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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Low property purchases by MM2H participants

GEORGE TOWN: If each of the 11,738 participants of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme between 2002 and 2008 were to invest in a residential property, the country would have recorded RM7.8bil worth of sales from them. But the actual sales amounted to RM407mil as only 510 of them bought houses during this period.

Tang Chee Meng ...Foreign real estate investors are more likely to invest in countries that they are familiar with

“If each of the MM2H applicants were to buy just one property, there would have been 1,676 properties sold a year, with an estimated gross sales value of RM7.84bil or RM1.12bil a year,” Henry Butcher Malaysia chief operating officer Tang Chee Meng told StarBiz.

Tang was speaking on the sideline at the recent Penang Real Estate Conference, organised by investPenang and the Socio-Economic & Environmental Research Institute, which was officiated by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Henry Butcher Malaysia (Penang) was the technical advisor for the conference.

“According to the National Property Information Centre (Napic), foreign purchases comprised only 0.62% of the 756,000 housing units sold between 2003 and 2008.

“The most sought after properties by foreigners are those priced between RM250,000 and RM500,000,” Tang said.

The seven states surveyed by Napic are the Federal Territory, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Johor, Sabah and Selangor. The top MM2H buyers were from China, Britain, Iran and Japan.

Tang said the global recession presented new challenges to Malaysia’s MM2H market.

“Distressed properties in the other countries like the United States, Britain and Singapore offer attractive opportunities to international investors as property prices and exchange rates in those countries have dropped. The challenge now is to convince international investors that Malaysian properties offer better value than sub-prime properties elsewhere and that property values will hold steady despite the uncertain economic environment,” he said.

Tang said there was also great potential in the tourism market.

“Foreign real estate investors are more likely to invest in countries that they are familiar with.

“In 2008, Malaysia saw a record 22 million tourist arrivals from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, China, India, Japan and Britain.

“If we can convince just 0.01% of these tourists to invest in property in the country, it will translate into 2,200 properties sold.

“At an average of RM668,000 a property, it will bring in some RM1.5bil sales,” Tang said.

To enhance Malaysia’s competitive edge as a MM2H destination, Tang said the property industry should take part in Malaysia Property Inc’s (MPI) roadshows.

MPI is an initiative of the Federal government to promote and brand Malaysia as an international property investment destination.

The target markets include Singapore, South Korea, Britain, Japan, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

Tang said industry players should collaborate with organisations with high net worth database to promote Malaysian property.

“They could look into hosting events with publications such as MillionaireAsia and 100 Thousand Club magazine to tap high net worth individuals in key Asian countries,” he said.

By The Star (by David Tan)

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