Posts by jffoundationgroup

    Key to Singapore’s success is retaining a competitive real estate advantage

    WHEN the Asean Economic Community (AEC) was born on the last day of 2015, it signalled that this region of 625 million people was showing real signs of fulfilling its potential. Increased economic vigour in South-east Asia might be seen as beneficial for Singapore, the financial hub at its centre. But could it also threaten that hub status?

    Investment is increasingly flowing into regional centres such as Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Jakarta (not to mention further-flung places such as Hong Kong and Sydney). So when top business leaders arrive in Kuala Lumpur for the World Economic Forum on Asean in June, many will be wondering whether Singapore will be among those to benefit from the birth of the AEC.

    The 2008 global financial crisis continues to impact financial centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Increasingly stringent regulatory regimes have added to compliance costs and impacted the growth of the wealth management and financial services sectors. In addition, China’s rebalancing of its economy, the world’s second largest, has affected the export growth of countries that are highly dependent on Chinese demand for oil, metals, raw materials and machine tools.

    South-east Asian economies aren’t spared. Indonesia and Malaysia are among the biggest commodity exporters to China while Singapore, a key oil refining centre and transhipment hub, has seen weaker manufacturing output and falling exports. Singapore’s higher cost base has also been thrown into sharp focus as companies move back-office functions to lower cost countries, such as the Philippines and India. This has all softened demand for office and industrial space and commercial rents have fallen recently as a result.

    Despite these, there are reasons to believe that Singapore’s future continues to be bright, thanks to its well-recognised traditional strengths, and its efforts to become a global Smart City.

    The Lion City has established advantages such as excellent infrastructure, low rates of corruption and corporate tax, a good quality of life, and high education standards. Starting a business takes just three days, compared to six in Malaysia and 28 in Thailand. Corporate tax has remained at 17 per cent for the last 15 years.

    The post-2008 stringent regulatory regime actually favours Singapore, as it increases the need for a regional financial centre that is secure and comfortable with the rule of law. Political risk and economic volatility will continue to challenge other regional centres, even as they rapidly improve their own infrastructure and connectivity. Singapore’s real estate infrastructure also makes it the location of choice for mission-critical operations. Over the last decade the central business district has grown steadily, thanks to a large increase in employment in financial services and wealth management.

    From a global city to a smart one

    Where the Lion City really stands out, however, is in the government’s impressive efforts to turn this global city into a Smart City. While other governments react, Singapore is proactive and responsive.

    A Smart City first needs a smart infrastructure backbone, and Singapore is at the leading edge. The real estate sector is at the forefront of this, especially with new developments such as Tanjong Pagar Centre and Marina One, both box-ready for the smart revolution.

    Clever innovations harness new technologies to cut costs and improve sustainability outcomes such as reducing environmental impacts. Lighting systems and lifts respond to usage patterns, saving energy and money. Smart features are being developed in public housing estates as well as office blocks, for instance in making waste collection more efficient. Singapore has a key competitive advantage in its physical real estate.

    Based on JLL’s Benchmarking the Future World of Citiesreport, Singapore is one of the elite Big Six established world cities. The city-state often scores highly in city rankings because of its integrated city management, which includes combined land use, economic development and infrastructure planning. Singapore has comprehensively solved major infrastructure challenges, such as housing and water collection, and continues to rise up infrastructure rankings.

    Singapore’s Smart City drive is not just about hardware. The nurturing of the e-commerce sector not only strengthens demand for commercial property, but also opens up wider business opportunities thanks to the AEC’s greater regional integration. The government’s recent push to increase the supply of commercial property has also included projects aimed squarely at the smart economy. JTC Launchpad @ one north, for example, acts as an incubator for start-ups in areas such as bio-medical sciences, media, cleantech and electronics. Projects such as the new Funan Mall and Singapore Post Centre retail mall will integrate both online and offline shopping.

    The most important attribute of a Smart City is the understanding that this will all continue to evolve. Anticipating and preparing for new opportunities will be a challenge, even for the proactive Singaporean government, and much depends on retaining a competitive real estate advantage. Rivals from Hong Kong to Shanghai and Sydney will flourish in their own respective markets, but Singapore has what it takes to continue to flourish as the financial and business hub of an increasingly dynamic South-east Asia.

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    How renovations can affect the value of a home

    THE summer months are a particularly popular time for updating houses, with new bathrooms, new kitchens or even a new roof. But whether the renovations add to a home’s value, that’s a different matter.

    Even when they do increase the price a seller may get, they rarely increase it in line with how much the renovation costs.

    “People confuse helping the home keep up with the market with an upgrade or a renovation,” said Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal firm that covers the New York metropolitan area. “The simplest example may be refinishing your floors or repainting the inside of your house. Those are things that need to happen every so often so the house doesn’t fall behind the market.”

    With renovations, he said the relationship between cost and value is always changing. At times, a US$100,000 renovation may add only US$50,000 to the value of a home. In other instances, spending US$50,000 may increase the value by US$100,000, he said.

    And there are the times when the renovation may decrease the home’s value. Mr Miller remembers a one-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village that he appraised almost three decades ago. The apartment had a US$30,000 built-in entertainment system that was purple Formica.

    “The owner thinks the value is the apartment plus US$30,000,” Mr Miller said. “The buyer is thinking it’s the value of the apartment minus US$3,000 to remove it and repair the wall. Here lies the problem.”

    What is going to add value depends as much on the type of renovation as the particular housing market. And Mr Miller said he tells clients that “personal taste and market taste” can be different.

    New roofs and insulation have great financial returns, said Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research at the US National Association of Realtors, which teamed up last year with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to determine the value of renovations.

    Ms Lautz said people who would like to recoup more of their investment would do better by aiming for boring. Putting in new insulation and garage doors or replacing a roof, siding or windows adds value and saves energy.

    But new kitchens and bathrooms make owners happy, and their value is more difficult to discern.

    According to the Realtors report, the average price of a kitchen renovation is US$60,000 and carries a “joy score” of 9.8 out of 10.

    Yet, the report found, only 67 per cent of the price is recovered when the owner sells the house. A bathroom renovation typically costs US$26,000 and has a joy score of 9.3, but only 58 per cent of that will be recovered.

    Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow Group, said he found in his research that high-end bath and kitchen renovations were among the worst investments (though not as bad as finishing a basement).

    On the other hand, he said, a “midrange bathroom remodel” could reap a big increase in value. These are renovations where a fairly bland bathroom is made into something “you’d bring your guests into”, he said. The return is US$1.71 for every US$1 spent.

    “When you get way up into the finishes for a bath or kitchen, you start to really apply a strong aesthetic to that renovation,” he said. “When you make choices about backsplashes and finishes, the buyer may not like it. But they’re going to appreciate a usable bathroom, regardless.”

    Whatever the renovation, its ability to increase the value of a home can be short-lived.

    “A renovation beyond three years – unless it’s something major like a new storey of your house – isn’t going to matter that much,” he said. “The ‘new car smell’ of that renovation has gone away, and your neighbours have done the same thing.”

    Still, Ms Lautz said, big, expensive renovations may be necessary just for sellers to attract interest on photo-heavy real estate websites. “You look at homes online and see the new kitchens and bathrooms that really sparkle,” she said.

    This benefit varies, depending on demand in a particular housing market. “If you’re in a housing market with very tight supply, all of a sudden the value spread between a home that needs a lot of work and the home that doesn’t need any narrows,” Mr Miller said. “In a market where there is an oversupply, it’s just the opposite. There’s more of a premium for a home that has already been done.”

    New Canaan, Connecticut, an affluent town an hour from New York City, is experiencing one of those gluts. Amanda Briggs, the brokerage manager at Houlihan Lawrence there, said the town had a lot of listings for large, four-storey homes that are 10 to 15 years old.

    “They’re perfectly maintained,” she said. “But these houses look more dated than they are. The cabinets look outdated. Buyers want to redo them and they’re factoring in the costs to the price.”

    Ms Briggs said her agency has published a guide for its brokers on the science of pricing. While she demurred on what that science was, she offered statistics showing the downside of getting the price wrong.

    In New Canaan, the houses that are properly priced are on the market for an average of 76 days and sell for 97 per cent of the asking price. But the time on the market for homes that need at least one price reduction goes up to 226 days and the eventual selling prices is only 87 per cent of the list price.

    One factor at work is the difference between what Ms Briggs called buyer’s math and seller’s math. “Sellers think acquisition cost plus what I put into it is what it’s worth,” she said. “Buyers are looking at price per square foot and Zillow’s analytics.”

    As for personal touches, how they contribute to value depends on whether they make a home more or less attractive relative to the homes around it.

    Lilly Lenavitt, an agent with Compass, a real estate agency in Los Angeles, said the basic upgrades apply in that market, with a premium placed on pools. The value of a gym, though, could go either way.

    “If they can put a gym in, and it’s just a room where all the equipment can come out, it’s OK,” she said. “If you’ve personalised it and it can only be used as a gym, you’re narrowing your buyers.”

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    How has the property market in Malaysia changed in recent years?

    Malaysia has enjoyed many years of booming property, which is why the current slowdown is promoted by the central bank to ensure growth is more sustainable in the long-term, and with new infrastructure spend by the government, this will open up new areas for property developments and townships. This year’s low oil and commodity prices, goods and services tax (GST) implementation and the depreciation of the ringgit, have also affected disposable income and investment decisions. Nonetheless, we are optimistic in the long run. Our nation’s flagship economic programme, the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), is on track to propel Malaysia to become a developed nation by 2020, with a GNI per capita of $15,000. Following the launch of the ETP in 2010, Malaysia’s growth in private investments has increased by more than double, and for the first half of 2015, its recorded private investments reached close to MYR 108.5bn ($25.05bn). This total, coupled with a track record of high pipeline investments, signifies continued confidence in Malaysia as an attractive nation for investment.

    In 2014, Malaysia recorded a GDP growth rate of six percent, and although 2015 proved to be a challenging year for the global economy, the Malaysian Government is resolute in sustaining its momentum and targeting growth between 4.5 and 5.5 percent. In the announced budget for 2016, an allocation of MYR 267.2bn ($62.7bn) was pledged to secure the sustainability of Malaysia’s growth through areas such as road projects, mass rapid transit and light rail transit lines.

    Globally, the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland ranks Malaysia as the 14th most competitive nation among 61 economies. While the World Bank reports that Malaysia is the 18th easiest place to do business among 189 companies and the World Economic Forum lists it as the 18th most competitive country out of 140 economies. Additionally, our participation in the ASEAN Community and in both the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement are further incentives for businesses to invest in Malaysia as a gateway to larger and more robust markets.

    What are the biggest opportunities for property companies in Malaysia?

    Master-planned residences, offices, retail and other amenities that are integrated within a neighbourhood and located close to quality public transportation are the biggest opportunities for property companies in Malaysia.

    The 800-acre Sunway Resort City is the country’s first fully integrated green township as certified by the Green Building Index (GBI) of Malaysia. It is Sunway’s flagship township development, which has been transformed from a tin-mining wasteland into a sterling example of a transit-oriented community where people live, learn, work and play in a safe, healthy and connected environment. People of all ages and incomes have greater access to jobs and opportunities within the city, while also leading affordable and healthy lifestyles. Carbon footprint and transportation costs are also reduced, allowing residents more disposable income and spending power. Today Sunway Resort City welcomes 42 million visits annually and is home to more than 200,000 people, including a student population of 25,000.

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    Driving real estate development in Malaysia

    Malaysia’s property and construction industries continue to advance the country’s economy, as well as its social development

    The Malaysian economy is at a period when it is able to grow sustainably, even during a global slowdown. At the centre of its ongoing development is the country’s robust property and construction industries, which, as well as attracting global investment, also makes social development a reality.

    Integral to Malaysia’s ultimate progression into a developed economy is its commitment to corporate and social responsibility. Leading this approach is the Sunway Group, one of the most well-known and trusted conglomerates in Malaysia. The firm has gained its impeccable reputation through its continuous commitment as a master community developer to improve the lives of all that come into contact through a unique build-own-operate business model, powering its property and construction projects, the most notable being its modern and innovative townships spanning some 4,000 acres in Malaysia. World Finance had the opportunity to speak with Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Founder and Chairman of the Sunway Group, to discuss the country’s expanding property and construction markets, and the company’s role in Malaysian society.


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    Type Of Piling Machines

    Piling is used to strengthen the soil on ground and able to support the load of building. Piles have to be driving into the ground by using piling machine, there is few different types of piling machine in the market and all of them have different usage. The usage of types of piling machine is depending on the type of piles used, different types of piling machine may affect the procedure of pile driving too. Location of site affect the usage of type of piling machine too, because some of the piling machines make noisy voice and it may affect the nearby resident.

    Type Of Piling Machine

    1) Bakau Piling Machine
    Bakau Piling Machine
    Features :
    i) It’s using a type of timber called “Bakau” as pile.
    ii) Normally used for single storey house which has lower load.
    iii) Lower cost spent.

    2) Pile Driver
    Pile Driver
    Features :
    i) Hydraulic Pile Driver (long screw drilling machine)
    ii) Can drive with longer pile with height of : 21m, 25m, 27m, 30m, 30.4m, 33m, 34m, 36m
    iii) Hole diameter : 400mm, 600mm, 800mm, 1200mm
    iv) Drilling depth : 17m, 20m, 23m, 26m, 30m, 32m
    v) Piling speed : 3.5m/min, 4m/min

    3) Rotary Piling Rig
    Rotary Piling Rig
    Features :
    i) It’s commonly used for railway, road,bridge, public works bridge and large building, etc.
    ii) Maximum Hole diameter : 2000mm
    iii) Maximum Drilling depth : 60m
    iv) Piling speed : 1.5km/hour
    v) Efficient and energy-saving engine

    4) Nissha D308 / 408 / 508 Piling Machine
    Nissha D308 / 408 / 508 Piling Machine
    Features :
    i) Used for spun pile, RC square pile and etc.
    ii) Fast driving speed and efficient.

    5) Bore piling machine (JZL18-600/JZL45 Crawler type)
    Bore piling machine (JZL18-600/JZL45 Crawler type)
    Features :
    i) It’s used for bored piling.
    ii) Bored diameter : 600mm
    iii) Bored depth : 18m
    iv) Stanchion height : 20.6m
    v) Multifunctional Pile Frame

    6) Bore piling machine (JZL18-600/JZL45 Crawler type)
    Bore piling machine (Moving type JZB21-600/JZB50)
    Features :
    i) It’s used for bored piling.
    ii) Bored diameter : 600mm
    iii) Bored depth : 21m
    iv) Stanchion height : 25.3m

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    What is bored piling?

    Bored Piling is one of the common and modern-day techniques for building a solid pile foundation for construction of various building types and structures.

    The Process
    Bored Piling is a process whereby steel circular casings are installed into the ground by the simultaneous process of drilling and soil removal. This is then followed by the concreting of the piles, which then forms a strong pile foundation for the structure. This process is usually required when soil replacement instead of soil displacement is required.

    Usage & Advantages
    In many of today’s rapidly-developing cities, redevelopment and new construction works commonly require the use of bored piles. This is usually the case when surrounding site conditions, especially adjacent structures require minimal vibration and noise. This method also offers considerable flexibility in pile length, ground and soil conditions, without the hassle of large excavations and subsequent backfill of soil. To facilitate boring into hard rock strata, JF Foundation uses ancillary equipment such as the “Down-the-hole” hammer.

    JF Foundation combines the strategic use of conventional or advanced hydraulic drilling rigs to carry out bored piling works according to the onsite soil composition, quality and project requirements.

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