Bandar Malaysia back on track after deal inked
Bandar Malaysia, the mega township project in Kuala Lumpur, has officially been revived following the signing of a framework agreement with China. The agreement, which was not listed in the agenda, was signed after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing yesterday. Last week, the Prime Minister announced that the shelved Bandar Malaysia project would be revived, given its impact on the national economy. The 196ha integrated property development project was previously owned by the controversial 1Malaysia Development Bhd and was supposed to host the high-speed rail (HSR) terminus. Bandar Malaysia had an estimated cumulative GDV of RM200bil. (The Star Online)

New laws covering property sector in the works
The Housing and Local Government is working on developing four Acts related to the property sector which it hopes to table in two years. The Acts are for residential tenancy, commercial building, wakaf land and a review of the Housing Development Act 1966. National Housing Department director-general Jayaselan K. Navaratnam said for commercial building purchases, the sale and purchase agreements are not controlled and different developments will have different terms and guidelines. “We want to standardise it so that the rights of the purchasers are guaranteed,” he said. The ministry is also reviewing the Housing Development Act 1966, in areas like the compound, buyer’s rights, extension of time and self-regulation with less government interference. Meanwhile, the proposed Residential Tenancy Act will cover all landlords, tenants and tenancy agreements nationwide. (The Sun Daily)

‘Comparable valuation of properties contributes to inflated prices’
One of the reasons house prices are inflated in certain parts of the country is the sales comparison approach used in evaluating property prices here, said Khazanah Research Institute (KRI). While many countries adopt both the cost and sales comparison approaches to value properties, Malaysia’s housing industry ignores the former, as reflected in the widening gap between house prices and development costs. KRI chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi said “the real issue” is price discovery, as the prices of a developer’s new products depend much on the valuation of sub-sale units in the surrounding area. Since 2009, house prices have escalated at a compounded annual growth rate of 9.1%. One of the suggestions is to explore the cost approach – which considers the cost of land plus construction cost, less depreciation – when valuing new units, although that may mean possible downward pressure on prices of new units in the short term. (The Edge)

SP Setia, Maybank launch FlexKey
S P Setia Bhd and Maybank have jointly launched FlexKey, a rent-to-own (RTO) home ownership solution that is applicable to selective new launches. FlexKey is an enhanced HouzKEY financing scheme, where homebuyers are able to select their choice unit and preferred location from the newly launched properties offered under this scheme, rather than being limited to completed units that are available. Homebuyers will be able to enjoy the flexibility of converting rentals paid as downpayments towards purchasing a home at locked-in prices. The Setia FlexKey scheme is available for a wide selection of projects consisting of S P Setia’s residential properties in the Klang Valley, Johor and Penang from now until December 31, 2019. (The Star Online)

New tax system places onus on property owners
The inability of joint management bodies (JMB) and management committees (MC) to collect fees from residents is a common problem at high-rises, especially when part of the monies owed is for quit rent or land tax. To address this, the Selangor Land and Mines Office (PTGS) has adopted parcel rent billing for stratified buildings to replace land tax from June 1, 2018. However, parcel rent is only applicable to those who have separate strata titles. With parcel rent billing, the onus was now on the unit owner to be responsible for paying his own land tax. Previously, the land tax was divided and paid by unit owners through maintenance fees collected by the buildings’ management. (The Star Online)