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Thursday, March 19, 2009

‘Persistent weakness’ in property sector this year

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian property sector will likely see “persistent weakness” for the rest of this year, according to panellists for the discussion on Capitalising on Property and REITs.

Property consultancy Regroup Associates executive chairman Chris Boyd said the country’s property sector had peaked late last year.

Chris Boyd

“We are likely to see a persistent weakness in the market this year. It will be very difficult to buy,” he said, adding that the mid-range segment was “relatively safe” at present.

“The middle class has grown in the past 25 to 30 years, with relatively decent job security that should still sustain the middle market,” he said.

Boyd proposed that “any time this year is a good time to buy” property, but Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd managing director Ho Chin Soon advised caution.

“I would not ask people to jump in the market just yet. What is the rush? Look around and wait a little longer,” he said. Ho also said that there was no evidence of a property bubble in Malaysia.

Average property prices in major urban areas of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Selangor and Johor had not seen a sudden surge that indicated a bubble, he noted.

“In fact, Johor has even seen prices weaken (over the past four years). If it were a bubble, there should be a lot of cheap land to buy now, but there is none,” Ho said.

By The Star

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