City & Country: In the news

Rehda wants monitoring of buyers of affordable homes

The Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda) has called on the government to monitor buyers of affordable housing, saying there is no such mechanism at present.

Rehda president Datuk Seri Michael Yam says while developers have done their best to provide houses at an affordable price range, it is also the government's duty to monitor buyers to make sure affordable houses are going to the right people.

"I think as a responsible organisation, our developers have provided a million low to medium-cost houses. But there has been no monitoring of the subsales of subsidised housing, and something has to be done to prevent profiteering.

"Under the context of the social housing system, developers are being responsible. But who monitors who gets the houses later? Moving forward, if the government wants to reach the target audience for affordable housing, there has to be a body to control subsequent transfers," he says.


Tanco engages Impiana to manage Splash Park Suites

Tanco Holdings Bhd has engaged Impiana Hotels and Resorts Management Sdn Bhd to manage and operate Splash Park Suites in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

Splash Park Suites is the resort component of a proposed mixed commercial development called Splash Park located within Tanco's 400- acre Palm Springs Resort City in Port Dickson. It comprises 830 fully furnished serviced units with built-ups of 340 to 685 sq ft. The units are sold at RM800 psf.

The 23-acre Splash Park (above) has three phases and a gross development value of RM600 million. It is developed by Splash Park Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tanco. Phase 1 comprises an eight-acre water park, restaurants, entertainment and retail stores with a 250-room hotel complete with meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition facilities.

Phase 2 will have more serviced units and Phase 3 will house a hotel. The serviced suites are being offered on a sale and leaseback basis with a guaranteed rental return of up to 9% per annum over nine years.


PR1MA to roll out 15 projects with GDV of RM5 bil

PR1MA Corp Malaysia, the agency that has been given the mandate to build affordable homes in urban areas, will roll out 15 affordable housing projects with a gross development value (GDV) of RM5 billion.

The projects, which are expected to offer a total of 20,000 homes, are located in the Klang Valley, Johor, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak

"These 15 new developments are under Phase 1 of the PR1MA programme. I am confident that by year-end, we will have more on board to meet the 80,000 PR1MA homes as announced in Budget 2013," says PR1MA CEO Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias.

The 80,000 units are part of the 500,000 affordable homes to be rolled out by PR1MA by 2018.

"The identified projects are in various phases of development. Some have already received the necessary approvals from the local councils and authorities, and will be launched within the next few months" says Abdul Mutalib.

In Kuala Lumpur, the sites are in Setapak and Jalan Jubilee, and in Penang, in Bayan Lepas. He notes that work on three projects, including those in Alam Damai and Pasir Gudang, Johor, has started.

Of the 15 projects to be rolled out, PR1MA will undertake three - in Bukit Jalil, Brickfields and in Gelugor, Penang. He adds that the company will engage private developers for the remaining 12 projects.


Salim appointed MRCB group MD

The tussle between Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS) and Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) over PJ Sentral Development seems to be over following the appointment of Datuk Mohamad Salim Fateh Din as the latter's group managing director.

Salim's appointment came after MRCB's acquisition of five companies for a total consideration of RM469 million. The deal involved a cash portion of RM60.65 million, 263.49 million new MRCB ordinary shares and 75.28 million warrants to the Gapurna group, which is owned by Salim.


'Higher RPGT will not work'
Imposing a higher real property gains tax (RPGT) will not be effective in arresting rising property prices, say industry players.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said his ministry is studying the imposition of a higher RPGT next year to stabilise house prices.

Currently, an RPGT of 15% is imposed on properties sold within two years of ownership and 10% if sold within three to five years. Properties sold after five years are exempt.

"Politically, the government needs to be seen as doing something about property prices. The RPGT is a good hint to speculators that the government plans to cool the property market without affecting genuine homebuyers," says DTZ Malaysia director Eddy Wong.

C H Williams Talhar & Wong Sdn Bhd managing director Foo Gee Jen proposes some changes to the existing RPGT structure to curb rising prices.

"I am in favour of a further 5% increase in the RPGT and stretch the disposal period from two years to three," Foo comments. "For example, the RPGT on disposals made in the first three years is raised to 20%. Most speculative transactions happen around the second or third year. The third year is when most properties are completed. So this longer period will cover a wider basket of speculators."

Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association national treasurer Datuk N K Tong says raising the RPGT may work in the short term, but will backfire over the long term.

"To introduce cooling measures, including raising the RPGT, at a time like this will slow the construction of houses. While this will stabilise prices in the short run, a supply shortage will drive up prices in the medium to long run."


MKH profit up on higher CPO, property sales
Property developer MKH Bhd registered a net profit of RM32.3 million in 3QFY2013 ended June 30, a jump of 120% from RM14.7 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue came in at RM185.4 million, an increase of 33.4% y-o-y. The company did not declare any dividends for the quarter under review.

In an announcement to Bursa Malaysia, the Kajang-based developer said the increase in revenue and profit was due to higher crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel sales and good take-up rates in the new developments in its property and construction division.

For the nine months ended June 30, the company posted a net profit of RM79.2 million against RM47.1 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue stood at RM470.4 million, climbing 25.1% y-o-y.

Moving forward, MKH expects to achieve better results in FY2013 ending Sept 30, thanks to profit recognition from ongoing projects and sales in the previous financial years.

Executive chairman Tan Sri Alex Chen Kooi Chiew says the company is on track to deliver growth in FY2013, underpinned by strong performance in its core businesses of property development and oil palm.


This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on September 9, 2013.

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