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Manulife sets US$2B budget for offices in Asia; Vicinity names new CEO

* Manulife's global real estate arm, which acquired a Singapore office tower for US$526 million in April, is looking to invest more than US$2 billion into Asian office assets, in a bid to double its direct real estate holdings in the region from the current tally of approximately US$2.2 billion, The (Singapore) Business Times reported, citing Ted Willcocks, global head of asset management at Manulife Real Estate.

* Vicinity Centres named Grant Kelley CEO and managing director, effective Jan. 1, 2018, succeeding Angus McNaughton, who will retire Dec. 31.

* STR's preliminary data for July showed that hotels in Hong Kong and Sydney logged year-over-year increases in five key performance metrics.

Hong Kong and China

* MTR Corp. Ltd.'s first-half net profit from underlying businesses attributable to equity shareholders, excluding investment properties revaluation, increased 15.3% year over year to approximately HK$5.85 billion. The company attributed the improved results mainly to higher property development profits for the six-month period ended June 30.

* Property developer CIFI Holdings (Group) Co. Ltd. said it completed the issuance of 545.0 million new shares to a unit of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. for net proceeds of about HK$1.91 billion.

* Yin Zhongqing, deputy director of the finance and economics committee of the National People's Congress, said China's "biggest problem" at the moment is to determine how to reduce reliance on real estate, London's Financial Times reported.

"The real estate industry's excessive prosperity has not only kidnapped local governments but also kidnapped financial institutions — restraining and even harming the development of the real economy, inflating asset bubbles and accumulating debt risk," Zhongqing said, according to the report.

* The average first-home mortgage loan rate in China rose to 4.99% in July, up 12.38% year over year, China Economy reported. It is expected that the average first-home mortgage rate may hit above 5.00% in first-tier cities in the second half, as banks continue to tighten mortgage loans.

Australia and New Zealand

* The South Australian state government earned roughly A$1.61 billion from the sale of its lands titles registry and land services unit to the Land Services SA group comprising Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board, The Australian reported.

* Singapore's Mapletree Investments purchased an office tower at St. Kilda Rd. in Melbourne for A$145 million, taking its portfolio of Australian office assets to seven.

* Goodman Property Trust added six new industrial projects worth NZ$107 million in the aggregate to its Auckland industrial portfolio.

* Acknowledging investors' fast-increasing interest in healthcare real estate, David Carr, CEO of New Zealand's Vital Healthcare Property Trust, said the market has "woken up to healthcare real estate being a quality, defensive, credit-rated covenant, solid infrastructure business supported by an ageing, growing population," The Australian Financial Review reported, citing an interview with the executive.


* Sekisui House Ltd., Tokyu Land Corp., Tokyo Tatemono Co. Ltd., Asahi Properties Inc. and a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Estate Co. Ltd. are building a 178-meter-tall condominium tower at a former hotel site in Osaka. Work on the project with 51 stories and about 900 units, tentatively called Osaka City Kita-ku Oyodo 2-chome OM Project, will start in May 2018 for a June 2022 opening, Construction News reported.


* The collective sale of the Normanton Park condominium is scheduled to be launched Aug. 22 at a minimum price of S$800 million, with unit owners likely to make up to S$1.8 million in gross profit each, The Business Times reported. According to the report, more than 80% of owners by share value and strata area gave the go-ahead to the collective sales agreement by Aug. 9.

* Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust issued S$200 million of notes due 2023, drawn from its existing S$5 billion multicurrency medium-term note program, according to a Moody's note.

Later, the company said in a release that the notes were priced Aug. 2, and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd. and United Overseas Bank Ltd. were appointed as joint lead managers for the notes.

* SRX Property data showed that rents of private non-landed homes in July increased 0.2% month over month, while rental volumes grew 11.8% to 4,834 units in the period, The Business Times reported.


* The Indonesian government is readying the launch of two special economic zones in Mandalika, West Nusa Tenggara, and Palu, Central Sulawesi, The Jakarta Post reported.

In the Mandalika zone, construction of three hotels is underway, while another three hotels will break ground in 2018, with the construction of infrastructure to cost 2.2 trillion Indonesian rupiah.

In the Palu zone, three investors have started developing factories, with construction cost of the infrastructure pegged at 1.7 trillion rupiah.

* The total investment value of Kendal Industrial Park, which is a joint venture between Kawasan Industri Jababeka Tbk and Singapore's Sembcorp Development, has hit US$360 million so far, Channel NewsAsia reported, citing Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

* State-owned construction company PT Waskita Karya, which is building 1,260 kilometers of toll roads worth 110 trillion rupiah, intends to sell nine sections of the Trans-Java toll road to finance other such projects, The Jakarta Post reported, citing President Director Muhammad Choliq.


* Owing to an inadequate number of applications, the Delhi Development Authority pushed back the deadline for the 2017 housing scheme by one month to Sept. 11, Times News Network reported. The agency has received approximately 8,000 applications against the 12,072 flats that were up for sale.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific, Real Estate edition is updated by 6:30 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription. Articles and links are correct as of publication time.

Cam Nones, John Chan and Julie Zhou contributed to this report.