Hua Yang says property market to improve in H2


KUALA LUMPUR: The property market, which experienced a slow-down early this year, is expected to improve in the second half of the year as the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) becomes clearer and sentiments improve, said Hua Yang Bhd CEO Ho Wen Yan.

"Over the six months between end of 2014 and early 2015, the market was a bit soft due to GST and also due to the tightening measures by Bank Negara Malaysia. I think after GST, there will be more clarity so hopefully by mid- to end-year the overall market will be more positive," he told SunBiz in an interview.

Although property sales slowed down prior to GST, Ho said it was mostly due to sentiment as well as difficulty in securing loans due to stringent loan requirements.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2015 (FY15), Hua Yang's net profit rose 34.6% to RM110.6 million from RM82.2 million a year ago while revenue rose 14.5% to RM583.6 million from RM509.9 million a year ago. Its earnings per share was at 41.88 sen.

Total unbilled sales for FY15 stood at RM701.85 million.

Ho said the company aims to achieve at least RM500 million sales per annum. For FY16, it plans to launch a new project named Mines South in the third quarter of the calendar year.

Located opposite The Mines Shopping Centre, the apartment project offers 568 units with a gross development value (GDV) of RM262 million.

In FY15, Hua Yang launched RM789 million worth of projects, comprising new phases in its townships in Johor and Perak, remaining phases in its flagship development One South as well as Citywoods serviced apartments in Johor.

"For the current financial year, there will be new phases we will introduce to our thriving townships, Taman Pulai Hijauan in Johor and Bandar Universiti Sri Iskandar in Perak – both of which are maturing well with increasing population and healthy sales.

"On top of planning for our new launches, we will also focus on building up the sales of recently launched and on-going projects to achieve our targeted annual sales. Currently, Hua Yang is running 11 development projects with a total GDV in excess of RM2 billion," said Ho.

Hua Yang's landbank stands at 492 acres with a GDV of RM3.3 billion. The majority of its land are in Johor and Ipoh, Perak. It also has land in the Klang Valley and Penang.

"We purchased two parcels of land in Penang. That's the target market that we want to develop over the next three to five years. We want to set up a branch operations to integrate that market as part of our group operations. That's for the short to medium term; in the next three to five years we will develop our Penang market," said Ho.

Hua Yang is in the midst of finalising the building plans of the RM310 million gross development value project in Bukit Mertajam.

On land acquisitions, he said the company is in preliminary talks for other parcels of land in Penang but its focus is to replenish landbank in Johor and the Klang Valley.

"Moving forward, we always like Kota Kinabalu, Sabah but land is a bit difficult to find there. We are always scouting. We've always been in talks but it is a bit difficult to secure land. Of course we will consider joint ventures, but we prefer to do it on our own because it means we will have control over most things.

"Some of the issues we face there are availability of land, price, land codes and regulatory issues. Regulatory issues there are a bit more tricky than in Peninsular," he said, adding that plans to enter Sabah are more likely to happen next year.

As for overseas expansions, Ho said he only sees the company doing that beyond 2018.

He added that demand is still very strong in the affordable housing segment, where its skill set and core competencies lie.

"Our next milestone target is to achieve a revenue of RM800 million by FY18. Our over-arching mission is to be the leading affordable housing developer in Malaysia." -
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