UMCity Medini Lakeside – The New Nexus in Medini, Iskandar Malaysia

Johor MB Officiates Groundbreaking at Award-Winning UMCity Medini Lakeside by UMLand and Samsung C&T Corporation

  • Groundbreaking ceremony for the RM1.2 billion GDV development was led by UMCity Medini Lakeside developer, UMLand and world-leading construction company, Samsung C&T Corporation
  • Located at the gateway into Medini Iskandar, the 5-acre UMCity Medini Lakeside is a waterfront mixed integrated development ideal for community living and work
  •  UMCity Medini Lakeside is poised to redefine metropolitan international brand collaborations in Iskandar Malaysia

Pix 1_Menteri Besar and VIPs officiating the Groundbreaking
Nusajaya, 20 May 2015 – United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) today held a groundbreaking celebration for UMCity Medini Lakeside, its premiere mixed integrated development in Medini Iskandar, with award-wining builder Samsung C&T.

The ceremony was officiated by Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Chief Minister of Johor and marked the beginning of construction works at the 5-acre development which fronts a beautiful landscaped lake park. Also in attendance were His Excellency Carlos Domínguez Díaz, Ambassador of Spain to Malaysia, His Excellency Suh Chung-Ha, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Singapore, and Chi Hun Choi, the President and CEO of Samsung C&T Corporation

.Pix 5_Datuk Charlie Chia_Menteri Besar_Dennis Ng_Chi-Hun Choi

This is a significant milestone for UMLand in positioning itself to become the lifestyle developer of quality products in all their projects. UMCity is UMLand’s award-winning flagship mixed commercial development with a Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM1.2bil in Medini Iskandar. Its UMCity Office Tower was named the Best Office Development at the recent Asia Pacific Property Awards which was held in early May 2015.

In his officiating speech, Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin said, ‘UMLand’s UMCity development reflects the highest level of confidence in the efforts to position Medini as the preferred destination for investment. This catalyst development will become the new nexus in Medini, bridging the lifestyle components to Medini’s fast growing business components.’

Pix 3_Datuk Charlie Chia_Dennis Ng_Menteri Besar_Chi-Hun Choi getting ready to launch the video

The groundbreaking celebration also witnessed the welcoming onboard of a new partner from Spain for UMCity – Roca, which is renowned for their complete bathroom solutions. UMCity also announced that AECOM, an internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary design company was responsible for the design of the Medini Lakeside public park. The presence of Roca and AECOM add to the already impressive list of UMCity international delivery partners who will be setting the benchmark in quality service in Medini Iskandar.

Earlier this year, UMLand cemented strategic alliances with established and international brands such as The Ascott Limited, ONYX Hospitality Group, Samsung S-1 Corporation, and Regus for the same development. With Samsung C&T headquartered in Korea as the main contractor for the UMCity project, the UMCity development is well en route to assured quality and timely delivery. Samsung C&T is a world-leading construction company responsible for many renowned buildings and skyscrapers such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Tower 2 of the Malaysia Petronas Twin Towers. UMCity will be Samsung C&T’s first commercial project outside of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

“We are honoured to be part of the UMCity Medini Lakeside project,” said Chi Hun Choi, the President and CEO of Samsung C&T. He added, “We look forward to continuing our support for Malaysia’s development, having participated in large scale projects including Petronas Twin Towers. We are certain that by working closely together with our trusted partners, the project will be successful.”

Upon completion in 2018, UMCity will be the home to the renowned brands of Citadines, Shama, OZO,and Regus, with Samsung as the comprehensive solutions provider. With these brands onboard, UMCity has one of the most comprehensive international collaborations in a mixed development in Iskandar Malaysia.

UMLand Group CEO, Datuk Charlie Chia said, “Positioned as the commercial hub in Medini, UMCity is a one of its kind waterfront mixed integrated development designed for a vibrant community living and work. UMLand is a long established developer, and we are continuously striving to push boundaries while creating quality lifestyles and communities. This is especially true for UMCity which is poised to become a world-class commercial hub in Iskandar.”

He added “This is where the concept of innovation meets sustainable development within the Medini business district of Iskandar Malaysia. Primed to be the nexus of Medini, this development by UMLand is set to deliver a conducive environment, be it for business, leisure or residence.”

UMLand is assured that the development plans of UMCity will be in sync with the Medini Business District, making it the leading business environment in South East Asia

For more information, please visit www.umland.com.my

Small private condominium units popular again

 

NeemTreeIt seems the 2 most recent new condominium launches got buyers all hot and happy, snapping up 526 units at the 920-unit Northpark Residences and 254 in Botanique at Bartley. Most of the buyers were HDB upgraders, with private buyers and foreigners making up one third.

Contrary to previous figures which showed a dip in interest in smaller units, the studio, one- and two-bedders went the fastest at Northpark Residences. The average selling prices were between $1, 300 and $1,400 psf. Smaller units may be increasingly in demand, and perhaps upcoming launches may expect to see a similar trend.

Over at Botanique @ Bartley, the median selling price was at $1,290 psf. Close to 85 per cent of its units sold were below $1.2 million in total quantum price. Some of the other launches which continued to sell well were Sims Urban Oasis and City Gate.

Were these bigger developments more popular with buyers? A much smaller new property, the 84-unit Neem Tree in Balestier, seemed to have trailing in the wake of these 2 larger launches. They have yet to sell any of the 24 units they put out for sale. Property experts have read this recent leap in new property sales cautiously, as most of the sales were from only 2 launches which were priced to suit buyers’ current expectations of lowered prices.

Resale private property prices dipped in April

Could it be that the competition from new properties are finally kicking in? Besides the property cooling measures such as loan limits and raised stamp duties, are buyers remaining cautious this year as they watch and wait?

NorthparkResidences2NorthparkResidences2Property analysts are expecting the property prices to remain mostly stable for the rest of the year, with buyers and investors beginning to suss out good deals and snapping up units. Further property cooling measures seem unlikely and any shifts in policy would probably be in favour of sellers. It goes without saying, this year might be the year of the buyer, but the next would be anyone’s guess.

In April, figures showed that buyers are no longer underpaying for properties and are purchasing them at market value. The biggest rebound came in District 16. The number of resale transactions, despite all the news about property prices and transactions falling, have been growing overall on a year-on-year basis. That itself is promising news for the industry and investors.

Thus the slight drop in resale private non-landed properties last month could be due to new launches such as that of Northpark Residences in Yishun. The relationship between new and resale, private properties and HDB flats, will always be symbiotic. But without a doubt, all will be tied to global and domestic economies and policy changes.

 

Buying a property in Australia?

Properties in Australia or any city outside of home have always been a little of a mystery to local investors, though more are moving to these territories especially with the number of students studying overseas increasing. Rules and regulations for foreign ownership of properties in Australia are subject to change thus it would be prudent to keep up-to-date with movements in the industry.

BeliseApartmentsMelbourne_1The most recent change include a levy of A$5,000 on homes up to A$1 million and A$100,000 for every subsequent A$1 million. Foreign buyers are only able to purchase new properties and not resale ones and are required to adhere to regulations set by the Foreign Investment Review Board. Enforcement of these laws have been a little lax in the past, with some buyers getting away with purchasing resale properties by using cash. But checks may be stricter now, with jail terms of up to 3 years or a fine up to A$127,500 for foreigners found to breach the rules. Firms aiding them will also be fined up to A$637,500.

Despite these new levies and restrictions, Singaporean investors may not feel the effect as the levies are merely a fraction of the cost of properties there. Australian cities popular with Singaporean buyers include Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. For investors interested to make their initial foray into the Australian markets, there are avenues to secure advice and assistance, especially with upcoming International property investment exhibitions and estate agencies out there specialising in foreign investments in specific regions. As always, doing your homework will ensure a safe and stable journey ahead.

 

Rise in private condominium rental

Could the market be turning on its heels, headed up the charts? Vacancy rates have been falling as the number of rental properties finding tenants have been on the rise.

Property analysts are however not positive about the numbers. They have attributed it to statistics more than the actual market sentiment. Rental rates have instead fallen 1.7 per cent in Q1, which could show that the number of new occupant-ready properties entering the market last and this year may have shaven a chunk off the property rental pie. From now to 2018, almost 67,300 new units will flood the market, giving a possible indication of how the market will react in the months or even years to come.

AstoriaParkCondoLocation nevertheless still has the ability to bring rental prices up a significant notch. At the Astoria Park condominium near Kembangan MRT station for example, rents have risen for the first 3 months of the year. Older condominiums may have a battle at hand as newer properties offer fresher facilities; though the proximity to amenities, transport nodes and schools may put the former right back on the tenants’ maps. Landlords of older developments may also have an upper hand in their option of coming down on prices since they may have purchased the units at a lower cost.

As more new residential properties come into the fold in the months ahead, the symbiotic relationship between rental and sale prices could become more obvious and things may seem a lot clearer then.

 

Waterfront living in Penang

Mixed-use properties have always been popular with property investors, and when you throw waterfront living and resort charm into the mix, the popularity index may just shoot up the charts.

The Light Waterfront Penang

Photo credit: IJM Land

Waterfront properties are not only increasing in numbers locally, but also across the border in Malaysia. In Penang, a new waterfront mixed-use development is being planned for about 5 kilometres away from George Town, spanning more than 750 metres. With a shopping mall, residential blocks, hotels, convention centre and an office tower, it looks set to be a self-contained township on its own. The residential property linked to this development is named The Light Waterfront Penang and will boast 1, 177 private condominium units and villas. Most of these units have already been completed and sold.

Despite recent news about a possible supply glut in the Iskandar development, specific areas still hold their worth in terms of property investment. Foreigners who are hoping to invest in properties in Malaysia are governed by certain rules but with sufficient knowledge at hand and experienced agents or agencies by your side, it is possible to find something worth your time and money.

Cluster landed homes – The next goldmine?

Landed homes have always been known to be one of the most expensive properties in land-scarce Singapore and understandably so. And most would think that properties with individual land titles will always be a step ahead of leasehold properties. But apparently strata landed properties, or more commonly known as cluster landed homes, have seen the fastest price rise over recent years.

The four types of landed properties in Singapore are:

  • Leasehold non-strata landed homes
  • Freehold non-strata landed homes
  • Leasehold strata landed homes
  • Freehold strata landed homes

Casa FidelioAnd the last one on the list above have seen speedy rise in value of 77.3 per cent from 2004 to 2008. And the third on the list have been even more popular since 2009, with the fastest rise in capital value of 20.1 per cent a year. This could be due to the fact that most of these cluster homes have been built in the last decade or so, and have better floor planning and a larger floor area due to the fact that they are often built up to at least two storeys. Some older freehold landed properties may come with a land deed, but often extensive renovation have to be done, which raises the cost for the buyer.

Hillcrest-VillaPhoto credit: MCL Land

Examples of the price rise in freehold cluster housing properties can be seen at the Casa Fidelio in Siglap. In 2004, a terraced house cost only $760,000 and by 2008, it was sold for $1.18 million. In 2007, the launch of the Hillcrest Villa in Bukit Timah also pushed prices of cluster landed homes up by almost $1.5 million. Though landed properties are one of the highest profit-earning tickets out there, the cost of such properties in today’s market will require a healthy bank balance and deep pockets. What options are there out there for buyers who wish to invest in such properties? 

 

Lions, Alligators, Elephants & Locusts – Investment lessons from the wild

The_Petronas_Twin_Towers_in_Kuala_Lumpur_(Malaysia)

Here is my take on the Asia Pacific real estate market and why Malaysia is still the place to invest.

Before I go into the details of the market, I want to identify the segment of the market which I believe holds the key to any major real estate boom; the middle and upper middle class. For this article. I will specifically look at the middle classes of Asia Pacific.

According to a report by Ernst and Young released on 25 April 2013 in London

“By 2030, two-thirds of the global middle class will be residents of the Asia-Pacific region, while Europe’s share of this population will have dropped by 14%” – Ernst & Young

From studying the different markets of the world that went from sleepy to scintillating and boring to boom, we can see a certain pattern emerging. It always starts with strong government initiatives for economic transformation and growth that motivate and trigger an influx of savvy investors both big and small to develop various fundamental industries like construction, transportation, utilities, education, health care, corporate services, logistics, recreation etc. which are crucial to building a successful city or region.

Real estate will also have to be developed to anticipate the population growth created by such transformation. As such It baffles me to hear people saying constantly that supply is greater than demand during the transformation period. Doesn’t it make sense to build homes and offices first and than fill them up as you go along? Any government worth its salt will ensure there are homes first before bringing the people in! That means there will always be more homes and offices than people during this phase and the disparity is greatest at the beginning.  Imagine doing the opposite? Where would the people live or the businessmen do their businesses? I can imagine these people would leave as soon as they come to such cities as there are not enough housing or places to run their businesses effectively. My point is if a country is going to grow successfully, there must always be more homes and offices first. Yet In some strange ways, you will hear people saying that there is an oversupply or saying that the place is a ghost town and there are still nothing there and no one is living there! Excuse me, but it is still a construction zone and there are no bars and restaurants and anything else at the moment and supply will always exceed demand at this stage.

It is good to note that most of the savvy investors and institutional investors would have gone in early. They are the lions and alligators and elephants but like lions, alligators and elephants, the big players’ who have gone in will not cause a frenzy. The lions, alligators, and elephants eat and have their fill and will then sleep. No impact on the forest or jungle (real estate market). Eventually,  the market will go into a little slumber. This slumber will persists until visible signs of change appear and more stories of people making money surfaces. This is where the middle class, the locusts (who are, at the moment, still grasshoppers) will come in and devour all in its sight.

China, Hong Kong, Singapore is not palatable for most middle and upper middle class as prices are too high and/or restrictions aplenty.

India is for Indians or NRI and has its restrictions and may not be

Emerging markets like Myanmar, Cambodia, Philipines, Thailand, Vietnam, Jakarta are emerging markets and are not for bulk of the middle & upper middle classes as they are more risk adversed and these markets do not have a mature secondary (resale) market.

Australia & New Zealand, Taiwan are slower markets and may not generate the right rate of returns for those who wants faster returns

One country, Malaysia, where many people speak English, Chinese, Indian etc and where food from India, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Korea, Japan etc can me found. Where it’s relatively cosmopolitan and many MNC’s are moving to. Where Price WaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young report to be the place to set up businesses to penetrate the lucrative South East Asia market. One major reason, Profitability.

Where there are quality workforce, adequate facilities and has all the logistic support equivalent to developed cities but much lower operating costs. PWC and E&Y

The World bank reported it to have better investor protection than Australia, UK and the U.S.

It is strategically located right in the middle of Asia Pacific and a short distance to all the countries mentioned above

Yet prices of its properties are still one of the cheapest in the region.

Fact is the middle & upper middle class will finally realize that there is only a place that suits their profile. Just that they will only move when all the Economic Transformation Program are in place, the people and industries are in place and then the middle class who waited will see all these happening and then it will boom.

It is like Singapore in 2005 period where we were in the transformation transition. The middle class stayed away from District 1,2 and 4 in Singapore and avoided properties like The Sail & Icon until they finally saw the Marina Bay Area truly transformed with the Casino, MBS, Flyer, Esplanade, F1 happening and heard people started making money. By then, the properties which could have turned many middle class into multi-millionaires became out of reach of them. Pity.

In Malaysia, All the Savvy investor and institutional investors have gone in. They are the lions and tigers and elephants but like them, the big players’ who have gone in will not cause a frenzy. The lions, tigers, and elephants eat and have their fill and will then sleep. No impact on the forest or jungle (real estate market). It is the middle class, the locusts (who are now still grasshoppers) that will come in and devour all in its sight.

In short, the middle class will consider these:

  • Proximity
  • Culture
  • Investor protection
  • Resale
  • Increase in population thru transformation
  • A mature local real estate market
  • Lower price and entry level

Singapore had all of these but the one country most similar to Singapore in Culture, language, and social and economic make up. Which country in Asia Pacific is most similar to Singapore in these aspects?

Remember, Singapore boomed and attracted the expatriates and grew our population because of adding one element to work and live, play. Which country is working on the same industries and ingredients that transformed Singapore in the last 20 years?

Your guess is as good as mine. We are just waiting for the grasshoppers from China, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and even Malaysians themselves to become locusts.

 

By Colin TanColinTan Training & Consultancy

ColinTan Training & Consultancy