THERE is a paradigm shift taking place if you did not notice. This has influenced lifestyles, which in turn have led to changes in the run of the mill. The normal and conventional way things were once done are pretty much bowing out, welcoming a newness that has also found its way into the real estate scene across the globe.

The root cause behind these changes according to a report on "Global Cities by Frank Knight", are said to basically stem from:

>> the era of low to negative interest rates which has reduced investors' expectations on what constitutes an acceptable return;

>> the avalanche of technological innovation which has seen over 60% of Earth's citizens owning a smartphone; andour current "innovation economy" where supply is not keeping pace with demand in both commercial and residential real estate, causing tech and creative firms to rely on pre-let deals to accommodate growth while their young employees struggle to find affordable homes.

In a nutshell, the report informs of the rising of technology firms and creative workers around the globe that are attracting talents and high-value professionals at the top of the recruitment wanted list, hence inciting the rapid growth of "global cities".

Rise of global cities

States the report: "The urban economy is increasingly people-centric. Whether a city is driven by finance, aerospace, commodities, defence or manufacturing, the most important asset is a large pool of educated and creative workers." In this new era, these creative talents of the new age workforce are considered highly-prized commodity. And global cities are expected to thrive or sink on their ability to attract this key demographic. This in turn, has caused real estate to increasingly become a business that seeks to build an environment that attracts and retains such people, something that is already taking place around the globe.

To slowly take us into this newness of things, let us first look at some terminology which has become quite the rage where property is concerned. We have been hearing a lot of terms and catchy phrases such as "live-work-play environments", "mixed-use developments and integrated spaces", as well as "buildings with beds" among other modern day buzzwords. Scrutinise these phrases of the times and notice how they all point toward lifestyles.
With that, let us first explore the catchy phrases and fascinating terminology associated with the sprouting of such cities across the globe.

'Live-Work-Play' environments

Some consider a ubiquitous phrase deemed founded simply by the root of the very demand for a "live-work-play" (LWP) lifestyle. Apparently, it was not coined up by developers
or those in urban planning, and has increasingly become a standard by which "mixed-use" developments are measured. The concept has been known to have some link with "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" - much of which today's generation feel that a more apt name would be "live-work-play-eat-shop" (LWPES).

'Mixed-Use' developments

There are a variety of descriptions to mixed-use developments. However, a more generic depiction would be "a pedestrian-friendly urban development that consists of a mix of residential, commercial, cultural, institutional/industrial spaces that blend, and physically and functionally integrate. The concept also known as "integrated developments" can be accomplished via a building, a housing area/district/community, or even a township/city.

'Buildings with Beds'

Considering the demographic shift that is leaning towards the:

 younger workforce comprising millennials who lead quick-paced lifestyles and are almost always on-the-go, interacting with a global pool of networks;

 not forgetting the international influx of foreign/global higher education students;

 plus senior living and healthcare as there is a large ageing population that is growing – according to UN projections, a 12% increase in the number of people above age 75 between 2015 and 2020; and

 an increase in the number of global jet-setters including those who travel for work and leisure – IATA forecasts suggesting global passenger numbers rising around 5% per year for the next five years.

With modernisation and a society that is "pressed for time" and more "connected" on-line than in reality – mobile work spaces and inner-city living are moving also towards "buildings with beds" – homes that offer a roof over one's head that basically provide a place to sleep. Demographics are said to favour investment in housing for people at the beginning and end of their adult life. "Residential investment is moving into the mainstream through growth in the private, rented sector as demographics and globalisation support demand for hotels, student housing, senior living and healthcare," reported an article by Knight Frank head of data analytics Mark Clacy-Jones.

Exemplar cities

Along with changes in technology that has affected the way companies are born and how they function, thus the evolution of society, hence, flux in lifestyles, the way the masses engage, network and integrate. With this mega shift, property investors – landlords and leasers across the real estate spectrum must be "in the know" about where "creation" is taking place and limit their exposure to where there is "destruction". [creation – areas and regions generating hype activity that are drawing the pool of today's talents and businesses; destruction – areas and regions that are inflexible, refuse to advance with the evolved times, including cities that prefer to remain with the "old" unaccommodating ways of doing things]

Citing an excerpt from an article by James Roberts called Super Cities – "The industries that drive the modern Global City are not dependent on machinery or commodities, but people, delivering economic flexibility ... The most flexible cities command the highest real estate rents and lowest yields, and that will continue as they cope best with rapid change.

With the current trend established founded on – speed and agility, fluid and motile – the common challenge for landlords according to Roberts is how to assess firms (tenants) that do not even have a three-year record of existence but are clearly "the future". The answer he says, is that both landlord and tenant need to approach real estate deals with flexibility – "The landlord giving ground on lease terms and financial track records, and the tenant, compensating the landlord for the increased risk via a higher rent".

Emerging market cities

With the rapid changes that have been taking place and the constant global evolution among the masses, Roberts reminds that countries once booming just a few years ago due to rising commodity prices are now adapting to slower growth. Those that were dismissed as "busted flushes in 2009 due to high exposure to financial services", and adapted to changes in technology adopting fresh innovation in the their businesses, are now thriving as innovation centres.

Such "emerging market cities" are those that have repositioned themselves away from manufacturing and moved toward creative services, many of which present "a new challenge to the western global cities". A perfect example would have to be Shanghai, claims Roberts, "now seeing rapid expansion of its tech and creative services".

While emerging markets develop into global cities, they adapt to win over the right talents and high-skilled workers for the workforce by spreading "benefits". These include improving job security and the quality of life to attract and retain the right demographic of younger generation talents, who have already become central to the economy of a country.

The global market cycle

According to Knight Frank head of commercial research Dr Lee Elliott, there are mixed signals market observers have picked up eight years post the financial crisis.

These include:

 the complex intersection of the economic cycle locked in a rhythm of low growth;

 the business cycle which is highly variable evident in corporate cautiousness and selective investment by businesses which has fuelled demand in global real estate markets;

 a property cycle relating to real estate supply and demand; and

 a property cycle relating to capital flows and their impact on pricing.

"On the whole, there is confusion and uncertainty in the market with so much change taking place. However, there seems to be a drive in rental growth as the cycle moves forward. This appeals to global real estate investors who are already attracted to the relative out-performance of real estate assets in a low interest rate and low yielding economic environment," Elliott states in his article. His overall view: "There is road to run in 2017".

On the whole, lifestyles are changing, quick is getting quicker, markets are exciting in areas that attract the key demographic of creatively skilled talent deemed "highly-prized commodity". Where there is this pool of people, there is population growth which leads to the mushrooming of global cities. Infrastructure also has a role to play where global cities are concerned as "they act as the lines that join up the real estate dots" reads an article in the Knight Frank report. And with the lifestyle of the modern millennial, living in an all-comprehensive "cubicle within a tower – live-work-play/mixed-use development/buildings with beds" isn't such a fantasy anymore as all one's wants and needs are basically a "screen-touch and hop, skip and jump" away.

Follow our column next week with more insights on global cities and lifestyle trends altering the real estate industry.

为了满足雪兰莪居民对房屋的需求,雪州政府已规定发展商必须在本身的的服务式公寓、Small-office Home-office (SoHo)、Small-office Versatile-office (SoVo) 和Small-office Flexible-office (SoFo)项目中,拨出30%的单位列为可负担房屋。

其中,可负担服务式公寓的售价,最高只能设在每间RM270,000,可负担SoHo、SoVo和SoFo的最高售价则是每间RM230,000。

根据雪州房屋及物业委员会的指南,首购族及每月收入不超过RM15,000的家庭,才有资格购买这些可负担单位。

但值得一提的是,这些产业基本上是能够作为住宅或办公室的商业房产,因此,并不是所有人都适合这类型的房产。

Kim Realty Sdn Bhd 的行政总裁Vincent Ng 告诉TheEdgeProperty.com,由于这些单位的单位面积太小,因此这类型房产不适合拥有孩子的家庭。

房地产投资公司AREA Management Sdn Bhd 的执行主席Datuk George Stewart LaBrooy说:“尽管发展商将服务式公寓、SoHo和SoVo当成普通住宅产业般销售,但这些其实是是商业地产。”

因此,他警告买家在购买这些单位之前,应该好好了解住宅与商业产业之间的差异。

以下是七大不同:

 

1. 银行贷款

LaBrooy说,服务式公寓、SoHo、SoVo和SoFo单位都建在商业用地上。因此,这些单位将受制于商业贷款条件。这通常不利于大部分的购房者,因为银行对商业贷款的放贷幅度,通常低于住宅房产贷款。

例如,银行通常为住宅房屋贷款提供高达90%的贷款。然而,商业贷款的往往只能获得80%到85%之间,因为银行在为商业地产融资时,会比较谨慎。 Continue reading ..

成交价:RM410万

交易推手:来自Hartamas Real Estate OUG Sdn Bhd的Desmond Chia Roy Lim (REN 19255) (012-987 9117)

成交日:2016年10月

卖点:

– 永久地契
面向大路,门前有停车位
土地面积达2,000平方尺
已改建成平价旅馆

这间双层店铺的楼龄超过20年,数年前空置了一段时间,后来被改建为平价旅馆。

促成这宗交易的Desmond Chia指出,店屋内共有20至30间小房,因此买下这个单位的投资公司很可能在这里设立连锁平价旅馆。

他续称,卖家原本的叫价是RM450万,买家的初次报价则是RM380万。

“买卖两方都很有诚意想要落实这宗交易,所以经过数个月的协商后,最终以接近市价的RM410万成交。”

Chia表示,卖家是三名同一家族的成员,脱售的原因是他们认为如今是套现这间店屋的最佳时机。

“据卖家的说法,这间店屋在8年前价值RM100万,接着在3年前涨至RM200万,如今银行的估值是RM410万,所以他们决定在此时脱售。”

在Brickfields地区工作多年的 Chia点出,自从政府在当地展开了提升基础建设和美化环境的工程,把该地区塑造为旅游景点后,这区老旧店屋的价值水涨船高,在低迷的产业市场中脱颖而出。

Agricultureland

买房买楼大有人在,土地买卖你可有兴趣?

土地为稀缺资源,在城市化步伐加快后,土地更显珍贵,价值更是水涨船高。

Maxland Real Estate Agency 资深土地交易经纪Frankie Tham告诉TheEdgeProperty.com,投资农业土地与其他房产没有太大差别,都是追求资本增值或租金收益。

不过,和其他房产投资不同的是,这可不是人人都适合的投资,因为农业土地投资的地段绝非一小块园地,而是数英亩的农业用地。

“这可以说是有钱人的投资,因为银行一般不会全数贷款给购地者。买家除了必须准备足够的现金,更要有长期持有该土地的计划,才可以成为土地投资的赢家。“

他说,大部分的土地投资者为中小企业,他们购置农业用地除了看好资本增值潜能,也为日后的厂房扩充计划做准备。

Henry Butcher Malaysia Sdn Bhd 总营运长Tang Chee Meng表示,相较投资在股票市场或是期货,农业地投资风险相对较低,因为地价因稀缺而日愈走扬。

Landserve Sdn Bhd 董事经理Chen King Hoaw表示,农业地投资确实可为买家提供稳定的长期资本增值,因为土地为耐用品,且拥有权几乎是永久(除了租借地契土地)。

北部农业地询问率高

据他观察,2016年首三个季度,投资者对于农业地的询问不断增加,特别是吉打州、霹雳州、玻璃市以及吉兰丹州。

根据国家产业资讯中心(NAPIC)数据,截至2016年首9个月,共有52,357宗农业地交易,价值达RM86亿。其中,吉打州土地销售宗数最高,录得8,608宗,接着是霹雳州与砂拉越州,同期各有8,478以及7,448宗农业地交易。

在交易值方面,柔州创下最高交易值,6,166宗农业地案以RM25亿易手,砂拉越州与雪州,交易值各达RM12亿(7,448宗)以及RM10.8亿(3,075宗)。

Tham表示,在购买土地时,买家需要观察土地四周的设施,以及相关地段是否有划分出公路建设地段,因为公路连接是决定价值增幅的关键。

 

受访房产顾问与土地交易经纪点出数个值得关注的农业地地点,供投资者作为参考。

1. Hulu Langat

目前每平方尺询问价:RM12-50

看头:来自Kajang的溢出效应、新城镇发展崛起(如Setia EcoHill 2、Kajang East以及Saujana Impian)、Semantan-Kajang MRT建筑将在今年开跑。

2. Kuala Selangor

目前每平方尺询问价:RM25-50

看头:Latar高速公路改善交通,以及旅游业作为催化剂

3. Kuala Langat

目前每平方尺询问价:RM15-50

看头:新城镇发展项目如火如荼进行中(包括Eco Sanctuary、Bandar Rimbayu以及Tropicana Aman)、KESAS与ELITE以及SKVE高速公路改善交通,以及靠近North Port与West Port工业货运中心。

4. Rawang – Kundang

目前每平方尺询问价:RM14-25

看头:靠近Kuang与Rawang 火车站、轻易取道Latar与PLUS高速公路,以及城镇发展趋向成熟。

5. Puncak Alam – Ijok

目前每平方尺询问价:RM15-30

看头:交通四通八达,轻易取道Guthrie Corridor高速公路、KL-Kuala Selangor 高速公路,以及NKVE高速公路,以及即将在2019年建竣的Dash高速公路与西海岸大道。

 

asian-property-buyer

根据国际房地产公司仲量联行报告,2016年中国海外商业和住宅房地产投资创下330亿美元(1466亿令吉),较去年增长53%。

在最新的“全球资本流动”报告中,仲量联行表示,中国对工业园区,酒店和工业部门的扬升需求,推升中国于美国交易总额增幅。

有趣的是,在过去三年,对土地,办公室和酒店的投资占中国境外资本的90%。

仲量联行全球资本市场研究总监David Green-Morgan 说:“Anbang Insurance去年斥资超过60亿美元(2660亿美元)购买Strategic Hotels and Resorts,推动酒店业并购活动。”

他说:“而China Life Insurance也将Starwood Capital Group和曼哈顿的一间办公大楼买下,此外,Chinese Investment Corp持续活跃于纽约的办公楼市场。”

同时,中国投资者的土地收购在2016年回升,在香港,澳州和马来西亚的重大交易也随之增长44%。

Green-Morgan补充说:“我们确信中国投资者在未来很多年将继续成为全球房地产的主要投资者,但鉴于中国近期的严管资本外流,在2017年若要达到类似的增长,其实是极具挑战性的。”

除了国外投资,中国投资者也不忘在国内投资。

中国投资者在2016年占国内交易额的86%以上,而过去几年则为75%。

根据仲量联行上海和中国的Johnny Shao资本市场主管,中国一线城市对国内投资者来说是最具吸引力。

他说:“上海总交易额达140亿美元,占中国总投资额的48%。北京是第二名,占2016年总交易量的16%,而深圳位列第三,达到总交易量的10%。”

wma-sunway_velocity_klang_valley_concept_1_image_1280x628-878x400-810x369

迈入2017年,虽然坊间普遍预料今年的房地产行情将延续去年的颓势,但热衷于产业投资或买卖的你不必过于担忧,因为正如一些投资达人所说,淡市才有更多机会!

为了帮助投资者和买家在今年找到方向,TheEdgeProperty.com总共整理了20名产业顾问和经纪等专业人士票选出来的2017年最佳巴生谷和大吉隆坡产业投资地点。

参与这次票选活动的,包括

  • MIP Properties Sdn Bhd创办人与总裁Alan Kuan
  • KGV International Property Consultants执行董事Anthony Chua
  • CBD Properties (KD) Sdn Bhd执行董事Daphne Chan
  • Nawawi Tie Leung Real Estate Consultants Sdn Bhd董事经理Eddy Wong
  • Hartamas Real Estate Sdn Bhd集团董事经理Eric Lim
  • 大马房地产经纪协会(MIEA)主席与Mapleland Properties Sdn Bhd 总裁Erick Kho
  • CBRE|WTW董事经理Foo Gee Jen
  • VPC Alliance Property Consultants董事经理James Wong
  • PA International Property Consultants (KL) Sdn Bhd董事经理Jerome Hong
  • Oregeon Property Consultancy Sdn Bhd董事Joean Lee
  • Reapfield Group营运总监Jonathan Lee
  • MacReal International Sdn Bhd创办人Michael Kong
  • Knight Frank Malaysia董事经理Sarkunan Subramaniam
  • Metro Homes董事See Kok Loong
  • PPC International董事经理Datuk Siders Sittampalam
  • LaurelCap Sdn Bhd执行董事Stanley Toh
  • The One Property International执行董事Stephen Yew
  • Henry Butcher Real Estate Sdn Bhd营运总监Tang Chee Meng
  • One Sunterra Properties Sdn Bhd仲介主管Terence Yap
  • JLL Property Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd董事经理YY Lau

这些房地产专业人士的票选结果,可归纳为五大重点:
1. 焦点重移隆市和Mont’Kiara

建议地点:KLCC、Ampang KL、Mont’Kiara、KL Metropolis、Bandar Malaysia和TRX

有关隆新高铁(HSR)开跑、TRX、Bandar Malaysia及KL Metropolis发展的报道,将市场焦点再度转移至吉隆坡市中心。

尽管市场上出现了高档住宅房产供应过剩的忧虑,但这些房产的价格已经企稳,业主要求的售价也变得更加贴近市况。
2. 已经成熟城镇应关注

建议地点:Cheras、Kepong、Sentul、Jalan Kuching、Jalan Ipoh、Selayang 和Old Klang Road

庞大的人口和良好的便利设施,将持续支撑这些成熟地区的增长。

在过去房地产领域的蓬勃周期时,许多人都在追求更新和更有趣的产业,因而忽略了这些地区。

不过,在下行周期时,房屋买家(尤其是想要买来自住的买家)会回归基本面,并倾向在本身熟悉、价格较可负担和具有完善便利设施的地区置业。
3. 继续南移

建议地点:Kajang、Semenyih、Sepang、Kota Warisan、Cyberjaya、Putrajaya和Bangi

随着越来越多高速公路的提升与建设,巴生谷或大吉隆坡的南部地区已不再是离吉隆坡市中心或Petaling Jaya很遥远的偏僻地区。

而且,著名发展商在这些地区的新市镇项目逐步成型,也巩固了买家的信心,并促使更多人对这些地区改观。

对投资者而言,这些新市镇的房价相较低廉,因此有望提供“低买高卖”的投资良机。
4. 紧跟MRT或LRT路线

建议地点:Ara Damansara、Tropicana、Kota Damansara、Mutiara Damansara、Bandar Utama和Kwasa Damansara

公共交通系统愈加完善,促使买家拥有更多置业的选择,不必被限制在工作地点附近苦寻房子,反而可将目光投向其他地区,例如毗邻MRT或LRT站的地区。

同时,公共交通系统附近的产业将迎来强劲的租赁需求,尤其是那些坐落在步行距离内的房屋。
5.新城镇与大型发展项目催化

建议地点:Klang、Shah Alam、Teluk Panglima Garang、Bukit Jalil、Ijok、Rawang和Kundang

高速公路提高了这些地区的连接与便利程度,加上当地具有更多、更大的发展空间及优势,因而吸引了许多发展商的目光。

ACCORDING to the CBRE / WTW 2017 Real Estate Market Outlook report, the property market dipped further in Q3 2016. It revealed that transaction activity dropped; agricultural land remained the second most active, after residential properties; the commercial sector fell to third place; followed by development land. City wise, Selangor made it as the most active, followed by Johor. Additionally, the National Property Information Centre (Napic) reported that 57% of residential property transactions in Q3 2016 were priced below RM250,000 while 43% were recorded between RM250,001 and RM1 million.

Following is the gist of the property scene in major sectors across Malaysia.

Klang Valley

On the whole, the 2016 property market performance was reported as “subdued”. No signs of improvement is forecast for 2017. With new supply of various property types that include offices, retail, hotels and condominiums nearing completion in significant quantities within the next year, in contrast to the slowdown in economic growth, there are concerns of a large market supply situation across property sectors.

However, as travelling becomes more affordable and the momentum picks up on tourist arrivals, the market sentiments remain buoyant. Moreover, 2017 expects to see landed residential prices stabilising with minimal growth and more new developments within the “affordable” housing category.

A press conference by JLL recently also hinted on InvestKL’s plans to attract multi-national corporations and foreign companies to invest in Kuala Lumpur’s appealing office market – especially looking at the exciting infrastructure developments that will be opening up new areas in and around KL.

Similarly, in the industrial sector, there is keen interest reported from foreign investors
for our local industrial projects, especially our industrial parks.

This has led developers to take notice of the stable industrial property demand, which will consequently lead to employment opportunities and spin-off to
more housing and commercial property demand.

Penang

Likewise, the property market in Penang last year was also reported to be subdued. Overall, market activity showed a downtrend compared to that in 2015. According to Napic’s report, property transactions dropped across residential, commercial and industrial sectors, but in terms of value, the industrial sector recorded a hike. Reasons for the glum market – high loan application rejections, smaller growth in income, rising living costs, dampened business and consumer sentiments after the announcement of Budget 2017, the depreciating ringgit value against major currencies and other global political occurrences.

However, the market slowdown was not applicable across the board as landed property in prime locations maintained, and some, appreciated marginally in value. For major events involving land and property developments in Penang for 2016, refer to the CBRE/WTW Real Estate Market Outlook 2017 report.

Projects and proposals that may aid in a more positive outlook in 2017 include:
»more dense affordable housing developments priced at RM300,000 and below;
»a memorandum of understanding was signed for urban renewal works (which preserve heritage values) that will take place in four areas around Butterworth; and
»the “Gurney Wharf” master plan.

Johor

Iskandar Malaysia’s comprehensive development plan is already in its second half of its 20-year framework (2006 to 2025). The region has so far recorded a cumulative investment of RM208 billion with 60% said to come from local investors. Of the total investment, 51% is realised on the ground – the largest contributor to the committed investments coming from retail/mixed development, followed by manufacturing, then residential.

While the Iskandar Malaysia market was slow in 2016 (due to the overall global market), Napic recorded RM10.57 billion worth of transactions.

The year was reported exciting for the office sector with the market witnessing four office building transactions valued at RM1.24 billion. Rentals for purpose-built offices set a new benchmark in Iskandar Puteri.

The hotel sector was said to have picked up pace due to rapid development of the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor, additional direct flights connecting Johor to Asian countries, as well as more property developments promoted internationally. The weakening ringgit was also noted to have encourgaed more tourism activities there.

On the whole, Johor experienced a general slowdown in terms of transaction activities and new high-end development products, particularly in residential sub-sectors. This has caused developers to diversify their plans to offer more affordable products to meet market needs.

In the industrial sector, some MNC companies are reported to be still exploring and expanding their investments in Iskandar Malaysia.

Sabah

Generally a lacklustre market in Sabah for 2016 with a slowdown in transaction activities. Reasons being softer market sentiments and continued strict lending measures imposed by the Central Bank and financial institutions. Still, prices of properties, even those in attractive locations have remained and not declined.

Fewer property launches we recorded compared to 2015 – dominating the market were new mid-market segment condominium launches. Forecast for 2017 in this sector is predicted to have little change given the expected challenging economic conditions and other reasons.

Sarawak

Property in 2016 was sluggish for Sarawak, rather flat with fewer launches on the whole except for certain sub-sectors of stratified housing launched as part of a mixed development retail-residential concept. Construction activities also saw a general slowdown with the market struggling to finish completing off launched units.

Properties in prime and attractive locations were reported to be still in demand despite the softer market. Prices have also generally remained and not dipped. With the slowdown, affordable housing is and has as before, been in demand, and will do well given reasonable locations and suitable house types.

The recent approval by the Sarawak Planning Authority to increase development density there from eight to 10 units for landed housing and 24 to 30 units for stratified housing, is expected to set the pathway for private developers to build more affordable housing developments.

The general outlook for 2017 is reported to be stormy and unpredictable, with a generally overbuilt environment, slower absorption rate, increased household debt, more stringent financing situations and increased costs of businesses and living. Reduced consumer spending is expected to crimp demand and affect the construction and retail sectors negatively.

However, exceptional areas like Bintulu and Mukah, earmarked under the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plan, are expected to spearhead growth in Sarawak due to the implementation of mega projects.

Overall view

For the chart on the recent past and future market outlook across major property sub-sectors and regional areas in Malaysia, contact CBRE / WTW for its research on the Asia Pacific Real Estate Market Outlook.
VALENTINE'S Day, like any celebration of old, has a history that is as complicated as some relationships. While some say it is the commemoration of the death of St Valentine (who was a martyr that secretly married Christian couples and helped them escape during the reign of Emperor Claudius II), others believe it was the church that popularised Valentine’s Day as a way to downplay “Lupercalia”, a fertility festival (which was dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture Faunus and the Roman founders Romulus and Remus). On the other hand, there are some who simply believe that Feb 14 is a day marking the start of bird mating season (no pun intended)!

Though St Valentine’s Day is not widely celebrated in Malaysia (especially these days), we still see stores primmed and preened in pinks and reds to commemorate the “Day of Romance”. No doubt we should love and appreciate our loved ones every day of the year but we do not. So, take this day as a cue to shower those close to your heart with an extra dose of love – be it your spouse, children, parents, family or friends.

And what better way to fan the flames of romance than to dress interiors accordingly and ignite that loving feeling.

DOSE OF LOVEY-DOVEY

Still not over Christmas yet? Luckily, because Valentine’s wreaths are an actual thing! Make your own wreath in the traditional circular shape or the more romantic heart shape. Use fake flowers, felt flowers, paper flowers or pom-poms in colours of red, pink and white.

Flamingo Toes blogger Beverly McCullough made a vintage-style Valentine’s Day wreath using a foam wreath, then covering it in white, pastel pink and blue yarn. Afterwards, she added a garland of felt hearts, a felt bow and yarn pom-poms, finishing it off with a pair of lovebirds sitting on a tiny branch. Just looking at it makes hearts go aflutter!

AFFECTION BLOOMS

In keeping to the theme of “Christmas in Valentine’s Day”, swap the bouquets of flowers and go rustic with a long vase of twigs with little ornaments hanging from them.

Imitate the blooming of flowers in spring by attaching paper hearts along the branches in varying sizes and colours. For an added rustic touch, use a water pitcher as a vase. The branches can also be wrapped in yarn to add a feel of warmth and cosiness to it.

For a more modern take, paint the branches white and substitute the red and pink flowers for black, white, silver and gold hearts instead. If you still want to keep with tradition and stick to the usual colours, sprinkle half of the paper hearts with gold glitter, such as The House That Lars Built founder Brittany Watson Jepsen did in her “Valentine’s Day Branch Tree” tutorial. Jepsen used scrapbook papers of pink, red, white and glitter to make 3D hearts. Little clip-on birds were added for extra colour and personality.

Alternatively, make simple paper roses out of circles of paper and stick them onto the branches. Others have made hearts out of felt and hung them on the tree.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Garlands seem to be a favourite decor piece on Valentine’s Day! In other countries, garlands are commonly hung across the fireplace under the mantel. In Malaysia, we can adapt and string them just about anywhere – cupboards, walls, staircases or shelves.

Instead of stringing together the usual plain paper hearts, look for heart-shaped doilies, make felt hearts, crochet some yarn hearts or make pom-pom balls and put those unused playing cards to work or even conversation hearts made out of paper.

Clean Scentsible founder Jenn Lifford reworked a burlap heart banner she found at a discount store retailer. Taking it apart, she then took French script ribbons and made a ruffled line before sewing the burlap pieces and heart shapes onto the line. The rustic piece fitted in perfectly against the backdrop of her modern-styled kitchen cabinet. In the piano room, she made paper banners out of colourful scrapbook paper and stuck on family photographs. Garlands and banners make great festive decor pieces. They can also be wrapped up and kept easily until the next round of celebrations.

WALLS OF ROMANCE

There are so many ways to decorate walls for Valentine’s Day! Classic in Gray founder Jessica Hirsche made a neutral-toned heart no-weave-wall hanging using just rods and yarns as material. The wall hanging basically comprises three rods holding varying lengths of white and grey yarn placed on top of each other in descending lengths. This DIY is great for those with Scandinavian-styled homes.

However, if you are keen on keeping with the trend of geometric shapes, then try Jeran McConnel of Oleander and Palm’s tutorial for a giant geometric wall heart. The wall art piece uses just sheets of scrapbook paper in two shades of pink and gold. Cut the sheets into triangles, arrange them into a heart shape and then stick it on! (This can also be done on a smaller scale for a framed piece.)

Another geometric heart DIY project is by Jess of Make and Do crew. Using lots of popsicle sticks, Jess stacks the popsicle sticks on top of each another to create a wall piece of three intertwined hearts. A template is provided on the blog for better guidance with the shape.

CUDDLY-HUGGY PILLOWS

If you are looking for more functional pieces (or a cuddle partner), then dress your pillows up for the occasion. Find a simple magenta-coloured pillow case and stencil on common Valentine’s Day phrases such as “XOXO” or “LOVE”, etc. To add more personality to the room, turn a plain white pillowcase into a colourful one with polka dots or hearts.

For a more muted tone, try cross-stitching a heart onto a grey pillow case. Sew-on felt pieces also seem to be a popular choice. You can channel a more modern luxury style using black and white pillow covers with gold scallop trimmings. Sarah Hearts founder Sarah Khandjian used gold pleather (imitation leather made from polyurethane) to give her pillows a more luxurious touch. On a white cover, she used gold pleather cut into scalloped trimming while on a black with white polka dot cover, she cut a big heart out of the pleather and sewed it on.

With St Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we hope these suggestions will help you add hints of romance to interiors to inspire love. Spark love within your homes and make your Valentine’s Day a lot more colourful and fun by focusing on the amusing and enjoyable aspects of these DIY decorations ...better still, done together with your loved ones.
HAVING over the past two weeks written on the global and regional real estate outlook, this week we feature CBRE / WTW’s overview of 2016 and what can be expected in 2017.

2016 overview

Fundamentally, you could say that the property industry runs alongside the economy of the country. As reported in CBRE / WTW’s report, domestic consumption rose, driven by spending in areas that include F&B, transportation and communication. Government consumption also grew (according to year-on-year basis) – with expenditure owing to infrastructure.

Net exports saw mixed results – slower demand from China and reduced exports from the US but the weakening ringgit enticing and increasing Malaysian exports even further. The weak ringgit also opened opportunities for foreign investment.

Other than the global rout in oil prices that has led to a significant number of layoffs in the oil and gas sector, the weakening business sentiment and slowdown in the overall trading is also expected to be more apparent, but in the short term.
Looking positive was the growth rate of retail sales which remained buoyant despite softer consumer spending and the rising costs of living. According to the report, strong support was seen from tourists in retail spending from shopping. The weakening ringgit is expected to encourage tourists’ spending.

2017 outlook

In the Year of the Rooster, the country’s economic growth is expected to be slower due to the challenging global economic and financial landscape. Domestic demand is said to be the key driver of growth, sustained primarily by economic activity from the private sector. Due to the well diversified nature of our country’s exports, positive growth is projected into the year. However, inflation is expected to remain flat although pressured by increase of several price-administered items and the weak ringgit exchange rate.

The impact of these cost factors on inflation is expected to be mitigated by continued low global energy prices, generally subdued global inflation and more moderate domestic demand. Supportive fiscal and monetary policies are also expected to help steady the ship for economic growth. GST will strengthen the government’s revenue source to accommodate its fiscal measures.

With the overall weakening ringgit, low crude oil prices coupled with worldwide geo-political issues will continue to plague the economy in 2017. No doubt, the year will be a challenging one, but Malaysia’s economy is anticipated to remain stable with GDP growth estimated at 4.2%.

Real estate market outlook in Malaysia

As uncertainties and concerns over the large market supply remains unabated, loan growth is expected to slow further as the weak credit cycle continues.

Apart from the stringent loan requirements from financial institutions that are said to have caused the drop in the number of property transactions, the increasing cost of living and economic uncertainties have led to an upswing in worries about job security, resulting in more cautious consumer spending. These and more will have led the market to consist of more genuine purchasers with speculative sentiments not as strong as during the boom period.

As such, supply has remained resilient with greater activity in larger cities. The proposal to boost public servants’ housing loan eligibility proposed by the government, may stimulate some residential sales, apart from other plans to increase the number of units of low and medium cost, affordable housing. No doubt residential development will continue to be active beyond the KL fringe, especially supported by the rapid infrastructure development.

Conclusion

Looking at the real estate outlook in the Klang Valley for 2017 (refer boons and banes), key drivers to a positive year are expected to come from infrastructure – HSR, MRT and LRT additional lines and stations, new highways and expressways. While Johor and Seremban are expected to gain from the “spillover” effected from new infrastructure, residential hotspots to take note of include – Selangor Vision City, Nilai/Pajam, Semenyih/Kajang, Putrajaya/Cyberjaya, Rawang/Ijok/Kuang, Sungai Buloh and Kuala Selangor.

Key drivers that will push these areas are scarcity of land in the city centre, high land costs in the city as well as the improved connectivity in view of new infrastructure.

In his message at the launch of the 2016/2017 report, CBRE / WTW managing director Foo Gee Jen shared that on-ground consensus among practitioners throughout all its branches across Malaysia is that market conditions have become much more challenging in 2016 and that 2017 will not get any better.

Transaction activity is down in many urban centres, especially in the residential sector, which Foo said is a common barometer to gauge the overall property market. However, although figures in CBRE /WTW’s outlook report are discouraging, there is still a glimmer of hope for the year to correct itself once the mass rapid transportation system in Kuala Lumpur and other similar transport systems are up and running.

Bottomline

Foo’s view on the whole: “Another flattish period pulled down by mostly low commodity prices, continued slow economic growth in most major countries, especially with political uncertainties like Brexit, Trump’s presidency and other referendums in Europe.”

His advice: “Reduce portfolios of non-strategic assets to reduce loan gearing and be aware of liquidity needs if and when credit tightens. Investors and developers should focus on taking calculated risks where markets are strong, pursue developments in strong, supply-constrained markets and bid on strategic long-hold assets that are most likely able to withstand a downturn.”

Information and charts/graphs were retrieved from the CBRE / WTW 2017 Malaysia Real Estate Market Outlook. Follow our column next week on interior design, followed by office space in KL and market direction across various regions in Malaysia.

BOON
»Property investment will remain one of the safest forms of investment.
»The demand for affordable housing is likely to become acute.
»Genuine demand will lead the market.
»The market is expected to cool down with prices becoming more negotiable.
»Areas with good transportation connectivity (near MRT I & II, HSR, highways) will continue to be hotspots.
»Demographic forces will continue to drive underlying demand for residential properties.

BANE
»On-going concerns on the overall weak ringgit, low crude oil prices and worldwide geo-political issues will continue to plague the economy.
»Challenging year for developers.
»More savvy home buyers.
WHILE last week we published views on the global outlook, this week we explore the market in various regions as well as the local scene.

It's a new year and looking at how the property market and our local currency fared in 2016, many are sceptical. With that, we have compiled views and comments from various industry specialists and market professionals for a better idea of what can be expected in the Year of the Rooster.

Regional overview

According to JLL's forecast for 2017 delivered by its global capital markets research director, David Green-Morgan, the amount of capital targeting real estate across the world will remain constant, with volumes expected to exceed slightly. However, political and market uncertainty will likely perpetuate into the year.

Green-Morgan shares that performance in two of the region's biggest markets, Australia and Japan, was down by 17% and 1% respectively, with China recording a 19% increase.

Over in the UK, it was a rollercoaster with Brexit, which saw a decline in currency terms and overall volume, yet the English managed to battle it out and end the year with just a 11% drop. Outperformers for the year were Germany (up by 11%) and Central and Eastern Europe (up by 70%) – notably Poland and the Czech Republic.

In the Americas, the market ended 9% lower than the previous year with Canada slightly outperforming the rest of the region by ending the year just 3% below its figures for 2015.

Local landscape

According to property experts at a forum conducted by PropertyGuru, as rising living costs and smaller income growth are still concerns that are being carried into the new year, these will likely cause affordability issues and high loan application rejection rates to persist, which will, if not already, lead to falling property prices. Moreover, with oversupply in some segments of high-rise residences – this will likely cause a drop in the selling price of property, especially for those who do not have holding power and may need to liquidate their properties.

With many in the oil and gas and banking industries who have been given the pink slip (especially foreigners/expats), renters will be spoiled for choice, even more, as the number of vacant leased homes/properties increase, causing landlords to drop rates. Then again, depending on which "side of the fence you're on", there will be losers and gainers unless one has had the foresight and considered a long-term investment plan beforehand.

Hotspots and mantle plumes

The effect from rejected bank loans and those needing to cash out on their properties will most likely see a rise in the number of rentals, especially those situated in strategic locations, facilitated with good public transportation or located in easily connected/accessible areas.

Areas to take note of are the Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) – property development projects that are connected or located in close proximity to MRT, LRT or monorail stations. And with Prasarana's seven additional TOD projects (in Selangor alone) expected to be completed within the next four years, plus construction of the High Speed Rail scheduled in 2018, not forgetting the MRT line that will soon connect the north and south sectors of Greater Kuala Lumpur – the property scene here is expected to be bustling.

Bane for some, boon for others Ultimately, the general consensus on the property outlook for 2017 is interesting. Apart from all the excitement that will come about from the above mentioned, as prices slump, more so with the Selangor Housing and Property Board (LPHS) implementing a price cap on Sohos, Sofos and Sovos, plus serviced apartments –the local market will become even more attractive to foreigners (considering the fate of our currency).

Our neighbours in Singapore are expected to have a field day buying their second/third homes, weekend getaway haunts or properties for investment. As it is, word has it that the Chinese and Indonesians, apart from other foreign nationals have already secured their property purchases and looking to invest in more. Bottomline – tenants and landlords will have "their days" and cash-rich investors are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries, bargain hunting and negotiating for the best rock-bottom deals in the most advantageous locations.

Follow our column next week on a more in-depth outlook of our local property market.

Comments and views from the public

>> With the amendment to the Stamp and Strata Title Act, there will be fundamental changes to the way property dealings are done.

>> It is a good time for developers with strong and stable standing, as well as foreigners looking to purchase/invest in Malaysian properties.

>> Optimistic view on 2017 especially with a few known deals signed between China and Malaysia, which will influence and set off a chain of events.

>> A lot of good deals are expected with the fine-tuning of primary markets and competitive sub-sales.

>> Make use of the many government and public/private house-owning schemes made available like PR1MA for example.

>> A good time to hone your negotiation skills to get the best property deals.

>> For the local buyer with cash, it's your market; for the local seller, best lease/rent to the foreigner.

>> The market is expected to be soft and challenging, looking at the slow economic growth and high cost of living.

>> Expect a subdued market on the whole but anticipate more sales activity from mid-year on, especially in commercial and investment properties.

>> Looking at the global economic uncertainty and the weak ringgit, it's going to be a challenging year for property developers. A renters market with the increase in vacated leases/rentals and a buyers' market for those who are able to negotiate good deals.