Archive for the ‘Penang State Government’ Category

Global economic crisis - implications for Malaysia

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Khazanah Nasional Berhad organized its 6th Khazanah Penang Lecture entitled “The Global Economic Crisis: Implications for Malaysia” at Wawasan Open University last week. More than 300 guests of mostly businessmen attended the talk by Penang-born Professor KS Jomo, a prominent Malaysian economist who is currently serving as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) whilst Mr Andrew Sheng,  another prominent Malaysian economist/chartered accountant chaired the panel discussion after the talk. Many were there at Wawasan Open University to seek their latest views and insights into this complex financial meltdown from global and Asia prospectives ! Related article : Global Financial Crisis and Malaysia Property Outlook.

Wawasan Open University along Jalan Sultan Ahmah Shah
(Northam Road), Penang

Here is Mr Andrew Sheng’s An Asian View Of The Global Financial Crisis. Though economists are of the views that the worst is over and confident level on the global economy outlook is improving, the lingering concerns remain whether the world economy recovery is V-shaped or W-shaped recovery? Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman’s view ; World may witness W-shaped recovery whilst a local Fund Manager has a bullish view; V-shaped recovery has begun.

Malaysian Economy - at which stage of economic clock; 7 or 8 or 9 O’clock ?

6 strategies to succeed in Penang property investment

Monday, April 27th, 2009

The current downturn in Malaysia property market provides good buying opportunities for property investors. Here are several strategies for property investors who are keen to invest in Penang Properties.

1) Determine your strategy

Before you venture into property investment, you should determine your purchasing strategy and evaluate whether it meets your income and growth expectations. For example, if you want a steady passive rental return, consider apartments and condominiums in areas close to major industrial parks, commercial centers, university, hospitals, where there is sure to be a constant supply of renters.

Conversely, if your investment strategy is to buy and hold a property so you can build equity for a capital gain, landed homes at Penang Island may offer steady capital growth and sustainability in the long term due to limited supply of land bank or escalating land cost for landed homes.

2) Avoid investment pitfalls

Like any other investments, property investment is often associated with risks and pitfalls that prudent investor would want to avoid. Learn more on 10 Most common mistakes made by first time investors.

3) Select the right location

According to the old real estate saying, “The only three things that matter in real estate are “location, location and location”. The property needs to be in a good location close to schools, shops, transportation centre and recreational facilities. The fact that a posh bungalow that is sitting next to a garbage dump has very low desirability factor and fetch poor value. Conversely, a sea-front condominium unit within the heart of the city or along the Gurney Drive promenade will have high desirability factor and therefore constantly attracting potential tenants and investors.

4) Buy property with positive equity

Buy property from motivated sellers, buy auction property at public auctions or buy bargain property that can bring you positive equity. Due to the imperfection of the property market, there are times when sellers are motivated or must sell at all costs urgently at below market price. In a slowdown market, property sellers are more realistic in their asking prices and receptive to offers by interested buyers.

5) Look for a catalyst

One sign that an area is up-and-coming and has potential to be a new vibrant growth center in the future is the development of new critical infrastructure projects such as construction of Second Penang Bridge and the expansion of Penang International Airport and other NCER projects which when completed, would spur more investments and developments to the Batu Maung/Bayan Baharu areas of Southern Penang Island as well as Batu Kawan of Southern mainland Penang. The completion of Jelutong Coastal Highway and Buterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) have indeed transformed its corridor areas into new property hotspots with many new housing schemes mushrooming along these highways.

When you see new highways, roads, schools, hotels and major shopping centers being built, it’s a sign that the community is set for a vibrant growth.

6) Capitalise on tax relief / incentives provided by SSP

Residential purchasers can take advantage of the tax relief on interest paid on housing loans up to RM10,000 a year for 3 years between March 10, 2009, and Dec 31, 2010 under the recently announced Second Stimulus Package (SPP) Mini Budget 2009.

Whilst for business owners, it is a good time to renovate and refurbish your commercial premises as expenditure incurred on renovation and refurbishment between 10 March 2009 and 31 December 2010 will be given Accelerated Capital Allowance, which can be claimed within 2 years. The Allowance is capped at RM100,000.

There is also no capital gains tax when you dispose off your investment property as the Malaysian Government has abolished Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) since 1/4/2007.

For more related articles on strategies in property investments, I like the following FREE web blogs of Milan Doshi and Bill Zheng, learn more :- Do properties Make the “Prefect” Investment? ; Part I and Part II By Milan Doshi and A straightforward guide to property investment strategies By Bill Zheng.

View of high rise buildings near Gurney Drive as seen from the playground of CRC.

For advisory on property investments in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, email to us at Izrin & Tan Properties Sdn. Bhd or call us at +604 6588333 (Penang Office) or +603 92839782 (Kuala Lumpur Office) and we would be pleased to assist.

How to refinance your home loans smartly

Friday, February 20th, 2009

As competition is heating up amongst the commercial banks for banking on home loans, more new home loan promotions and competitive refinancing packages are available in the market to entice homeowners to refinance their existing loans. Following the latest cut of interest rates by Malaysia’s central bank, most commercial banks have already revised their base lending rates (BLR) from 6.75% to 5.75-6.0%. Update : The Malaysia’s central bank has cut interest rate again on 24th Feb 2009, BLRs of commercial banks have further revised lower to 5.55% - 5.60%. With interest rates trending lower, it is a good time to review, restructure and refinance your existing loans. There are several good reasons that home owners would benefit from switching their loans to a new loan with lower interest rates;

1. Lower your monthly installment payment
2. Debt Consolidation
3. Using the Existing Equity in the Home
4. Shorten the term of your home loan
5. Combine a first and second mortgage
6. Reduce the interest you pay over the life of the loan
7. Switch from conventional housing loan with variable rate to a fixed rate loan or Islamic loan (or vice versa)
8. Eliminate MRTA mortgage insurance

Before opting to refinance, it is important for home owners and property investors to consider the savings or benefits of refinancing vis-a –vis the costs of refinancing. Do your own break-even analysis between long term savings and refinancing costs to determine whether the savings really outweigh the costs of  refinancing or otherwise. More at Making sense of mortgage refinancing and Should I refinance now ?.

However, there are circumstances whereby refinancing might not give you the maximum savings such as when you have short remaining years to retire your loan etc Refer why say no to refinancing.

For Malaysia home owner as well as property investors who are uncertain of holding the property for long term or you have plans to sell off the property in the near term, not all refinancing packages will provide you the best refinancing benefits. Refinancing packages with features of “Zero-Entry Cost” or “Zero-Moving Cost” may not necessarily the best option, depending on your financial needs. Under such packages, although you are not required to pay any processing fee, legal fees, stamp duty, valuation fees upfront, the loans are subject to higher interest rates and imposition of exit fees or early redemption penalty up to 5% of the loan amount (vary from bank to bank) in the event that you choose to redeem your loan within the lock-in period of 5 years. Example if a house owner has to redeem his loan of RM200,000.00 within the lock-in period, he has to pay 5% of exit fees ie RM10,000.00!!!

We have come across property sellers who were stuck with loans with lock-in period and only realised that if they decide to take up a good deal offered by interested buyer, they have to pay the exit fees for redeeming the loan prematurely. On the other hand, if they choose to wait until the expiry of lock-in years ie after 5 years to avoid payment of exit fees, they might lose the opportunity of capitalising gains or losing the sale due to changing market conditions. For investment properties, the better alternative is to look for refinancing packages with no exit fees or shorter lock-in period which give you more flexibility in terms of selling / renting,  though initially you may have to pay slightly higher interest rates and documentation costs, it is still better than paying exit fees which could end up diluting your capital gains.

Below is a simple checklist to guide you on home loan refinancing :-

1 Get information on the current mortgage

For the current mortgage, you should be able to get the following information from the bank:

- the outstanding balance or ringgit amount left on the mortgage;

- the remaining number of years on the mortgage; and

- the interest rate on the loan.

2 Get information on the new loan

For the new loan, you should get information on the following:

- the terms or the number of years of the new loan; and

- the interest rate on the new loan.( the latest interest rate can be as low as BLR - 2.4% )

3 Get the costs of refinancing

The costs you are likely to encounter when refinancing include:

- processing fee or application fee;

- credit check fee;

- legal fees;

- stamp duty;

- disbursements fee;

- valuation fees; and

- redemption fees (if applicable)

4. Shop for best refinancing loan packages that suit you.

- Find out the latest home loan promotions by various lenders in Malaysia :-

-Malaysia Home Loans - What’s New (January 2009)

-Conventional home loan packages

-Islamic Home Financing Packages

-other home loan packages offered by non-bank lenders; AIA, ING

For advisory on property investments in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, email to us at Izrin & Tan Properties Sdn. Bhd or call us at +604 6588333 (Penang Office) or +603 92839782 (Kuala Lumpur Office) and we would be pleased to assist.

New housing scheme by SP Setia in Penang Island

New housing area in Prai

Penang State is the first CAT government in Malaysia

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (ISM) Northern Branch has recently organized its 15th anniversary dinner. The event was attended by more than 250 members of ISM and the guest of honor of the event was the newly appointed Penang Chief Minister Mr Lim Guan Eng. During the function when speaking to members of the ISM and guest, the Chief Minister acknowledged the role of the Surveying Profession within the construction industry comprises 4 main divisions ie GLS, PCVS, QS and BS and hopes to establish close relationship with professional bodies and invites qualified professionals to sit in the Penang Tender Board’s Committee.

The Chief Minister stressed that the new state administration of Penang is a CAT government, Competency, Accountability and Transparency and Penang will lead to be the first state government that adopts the CAT governing philosophy.

On foreign investments, Mr Lim disclosed that two foreign companies from Japan and USA have confirmed their investments in Penang. It was later reported in the media ie. Japanese firm invests RM1.2b and Honeywell to invest RM115m in Penang. The new administration hopes to achieve RM3.1 billion foreign investment this year.

Earlier, the state government has endorsed the Northern Corridor Implementation Agency Act which empowers the agency to implement plans for the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) to speed up economic development in the region and federal projects in Penang. More at Penang supports NCER agency act.

To know more about Penang’s new Chief Minister, there is a blog that provides a compilation of media reports and press statements since March 2008, click here.

Guest and Members of the ISM Northern Branch at the 15th anniversary dinner..

Chief Minister of Penang YAB Lim Guan Eng addressing members of ISM

Focus on Penang Property and Housing-Part II

Monday, February 12th, 2007

Based on the draft report of Penang Structure Plan 2005-2020, it is noted that much of the housing guidelines focus on providing affordable low cost and low medium cost housing as well as strategies that aim to enhance the quality of housing and living standard of Penang.

The report, however, provides little clues and information on the guidelines and directions for medium to high costs or luxury housing segments. These housing guidelines, inter-alia, include pricing and density on new low cost and low medium cost housing developments according to locational zones ie primary zone (Zone A) and secondary zone (Zone B) for the 5 districts of Penang State. For example, new low cost units to be built within the designated housing zones in the North East District of Penang are subject to price control ranging from RM25,000- RM42,000 per unit depending on location and type of low cost (LC) units (flat or cluster house) whilst for low medium cost (LMC) units, the price range is being fixed at RM40,000 – RM75,000 according to the housing zones as indicated in the Map on Penang State LMC housing zones.

For new housing developments, private housing developers are required by the state government to built 20% Low cost (LC) and 20% Low medium cost (LMC) housing units of the total planned housing units beginning of 2005. Notable LMC housing developments currently under construction on the Penang Island are a) Sri Saujana, a privatized housing project by PLB – Wonder Bay Developments Sdn Bhd comprising 2,304 units at Gat Lebuh Nordin, Georgetown. The sales price is RM75,000 perunit with a floor area of about 646 sq.ft, b) Sri Aman, Relau by Chong Company Berhad with typical 680 sq.ft 3-bedroom unit priced at RM70,000 per unit; c) Puncak Eskine Apartment (total 1,038 units) at Mount Eskine by Aseania Group from RM55,000 perunit with a floor size of 604 sq.ft. For eligible Malaysians, the guidelines on the application for low medium cost housing are available at Penang State Government’s website; www.penang.gov.my.

The draft Penang Structure Plan 2005-2020 also placed emphasis on Public Housing ie housing schemes developed by state government-initiated programs such as Public Housing Program (PPR). It was reported recently that the Penang State government has approved 13 public housing projects. In addition, the Penang state government, through its development agency, Penang Development Corporation (PDC) will continue to built another 1,628 units of low and medium cost houses between 2006 till 2010. PDC have so far successfully completed more than 22,000 housing units since 1970s. More related information on Malaysia’s housing sector under the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) for the period 2006- 2010, click here .

For next episodes, InTProperties.com will bring you more insights on Penang’s medium to high end and luxury housing subsectors at upcoming or popular locational hotspots namely Bayan Baru coastal area, Gurney Drive, Tanjung Tokong coastal area etc. As Lunar new year is approaching next week, InTProperties.com would like to take this opportunity to wish all our valued clients and visitors worldwide a “Happy and Prosperous NEW YEAR”.

Penang’s popular locational hotspot; Gurney Drive, is fast becoming an international enclave. The skyline of Gurney Drive ..

New housing developments mushrooming along the newly completed Jelutong coastal highway. The skyline of Jelutong coastal area of Penang..

Focus on Penang Property and Housing-Part I

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

According to the Draft Penang Structure Plan 2005-2020, the estimated housing stock for Penang State as at year 2005 totals 470,331 units. During the period 1994 – 2005, the Penang state government has approved the construction of about 121,000 units of houses. The report also stated that a total of 185,000 units of houses of various types or at an average of 12,300 units a year will be built until year 2020.

Penang needs to develop 5,000 hectares of land within the next 15 years to cater for development of which 4,500 hectares of the land earmarked for development are located in high potential areas. In order to achieve balance and sustainable development over the next 15 years, there is a need to balance development at the ratio of 30% on the island and 70% on the mainland Seberang Perai.

Penang Island, a relatively small island covering an area of 293 square kilometers with a population of 678, 000 (year 2005), has limited usable lands for development as major part of the Island is under conservation and classified as environmentally sensitive areas ie. hill lands, forest reserves and water catchments areas. The limited usable lands are mainly located along the eastern Island stretching from Tanjong Tokong area to down south Bayan Baru / Sungai Ara area.

Owing to high land cost and limited usable land for development on the Penang Island, reclamation activities at designated coastal areas such as Bayan Baru, Jelutong and Tanjung Tokong will be continued to expand the land bank on the Island. Several man-made islands around Tanjong Tokong and Jelutong coastal areas will also be created via land reclamation. New locational hotspots for potential housing development are situated towards the south-western part of the Island, these areas include Sungai Ara, Gertak Sanggul, Teluk Kumbar and Balik Pulau.

In the mainland Seberang Perai, bulk of usable lands for development are centred at Batu Kawan-Jawi area (South Seberang Perai) and Bertam -Kepala Batas (North Seberang Perai) and Seberang Jaya-Permatang Nibong (Central Seberang Perai). Other potential areas as stated in the report include Valdor, Juru and Bukit Minyak.

The future housing trends on the Island will continue to see more high density flatted developments being built whilst piecemeal housing developments will be taking place in new growth areas at the southern part of the Island. More smaller scale but high value niche housing schemes offering new lifestyles, themes and concepts with buzzwords such as super condos, condovillas, gated and guarded communities, waterfront courtyard terraced homes, super-link houses, landed garden villas, supreme and premium bungalows may emerge in prime locations at the suburbs of Georgetown and coastal areas of Bayan Bay, Gurney Drive and Tanjong Tokong. Old settlement areas in prime locations will also be make way for high rise flatted developments whilst in the inner city of Georgetown but within the ambit of heritage conservation zones, any redevelopment will be subject to heritage preservation guidelines.

The mainland Seberang Perai will see the emergence of large scale integrated township developments ie.Bandar Cassia in Batu Kawan which is planned to be the third largest township after Bandar Bayan Baru on the Island and Bandar Seberang Jaya in Central Seberang Perai as well as transformation of several other townships such as Bandar Bertam, Bandar Perda dan Bandar Tasek Mutiara. Unlike Penang Island, the future housing trend for mainland Seberang Perai will continue to see more landed properties with features of modern township amenities and services and parks (2 and 3 storey terraced and semi-detached houses and bungalows) being built as landed properties are still the preferred choice.

The future housing trends for Penang Island; more high rise flatted developments and high value niche housing schemes..

Focus on Penang Property and Housing – Part II ( To be continued)

Public Hearing on Draft Penang Structure Plan 2005-2020

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

The Penang State Government has unveiled the Draft Penang Structure Plan 2005-2020 in September 2006. The draft plan, which was prepared by Penang State Town and Country Planning Department, is a written blueprint consists of the state’s policy, direction and strategic proposals on development and land use until year 2020. The last Structure Plan for Penang Island and the mainland Seberang Perai was gazetted on 14th June 1990 and 19th September 1993 respectively.

Following the month-long public display of the Draft Penang Structure Plan 2005-2020, a total of 84 respondents have forwarded their views and objections to the Penang State Town and Country Planning Department. The respondents comprises of representatives from government agencies, political parties, NGOs, various resident associations, REHDA, housing developers and individuals etc.

Consequently, in accordance with Section 10 (3)(b), Malaysia’s Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (Act 172), a public hearing has been held at Mutiara Room 2, 29th Floor, KOMTAR during the period from 11th to 22nd December 2006 whereby each respondent was given half an hour time to present their objections and views on the Structure Plan to the public objections hearing committee. The structure plan is expected to be gazetted this year after the draft report together with the feedbacks and objections gathered during the hearing have been submitted to the higher authority for approval.

Respondents expressing their views /objections to the public hearing committee;

Please come back again for more insights on the Penang property and housing development – its future trends and directions and where are the locational hotspots as expounded in the Penang Structure Plan…(To be continued).