners, similar to other professional bodies in Malaysia and Singapore,” Lim said. MIEA CEO Soma Sundram concurred, noting Malaysia is 25 years behind developed countries like the US and Australia in terms of real estate practice standards. (The Edge Markets)

Zeti: Property prices will adjust to market dynamics
Newly appointed Sime Darby Property Bhd chairman Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz said while the property market is softening, property prices will adjust to market dynamics based on supply and demand. However, she said the degree of price adjustment is dependent on the property types. She added that there is sufficient time to “manage” the property market as it has just softened and not collapsed. Earlier this week, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng stated that house prices could be reduced by 5% to 10% with the exemption of sales and service tax (SST) on construction services and building materials. On the upcoming Budget 2019, Zeti, who is also the member of the Council of the Eminent Persons, said the council had put forward some recommendations to the government, but is yet to know which of these were carried. (The Sun Daily)

HSBC Malaysia HQ at Leboh Ampang (Photo from The Edge)

HSBC Malaysia places HQ on the market
Now awaiting the completion of its new RM1 billion headquarters in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd has placed Menara HSBC South Tower – the building currently housing the main office – up for sale. Sources estimate that South Tower, located in Leboh Ampang in the capital, may fetch as much as RM120 million. Real estate firm CBRE|WTW has been given an exclusive mandate to find a buyer for the 20-storey building, which has a gross floor area of 238,000 sq ft. HSBC is believed to have occupied the 39-year-old building for as many years. (The Edge Markets)

IOI Properties to launch RM3bil worth of projects in 2019
IOI Properties Group Bhd said it will be launching projects worth a total of RM3 billion in GDV during FY19 – higher than FY18’s RM2.8 billion. The group’s CEO Lee Yeow Seng said its FY19 sales too could hit a minimum of RM3 billion, lifting bottomline by at least 20%. According to Lee, the optimism is premised on the strong demand for its projects in China and Singapore. The group still has projects worth RMB4 billion (approximately RM2.4 billion) in Xiamen, China to be rolled out over two fiscal years, while in Singapore, the group plans to tap into the strong interests for prime Grade A office space with its Central Boulevard project that is strategically located within Marina Bay and business district. The group expects Malaysia’s property market to be subdued for the time being. As such, it is looking at a 60:40 profit contribution from overseas and local projects in FY19. (The Edge Markets)