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Thursday, April 3, 2008

High-end properties still attracting foreigners

MALAYSIA'S property sector will continue to attract foreign investors, especially the high-end segment, despite the recent changes in the local political landscape, Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Michael Yeoh said yesterday.

However, the foreign investors are bound to adopt a “wait and see” attitude for now until the political scenario is much more clearer, he said.

The wait-and-see attitude is more likely to affect the high end properties that depend on foreign purchases like those in the KLCC areas or those above RM2,000 per sq ft.

Presenting a talk in Kuala Lumpur yesterday on the “Impact of The Recent General Election on the Real Estate Industry”, organised by the International Real Estate Federation Malaysia (FIABCI-Malaysia), Yeoh said a more clearer political picture was expected after the UMNO General Assembly in December and this will result in a relatively more stable property market.

He, nevertheless added there was no sign yet of a slowdown in the foreign investments.

Whatever the changes, the basic policies are expected to remain same, he said, adding that the local property market will continue to be boosted by domestic demand.

“I dont think domestic demand would slow down, I think that would continue to be strong,” he added.

Yeoh also said a more influencing factor was the global economic situation rather than Malaysian politics as the US subprime crisis was far from over and that it may have impact on global liquidity.

On a positive side, he said Malaysian economy was well preserved by domestic consumption which was robust.

ASLI has forecast a gross domestic product growth of between 5.8 per cent and 6.2 per cent this year amid robust domestic demand, and exports of its oil and gas and palm oil.

Meanwhile, Glomac Bhd’s group executive vice chairman, Datuk Richard Fong, was also upbeat on the high-end property market. He said: “I think the property sector will remain stable and we will see a surge of foreign investments for properties especially in the high-end market, mainly from the Middle East.”

Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd’s group chairman Datuk Alan Tong Kok Mau meanwhile said there was still a lot of growth potential for the high-end property market, saying that Malaysia’s property prices still remained very competitive.

“There is still a niche market for the high-end segment and we would focus on that. Towards the year, we would see demand mainly from the Middle East and China,” he said.

By Bernama

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