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Monday, January 14, 2008

Property uptrend expected to continue

BUILDING OPPORTUNITY: Ong (right) and Soma at the openning of Marec 2008

Malaysia's real estate sector is expected to remain on the upside for the next few years, backed by positive interest in the market.

Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention 2008 (Marec) organising chairman Siva Shankar said the scenario is likely to continue despite the escalating prices of houses in the country, especially in prime locations.

"We believe the property market will remain bullish and the uptrend will continue for the next two to three years," he told reporters after the opening of Marec 2008 in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

There are more than 3.9 million residential units, 320,570 shops, over 8.12 million sq ft retail space offered by 596 complexes and 14.7 million sq ft office space still unsold in the country.

Marec 2008 was officiated by Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting. Also present was Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents president K. Soma Sundram.

Siva noted that since January last year, demand for properties has shifted to the high-end and this has helped increase their value by 30-40 per cent.

"High-end properties within the vicinity of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Mont'Kiara, Bangsar and Damansara are doing well.

"In the KLCC area, for instance, some properties there were transacted for a premium of some 30 to 40 per cent higher," he said, noting that the properties were usually priced from RM1 million and above.

Meanwhile, Soma urged Malaysian real estate agents to form smart partnerships with their foreign counterparts to tap the regional property scene.

"Instead of focusing only on the local market, real estate agents should take the opportunity to tap other regional markets and form strategic alliances with them (foreign real estate agents), thus creating a 'regional brand'," he said.

"Take Vietnam and Cambodia, for instance. They need good real estate agents. We can go and set up operations there and market the properties for them to both local and foreign buyers. At the same time, we could lend our expertise in the field to the real estate agents there."

Soma said that Vietnam's real estate sector was experiencing a property bubble, partly because of the rapid economic growth it had been experiencing for the past few years.

By New Straits Times (by Azlan Abu Bakar)

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