• Restoration of heritage buildings in George Town

    Majestic Theatre

    Boutique property developer 1919 Global Sdn Bhd is set to restore several historical buildings in the UNESCO-listed George Town within the next two years, reported The Business Times.

    "Over the next 24 months, we are looking to restore 17 shophouses and a cinema in the UNESCO-listed core zone here," said building owner Jonathan Foo.

    The company has recently finished the RM2 million restoration of the 83-year-old Loke Thye Kee building.

    In addition, 1919 is targeting to renovate five heritage shophouses in Jalan Penang, a row of 12 shophouses along Jalan Phee Choon, and the former Majestic Theatre (pictured).

    According to the company's website, the heritage shophouses are a "unique cluster of five two-storey heritage shop houses, offering high profile commercial shopfronts on the first floor and a collection of boutique homestay suites on the second floor."

    Meanwhile, the row of 12 two-storey shophouses is presently dubbed the 'Phee Choon Place'. Upon completion of the renovation, the

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  • Home loan applications decline in August

    The volume of loan applications for residential properties declined by three percent year-on-year in August, leading to a decline by 12.7 percent in loan approvals, according to OSK Research.

    A decline of 4.8 percent was also seen for non-residential properties, resulting in approvals of which falling by 1.9 percent.

    Going forward, OSK Research believes that the five percent increase in Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) will likely affect the numbers of property loans to be granted. Nonetheless, the revision on the tax may deter speculation.

    Aside from that, Malaysia's banking sector remains well capitalised with core capital ratio (CCR) at 12.7 percent and risk-weighted capital ratio (RWCR) at 14.6 percent.

    However, the deposit growth of 12.2 percent was lower than the loans growth of 12.3 percent for the first time this year.

    Furthermore, OSK Research favours banks with solid exposure to Economic Transformation Programme (ETP)-related corporate loans, sukuk origination, and distribution

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  • The five percent increase in the real property gains tax (RPGT) under Budget 2013 will not significantly deter property speculation, but it will be the first step to address the problem, according to property analysts.

    They explained that that if the previous RPGT tax structure - a sliding scale from 30 percent to zero percent - was re-implemented, it would further dampen the property market.

    Nor Zahidi Alias, Chief Economist at Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC), said the measures taken by the government under Budget 2013 were the first step in curbing speculation.

    However, he calls on the government to increase to RPGT rate, especially for properties sold after three years, because speculative selling usually happens after 24 months.

    James Tan, Associate Director at Raine & Horne International Zaki & Partners, concurs that the modified RPGT would likely have little impact on property speculation, as "most speculation takes place after the certificate of compliance is issued and the

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  • Wealthy keep London property in their sights

    BREAKING NEWS: More than 57 percent of overseas high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) name London real estate as their top target investment class, according to Cluttons International Private Capital Survey 2012 which has been published today in association with VPC Asia Pacific.London-property-night [Image: Luxuryhunter.co.uk]

    Local HNWI investors who were surveyed in Kuala Lumpur identified Central London residential (pictured) as their primary offshore investment target, alongside those questioned in Singapore. HNWI in Bangkok ranked London behind Yangon (Myanmar), while Indonesian wealthy private investors were looking to Singaporean and Australian residential before considering London.

    Global appetite for both London residential and commercial real estate assets has seen an upturn in the last 12 months with overseas investors (both institutional and individual) contributing almost 90 percent in recent commercial asset transactions.

    However, headline reports of 'safe haven London throughout the global economic crisis' although not

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  • WCSC 2012 to highlight best practices of city living

    NK Tong

    NK Tong is in Board of Trustees Committee for the Real Estate and Housing Development Association (REHDA KL) and the Co-Organising Chairman of the 4th World Class Sustainable Cities Conference (WCSC 2012) that will be held on the 25th of September 2012 at JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. He talks to PropertyGuru on how WCSC 2012 generates change through case studies and interaction with the stakeholders.

    Q. Can you enlighten us on what WCSC 2012 is about?

    A. WCSC 2012 stands for World Class Sustainable Cities Conference and this year would be the 4th year that it has been running. It is a conference that highlights the best practices of city living around the world. This year we have chosen the case study on the liveability and transformation of Copenhagen, Denmark and Bilbao, Spain.

    Q. Cities for People. Could you elaborate why this particular theme was chosen?

    A. Basically every year we look at different trends that occur around the city centre and incorporate the most recent cases

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  • Datuk FD Iskandar

    Private developers seek to turn over the responsibility of building low-cost homes to the government, although they will still help carry out such projects as part of their social obligation, said Datuk FD Iskandar (pictured), Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Glomac Bhd.

    Iskandar said the role can be taken up by Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minister of Finance Inc, adding that developers pay a certain amount to SPNB instead of building low-cost homes.

    "There is already a formula in Kuala Lumpur where for every low-cost (unit) developers don't build, they have to pay to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL)," Iskandar said.

    Additionally, private developers are not running away from their social obligation and, in fact, have been able to deliver low-cost housing projects more than the required target.

    Under the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005), developers have been able to deliver a total of 97,294 houses, exceeding the target of

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  • Building affordable homes at RM300,000 and below would be a main focus of the government to help middle-income employees who cannot afford to buy expensive homes, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

    "House prices are way too high. An individual starting work as a government employee is unable to buy an affordable house," said Muhyiddin.

    One way to encourage developers into low-cost housing is through incentives, he added, noting that "they (private developers) can still profit by taking a small margin if the number of buyers is large."

    However, the ministry as well as federal and state governments need to resolve problems in terms of housing sites as some areas may not be suitable or are less attractive to residents.

    Asked for his opinion on the budget to be proposed by the opposition, Muhyiddin said "it is a political gimmick, just for the sake of showing one-upmanship, that Pakatan Rakyat can do better than the Barisan Nasional."

    "However, the people must

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  • Understanding service charges

    Image: magazine.trendsales.no

    By Sarah Rushbrook

    Owners of leasehold flats in the United Kingdom are legally obliged to pay service charges to cover their share of the costs for the maintenance and repair of all external and internal communal areas of their block of flats.

    Sarah Rushbrook, Founding Director of Rushbrook & Rathbone, a leading property management agency based in the UK, is concerned that many potential first time flat owners don't actually understand how the service charge is made up and what it actually covers. She urges them to find out before they make a purchase, particularly as charges can differ hugely between blocks.

    Sarah says: "Although the market is currently seeing a lack of new developments being built due to problems with financing, there has still been a high level of interest for new flats as well as re-sale properties given that they are the perfect purchase for first time buyers, buy to let investors and for anyone wanting to downsize.

    "For first time buyers it is their initial step

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  • Shanghai Tower by Gensler

    By Cheryl Tay

    Poised to become an iconic landmark in China and the rest of the world, the 2,073 ft tall Shanghai Tower will offer 6.18 million sq ft of mixed-use space once it is completed by 2015.

    Located in the Lujiazui district of Shanghai, the tower is being developed by Shanghai Tower Construction & Development Co., Ltd. Meanwhile, CBRE Group will provide property management consultancy services for the project.

    Brett White, Chief Executive Officer of CBRE, commented, "Shanghai Tower will be one of the most prestigious properties we have ever managed, and a symbol of China's distinguished position in the global economy."

    "We look forward to working with Chairman Kong Qing Wei and his team to establish the highest-caliber services for this world-class asset. Together, we will make Shanghai Tower one of the most desirable corporate and retail destinations in the world."

    Kong Qing Wei, Chairman of Shanghai Tower, said the development is "not only designed to international standards,

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  • Turning KL into a sustainable city of the future

    Global electronics leader Siemens AG is in talks with the Malaysian government over plans to adopt new technologies that address resource scarcity and rising populations in major cities such as Kuala Lumpur.

    "We have ongoing talks with the regulatory bodies and government agencies in Malaysia on how to tackle some issues in creating sustainable cities," said Roland Busch, Chief Executive Officer for Infrastructure and Cities Sector of Siemens.

    This is in line with Malaysia's goal of becoming a developed nation in 2020 and Kuala Lumpur's target of becoming a sustainable city.

    Busch explained that Siemens can provide innovative technologies to tackle problems such as climate change, an ageing population, rapid urbanisation and globalisation. These technologies can help cities improve their environment, quality of life and competitiveness.

    "We hope to play a big role in helping Malaysia develop a sustainable city status for Kuala Lumpur," said Busch during the unveiling of The Crystal in

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