Published: Tuesday December 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 4:46:17 PM
China-based company buys RM4.5bil worth of land in Johor Baru
by ng bei shan
PETALING JAYA: China-based developer Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd is buying six plots of land in Johor Baru for a whopping RM4.5bil from the Johor Sultan, making it a record deal.
The investment, comprising high-rise residential units, low-density housing, retail properties, offices, a hotel and a shopping mall, is the Hong Kong-listed firm’s maiden overseas venture.
“Malaysia, with a sizeable Chinese community and favourable government policy attracting foreign purchasers, is well-suited for the first venture of the group outside China,” said the company in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange.
It also said it came to the RM4.5bil consideration through direct negotiation with the vendor and that its board considered the price to be fair and reasonable, given the market condition in Malaysia, location, development cost and potential of the land.
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The developer said it had paid a RM100mil deposit, which would be deducted from the first installment payment of the consideration.
According to Zerin Properties’ chief executive officer Previn Singhe, the estimated sellable floor area of about 3.5 million sq m worked out to a plot ratio of 7.5 times, which is considered high, given that the land is worth about RM891 per sq ft.
Previously, another developer from China, Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, had bought 22.26ha in Danga Bay for RM376 per sq ft. Comparing both, Previn said the latter’s plot ratio was lower at 5.22 times.
“This is very good for Malaysia. Not only would it spur (our) real estate sector, but there would also be spillover effects in terms of other industries such as education, tourism, agriculture and many more.
“We are now an investment hotspot for companies from China,” he told StarBiz.
Henry Butcher Malaysia director Lim Eng Chong said investors from China were buying property in Malaysia because of the infrastructure, relatively affordable health sector, education facilities and cheaper land cost here. .
He said many small and medium-sized mainland China developers were positive about Malaysia.
“China-based developers looking for businesses elsewhere are seeing Malaysia as an alternative investing destination, as the property prices in the markets that the mainland Chinese were familiar with, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, are beginning to cool down after having gone up considerably,” he said.
Based on his experience, he said, the latest property ceiling price of RM1mil for foreigners had little impact on these investors, as most of them preferred established high-end areas which were selling above that price.
LBS Bina Group Bhd managing director Datuk Lim Hock San said: “In China, people are talking about Iskandar because of its proximity to Singapore. The high prices there have prompted investors to look at Malaysia as a cheaper alternative.”
Property analysts, however, are more cautious on the property market in the Iskandar region now due to high valuations and the possibility of an oversupply.
Maybank IB Research analyst Wong Wei Sum pointed out that developers who emphasised on a fast turnaround and supplied a massive amount of similar products to the market could result in a glut.
“It depends on how they are going to launch it.”
Guangzhou R&F Properties noted in the announcement that its preliminary plan was to develop the land in phases, but did not elaborate.
Analysts also noted that the China-based developers could be targeting mainland Chinese as buyers for their properties and warned of the more speculative nature of such investments.