Be wary of uncertified real estate agents, says Zuraida
Members of the public have been urged to be wary of dubious real estate property agents or negotiators when selling or buying a property. Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said it is important for people to choose a certified agent endorsed by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP), which is under the purview of the Finance Ministry. A proper real estate agent requires the certification by the Real Estate Negotiators (REN), and are issued tags when attached to a real estate firm. “If they do not have the REN tag, they are breaking the law if they sell any properties. It is illegal and punishable by the law,” she said. Zuraida said many uncertified real estate agents marketed projects on behalf of developers at shopping complexes and public spaces. (NST Online)

Khazanah, Temasek to sell part of joint Singapore property for about US$1.2b
A joint venture between Malaysia sovereign wealth fund Khazanah and Singapore state investor Temasek is selling the office and retail units of its DUO property development in Singapore. The joint venture named M+S Pte Ltd will sell all the shares of its wholly owned subsidiary, Ophir-Rochor Commercial Pte Ltd, worth S$1.575 billion (RM4.7 billion) to Allianz Real Estate and private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners. Khazanah earlier this year unveiled a plan to deliver more cash to the government by pruning its stakes in non-strategic assets and dialing back its offshore presence, while Temasek posted the smallest portfolio rise in three years for 2018 as divestment value exceeded investments. The sale includes DUO Tower, an office block with 20 floors worth of prime Grade-A office space, and DUO Galleria, with 56,000 square feet of retail space. (Malay Mail)

‘Innovative financing schemes will push up house prices’
The rise of innovative financing schemes for the property market will lead to higher house prices and home buyers strapping themselves with mortgages that they cannot afford, said Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research. HLIB analyst Andrew Lim said that house prices in Malaysia appear to be categorised as unaffordable and have been worsening over the past years as the growth of median house prices surpassed the growth of annual median income. Innovative financing schemes will not solve the fundamental issue as this will not only further push house prices up, but also encourage home buyers to undertake mortgages beyond their affordable means, he opined. (The Sun Daily)

Pahang cancels 7 affordable housing projects
Pahang has cancelled seven of its 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA) projects. State Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Abdul Rahim Muda said exorbitant land acquisition costs in certain districts and the fact that the locations were not strategic had forced the state government to cancel the projects. The seven projects were still in the early stages and it did not involve any ground works. “We do not want to continue the seven projects and end up not being able to sell the units. However, to date we have launched 126 housing projects in Pahang offering a total of 39,987 units,” he said, adding that some completed PR1MA projects remained unoccupied, because of the failure of would-be buyers to obtain bank loans. The state government aimed to build some 40,000 PR1MA Pahang units in the next four years. (NST Online)

KPKT to link property data to curb mismatch
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) plans to set up a property data platform that will integrate all existing and past information to overcome the supply-demand mismatch and housing glut in the country. KPKT’s national housing department DG Jayaselan Navaratnam said the project, to be materialised over the next two years, would include data sharing from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Inland Revenue Board (IRB). Currently, the ministry has taken over the National Property Information Centre (Napic) from the Valuation and Property Services Department, an agency under the Ministry of Finance. Jayaselan said the platform would synergise and consolidate the data collection, and analyse processes under one roof. (The Malaysian Reserve)