Guangzhou R&F Properties buys six development sites in Johor Bahru

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 5:48am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 5:48am

Guangzhou R&F Properties, a landlord in the business district of Guangdong's provincial capital, will pay 4.5 billion ringgit (HK$10.86 billion) for six sites in Malaysia, marking its first acquisition abroad.

The developer plans to build commercial and residential properties on the 47 hectares in the southern Malaysian state of Johor, it said yesterday.

Mainland developers are committing billions of dollars to projects around the world, from apartment towers in New York and a new business district in Britain to a residential redevelopment in Sydney.

Regulatory restrictions at home and concerns that the mainland property market is overheating have spurred companies to venture overseas for the first time.

"Like other developers, R&F made the move to diversify its investment portfolio outside China as domestic property curbs don't appear to be ending soon," said Alan Jin, a Hong Kong-based property analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia.

"It remains uncertain how much demand is out there."

R&F will buy the land from the sultan of Johor for the development that could have about 3.5 million square metres of floor area including homes, offices and a hotel, it said.

R&F shares fell 1.77 per cent to close at HK$12.24 yesterday.

Mainland new home prices rose last month by the most this year, gaining 10.99 per cent year on year to 10,758 yuan (HK$13,685) per square metre, SouFun Holdings, the owner of the mainland's biggest real estate website said on Saturday after a survey of 100 cities.

At least 10 cities tightened their property policies last month as local governments face pressure to meet annual home-price targets, according to Centaline Property Agency, the mainland's biggest real estate brokerage. Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou raised minimum down-payment requirements for second-home mortgages to 70 per cent from 60 per cent.

R&F has been exploring opportunities to tap into fast-developing markets overseas to boost its longer-term profitability, chairman Li Sze-lim said yesterday. "The Malaysian property market has significant growth potential that comes from strong economic fundamentals and demographic factors offering opportunities which the group is well positioned to take advantage of," he said.