City & Country: Briefs

Opportunity for EPF contributors to buy high-end houses
From Aug 1, contributors to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) who have not made withdrawals to buy houses or to reduce their housing loans will be able to purchase higher-priced houses under the fund’s Flexible Housing Withdrawal Scheme.
The EPF’s CEO Tan Sri Azlan Zainol said on July 29 that the facility was introduced to give contributors higher purchasing power.

“This effort is to support the government’s objective to improve the quality of life of the people in line with the 1Malaysia concept. The EPF’s members now have a chance to realise their dream of owning better homes as the quantum of withdrawal is much higher,” he said in a statement.

Penang invites international tenders for land

A piece of land located between Penang’s first bridge and Queensbay shopping mall will be put out to international tender by the Penang government.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the 100 acres, 40 of which are to be reclaimed, will be sold for a minimum reserve price of RM200 psf.

“It’s very cheap and the land can be used to develop hospitals or office lots ... it’s a bargain 10 years down the road,” he told reporters after speaking at the 13th National Housing and Property Summit in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, on July 29.

Revealing that the parcel has generated much foreign interest, he welcomed investors both from Penang and outside Penang to bid for it. The tender documents will be out by the middle of this month and the letter of award is expected to be given next year.

Work on medical centre in Desa ParkCity to begin soon
The construction of Sime Darby Medical Centre Parkcity in Desa ParkCity, Kuala Lumpur, will soon begin and is scheduled for completion in 2012. Perdana ParkCity group CEO Lee Liam Chye said the 5.03-acre development is estimated to cost RM143 million and will include a 9-storey hospital with 300 beds and a 6-storey car park with 708 bays.

“We are building the hospital on a design-build-lease concept, according to the specifications of Sime Darby Healthcare. The leasehold agreement is for 15 years. Construction cost for the hospital alone is RM117 million and the parking lot is RM25 million,” Lee told reporters after the groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital on Aug 3.

The hospital is expected to be operational in 1Q2013. The developer is also looking at making the proposed hospital a green-certified building.

Homebuyers expected to be more cautious in 2H2010
Homebuyers and property investors will be taking a more cautious stance in 2H2010, said Henry Butcher Marketing Sdn Bhd’s COO Tang Chee Meng.

Nevertheless, the outlook for the Malaysian housing market is positive on the back of a recovering economy, The volume and value of transactions are also expected to increase in tandem with the recovery although investors and homebuyers are expected to be more wary because of higher borrowing costs, Tang said at the 13th National Housing and Property Summit themed “Gearing up for Sustainable Growth during the 10th Malaysia Plan Period” on July 30.

Therefore, landed residential property prices are expected to stabilise or increase more gradually than six to nine months ago,
he added.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 818, Aug 9-15, 2010.

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