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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Upswing seen for next year

Despite the gloomy economic outlook on the global front, the local property market is expected to be positive and on the upswing for next year and 2012, the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia (PEPS) organising chairman Eric Ooi said.

However, there were certain market segments within the property sector that may be lagging behind, he says.

Ooi says the Malaysian economy has bounced back, the stock exchange is reaching new highs, an indication that the stimulus packages introduced by the government after the global financial crisis is working.

On the different property segments, he says landed properties in prime locations have skyrocketed, especially in the Klang Valley, and the retail property segment remains fairly strong.

Eric Ooi fielding questions from reporters, while PEPS president Choy Yue Kwong is on the left.

However, the office sector is still soft but showing signs of improvement, as is the industrial sector, he says.

Ooi also says there is a need to ensure greater balanced growth in all sectors of the property market and this requires government support as well as incentives for the developers to participate in such property developments.

He cites affordable homes to the masses and young couples setting homes as a segment of the property market that need further support from the Government.

However, Ooi concedes that affordable homes in the residential sector, especially in the Klang Valley and in prime locations in other states are possibly going beyond the affordability of this young group of people, based on their general income levels as studies show the average homes in the Klang Valley cost from RM400,000 to RM450,000.

On the value of Malaysian properties, Ooi says there was a time not too long ago when Malaysian properties were undervalued.

But now we believe the properties are generally fairly valued based on our estimates. Malaysian properties generally have a trend of steady and stable growth over the years, unlike some other developing countries in the region where property prices can spike considerably in a matter of a few years, he says.

On high-end properties, he says there is currently a good balance of locals as well as foreigners buying these properties, which are generally worth RM1mil and above.

We are also seeing many high net-worth foreigners showing interest in properties in Asia and some have chosen to purchase properties in Malaysia, despite the lower yield, compared with, say, Vietnam.

These foreign buyers may not be looking at high yield, which normally comes with higher risk, opting for properties with stable growth such as those in Malaysia and Singapore. As a rule, Malaysian properties generally double up in their value over a ten-year period, but there are exceptions, especially in strategic locations in the Golden Triangle, he says.

The 4th Malaysian Property Summit 2011 will be held on Jan 18 at the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

Organised by PEPS, it will focus on property trends, movements in rents and prices, demand and supply and forecasts for the various property segments of the property market.

We expect over 200 participants from the property sector such as developers, property owners, investors, fund managers and bankers as well as property analysts, economists and property consultants present at the this property summit, Ooi says.

Property consultancy Savills Rahim & Co executive chairman and founder Datuk Abdul Rahim Rahman says he is optimistic about next year, particularly the second half of 2011.

The Government has announced various mega projects. This will have a spillover effect. But you cannot expect to see the cranes immediately. That will come later. The land (for the various projects) has been identified. As for the development of Kampong Bharu, the bill has been tabled for first reading. So the corporation to see to that development will be set up some time next year, says Abdul Rahim.

Much of the economic growth will be driven by the services and manufacturing sectors and this will have a positive effect on the property sector.

Nevertheless, Abdul Rahim cautions that there must be adequate studies done on demand and supply today and in the future for office space.

There are 6 million sq ft of office space in Kuala Lumpur under construction today. This will be ready by 2012, excluding those announced and being planned by the government this year. It is prudent to do more detailed feasibility studies on demand and needs, with some consideration given to what is happening in US and Europe today, and if there is a need to postpone some of these projects, let's do so.

Nonetheless, Abdul Rahim says he supports the high value, high impact projects because they will help to push the country into the high-income bracket model that the government is envisioning.

But do not do it at the expense of a glut, he says.

In all likelihood, if the government goes ahead with the planned projects, there will be 10 million sq ft of office space on the cards entering the market in years to come.

The city of Kuala Lumpur can only absorb 1.5 million sq ft of office space. This has been the trend for the last three years. That means, next year and 2012, we can only absorb 3 million, and we have 6 million sq ft coming on stream in 2012, excluding the office space that will be made available in the several high-impact projects announced this year.

By The Star

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