Housing Integrated Data System to monitor affordable housing market
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government has established a Housing Integrated Data System to help it identify the demand for and supply of affordable housing nationwide. Housing Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said that the ministry had encountered difficulties in obtaining information such as income levels by location and other data that are relevant to housing supply and demand. The ministry has liaised with the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC) for such data and it is planning to get other housing development agencies involved in the affordable housing plan. The engagement will expand to other relevant agencies such as the Inland Revenue Board and the Department of Statistics Malaysia. (The Sun Daily)

Government to sidestep RM5.3b toll freeze compensation
The proposed takeover of four Klang Valley highways controlled by Gamuda Bhd will save the government from paying compensation of about RM5.3 billion from otherwise imposing a freeze on the toll rate hikes until the end of their respective concession period, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The government will be able to achieve such savings if the acquisitions of the four toll highways are done at “fair and reasonable price”. The four highways are Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP) and the Sprint Expressway, both of which are owned by Gamuda’s 43.58%-owned Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd; the Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS), in which Gamuda holds a 70% stake; and the SMART Tunnel, in which Gamuda holds a 50% stake. Gamuda’s stake alone in the toll concessions is estimated to be valued around RM2.6 billion. (The Edge)

Mah Sing targets RM1.5b sales in 2019, to launch RM2.2b new projects
Mah Sing Group Bhd has targeted a minimum RM1.5 billion sales with the focus on affordable homes at strategic locations this year. This followed Mah Sing’s 2018 sales achievement of RM 1.5 billion. The group will be launching campaigns throughout the year offering rewards and incentives to attract buyers. This year, Mah Sing plans to launch projects with RM2.2 billion in gross development, focusing on affordable homes. It said 81% of the new residential launches would be priced below RM700,000. The new launches include M Vertica Tower 3 & 4 in Cheras, Sensory serviced residence in Southville City, Basil @ M Aruna in Rawang, Onyx Icon City in Petaling Jaya, Hazel in Meridin East and Orchid in Meridin East in Pasir Gudang, Pykett Project, Ferringhi Residence 2, Block B and Southbay City, Upcoming Phase in Penang. (NST Online)

Damansara Realty’s PPA1M project in Putrajaya cancelled
Damansara Realty Bhd (DBhd) said Putrajaya Corp has cancelled a project to build 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing (PPA1M) units and related commercial components in Precinct 5, Putrajaya. DBhd said the cancellation was due to the government’s move to unify the development of affordable homes under the ministry of housing and local government. The federal government recently formed a National Affordable Housing Council, grouping five public housing agencies together, including PPA1M which oversees affordable housing for civil servants. (The Edge)

Sabah developers to build more houses despite glut
Real estate developers will continue to build houses in Sabah although there have been no buyers for a fifth of developed properties in the state. This is according to the Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda). Shareda president Chew Shang Hai said the association was optimistic about the immediate future of the property market. “Sabah remains a good market for properties. People still buy and our projection says the number will only increase as the population grows and the economy improves,” he said. According to a study done by Shareda, the primary reason for property overhang in Sabah is the failure of developers to conduct proper research before proceeding with their projects. Private developers tended to build on cheap land in unfavoured locations, in order to price the properties competitively. (Free Malaysia Today)