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Saturday, July 18, 2009

More developers planning launches despite uncertainty

The recent launch of a number of new greenfield residential projects in Kuala Lumpur including Sky Residences and St Mary residences may spell the beginning of better times to come for the property market.

Since the global financial crisis hit the country’s shores around last September, developers have resorted to clearing their unsold stocks and held back new project launches for fear of poor take-up for the projects.

Although the market outlook is still uncertain, developers are already making plans for more project launches in the coming months after seeing a pick up in the take-up for property products in the past few months.

Residential loan approvals have turned positive since March also point to stronger take up among buyers, although some of the loans could be due for refinancing activities.

Most developers are taking the initiatives to test the market’s response by getting their show units ready and opening up their projects for registration from interested buyers to gauge the market’s response.

If a project receives a “critical milestone” with enough registrations in place, they will be open up for sales and launch.

The coast in the global economic front is still not clear as a potential recovery is stunted by dampened purchasing power in the advanced economies. If anything, it will be a long and slow process towards recovery.

Most economists are not convinced that the economy will be bottoming out any time soon and are more confident of a pick up around the second quarter of 2010 where more “sustainable green shoots” will emerge.

Asia has been lucky this time around and has been spared more severe backlashes experienced by their Western counterparts. This is underscored by China’s 7.9% GDP growth expected for this year and India’s more than 6% growth in 2009.

If the Government’s market liberalisation measures and the two economic stimulus packages are implemented efficiently and expeditiously, they will be able to give rise to very positive results for the economy in the coming months.

The most important factor will be a return of the people’s confidence and purchasing power to ensure a more sustainable economic recovery.

As for the property market, developers have to be prepared with the right product offerings to attract buying interest.

Mass housing products including terrace houses and semi-detached houses priced below RM1mil will continue to be in great demand.

As the Klang Valley has many of such projects, it is already in the frontline to recover faster than other parts of the country.

At this point, most of the new launches comprise mainly high-rise condominiums around the city centre vicinity.

But even these residences have been redesigned with smaller and more affordable units.

Buyers can look forward to more of such projects in the coming months.

Developers with the right products, right location and pricing are already experiencing better take-up for their property products and sales increase.

High-rise residential living, which is becoming very much a part of Malaysian lifestyle, will increasingly grow in popularity with the rapid urbanisation in the country.

With the scarcity of land becoming more acute, especially in the cities, more developers will be opting to build high-rise residences than landed units in the coming years.

It is more sensible to build high-rise buildings with an average density of 50 units per acre, which will reduce the land requirement to a fourth of landed properties.

High-rise condominium living is also gaining popularity among city folks.

The people’s changing lifestyle and the need for easier accessibility and convenience of city life are some of the major contributors for opting for high-rise living among city folks.

Other reasons that are often cited are the security, peace of mind, and convenience of the services provided by the gated and guarded concept of high-rise living.

With the growing popularity of high-rise living, it is important that high-rise dwellers should be educated on their personal safety measures in the event of emergencies such as fire or tremors.

Concerted efforts and close cooperation for fire and evacuation drills between the developers, property managers, residents and the rescue authorities need to be conducted regularly to come out with the best evacuation and rescue plans to ensure residents will feel safe and secure in their high-rise abodes.

·Deputy news editor Angie Ng hopes all Malaysians will be able to forge ahead and contribute towards a more sustainable recovery and growth path for the country.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

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