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Making Malaysia a real estate investment centre [05-11-2012]  
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PROPERTY developers are ur-ging the government to increase efforts to promote Malaysia as an international real-estate investment hub.

Foreigners make up two per pent of total property sales here compared with Singapore's 30 per cent. With around 120,000 new supply in the market a year, the two per cent translates to 2,400 units.

Efforts are in place to minimise red tape and improve public service delivery of the relevant government agencies at federal and state levels.

Malaysia is also looking to attract thousands of foreign buyers to Iskandar Malaysia in Johor. Iskandar Malaysia, three times the size of Singapore, will feature a financial district, education hub, leisure facilities, and residential and commer-cial zones.

It is understood that there are many European expatriates based in Singapore who are mulling relocating to Malaysia, because of cheaper property and lower living costs. head of marketing Jason Thoe recently said there is an influx of investors from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea buying residential properties in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor.

When WCT Bhd launched iMedini Residences in Medini North in Iskandar Malaysia early this year, Block A was fully sold while Block B reached 90 per cent sales. Some 40 per cent of the total 644 units were sold to foreigners, mainly Singaporeans.

Lumayan Indah Sdn Bhd, a private developer, recently sold its Banyan Tree Signatures service apartments at the junction of Jalan Conlay and Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur, at an average price of RM2,500 psf. All 173 units were snapped up.

Dijaya Corp Bhd says the serviced apartments at its W Kuala Lumpur Hotel and The Residences project at Jalan Ampang have drawn strong interest from locals and foreigners.

The company is looking to launch The Residences next year, at a price range of RM2,000 per sq ft (psf) to RM2,500 psf. The Residences, featuring 353 units of serviced apartments, is located on top of W Hotel, from level 24 to level 53.

The managing director of Sunway Bhd's property development division, Ho Hon Sang, told Business Times that the Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese are returning to Malaysia to invest in properties.

"The country's leadership and branding is important to attract foreigners here. The government is addressing the issue of affordability so that all Malaysians could own a property," Ho said.

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