Though SkyWorld founder and group managing director Datuk Ng Thien Phing acknowledged that the property market will "still be challenging" next year, he said the group remains confident of its upcoming launches as its past projects have all achieved strong take-up rates.
He cited the Ascenda Residence at SkyArena residential project in Setapak, which recorded more than 95% take-up rate, and the Bennington Residences Phase 1 (Tower B), also in the same vicinity and launched early this year now has a 90% take-up rate, as examples.
"So, we will be launching Bennington Residences Phase 2 (Tower A) on November 5 this year, and SkyLuxe On The Park in Bukit Jalil in the coming months.
"On top of that, we still have 100 acres of land located across the Klang Valley to be developed. These lands could potentially generate up to RM10 billion in GDV," said Ng, adding that this would keep the group busy for the next few years.
He was speaking to reporters after the topping-off ceremony of the Ascenda Residence at SkyArena project in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Ng said the group is also committed to building affordable housing to address the home ownership problem faced by first-time homebuyers.
The group is now building almost 2,000 units of affordable housing within its SkyAwani mixed development in Sentul here, he shared.
"We have launched 1,226 units of affordable housing (located at Jalan Sentul Pasar) earlier and it has been fully taken up," said Ng, adding that the remaining 708 units will be introduced under the second phase of the SkyAwani development, to be known as SkyAwani Residence II (located at Kampung Batu Muda, off Jalan Ipoh).
He said the group plans to build another 4,000 units of affordable houing within the Klang Valley, though the location for the units has yet to be determined. In the next few years, SkyWorld will be one of the largest developer for the Federal Territory Affordable Housing Project known as RUMAWIP.
Hence, he urged the government to extend the new end-financing scheme for the 1Malaysia People's Housing (PR1MA) programme, under the PR1MA Corporation Malaysia, to include other affordable housing projects tied with the local authorities and/or state governments.
In Budget 2017 tabled last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said homebuyers could get loans of up to 90% and 100%, with loan rejection rates to be reduced drastically.
"These projects (affordable housing introduced by local authorities or state governments) are also affordable housing projects by the governments," Ng said, adding that the relevant ministry could work together with banks to formulate a solution.
The scheme is a collaboration among the government, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and four local banks, namely Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd (AmBank).
On a separate note, Ng said SkyWorld will only seriously look into floating its shares in the equities market in the next two or three years.
"We are considering an initial public offering (IPO), but (it will not happen) in the immediate term," he said, citing the current deteriorating economic situation.
As a relatively new property development player, according to Ng, the group should be fulfilling the earnings requirement for a listing soon, which is a minimum three consecutive years of profit.
It achieved a net profit of RM8.12 million in the financial year ended 31 March 2015 (FY2015), and RM11.8 million in FY2016.
"We project our bottomline to grow to RM40 million in FY17," he said.
Also present at the ceremony were Setiawangsa member of parliament Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Zahari, Kuala Lumpur City Hall executive director for planning Datuk Mohd Najib Mohd and SkyWorld deputy group managing director Lam Soo Keong.
Ahmad Fauzi said road infrastructure in the SkyArena area will be upgraded soon, with a flyover to be built to connect Jalan Genting Klang to Jalan Ayer Jerneh to improve traffic flow.
"Apart from that, SkyWorld, under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, will be allocating RM30 million to widen Jalan Ayer Jerneh to 100 feet (30.48m)," he added. The road will become a four-lane carriageway.
"With the upgrading and expansion plan, this will definitely improve traffic flow and provide the Setapak community easier access to the DUKE Highway," said Datuk Mohd Najib.
Ascenda Residence, the first residential segment in SkyArena, comprises 650 units housed in two residential-titled condominium blocks and spread across 3.35 acres. Unit sizes start from 903 sq ft to 1,239 sq ft. It comes with full condominium facilities, intercom system and 4-tier security.
Bennington Residences is the second residential segment in SkyArena. It comprises 580 units housed in two 37-storey residential-titled condominium blocks and spread across 2.69 acres. Its unit sizes begin from 1,092 sq ft to 1,570 sq ft, including 4 bedder dual-key units. It has a 2-acre rainforest-themed sky park with a total of 42 facilities, including the first triplex sky gym in Malaysia.
The last and third residential segment in SkyArena is tentatively known as Curvo Residences and will be unveiled in 2018. The commercial segment will comprise of a lifestyle retail complex, shop-offices, a hotel tower, a SoHo tower and office blocks.
Under the development, there will also be a 9.4-acre SkyArena Sports Complex featuring multi-level state-of-the-art facilities such as an Olympic-sized swimming pool, board and scuba diving pools, indoor rock climbing, badminton court, basketball court, squash court, tennis court, futsal, fitness centre, dancing room, a full-sized football field with a 400m running track, pro shops, child care centre and a sports medical centre.
Other upcoming SkyWorld projects in 2017 and 2018 include SkySierra in Setiawangsa, SkyMeridien in Sentul East, SkyVogue in Taman Danau Desa and a low-density luxury project in Bukit Tunku.