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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Looking for the perfect buy

It has been a tough and challenging ride for Malaysians and people the world over this past one year or so.

Their confidence in the free market economy must have been shaken badly after so much wealth and asset value have been eroded by the global financial meltdown.

The leveI of confidence going forward will depend on how the people perceive their general well-being and whether there’s hope for the future, which depends among other things on their expectation on the health of the local and global economy.

It will be a herculean task to reinstate the same robustness to the economy to that of the pre-global crisis days and much work remains to be done in many parts of the world.

The same goes for Malaysia and hopefully all parties will get down to work expediently for the common goal of lifting the country’s chance of a sustainable economic recovery and growth.

The liberalised measures introduced by the Government, aimed at raising the country’s competitiveness and attract foreign direct investments to the country, will need the total commitment and cooperation of all to succeed.

Based on the strong sales registered by developers these past few months, one wonders whether there is a pent-up demand for residential properties, especially landed properties, as the supply pipeline has been put on hold or substantially scaled down when the crisis hits.

The question on whether property buyers will be flocking back into the market after the days of easy financing packages for house purchases are over remains to be seen.

There is still some hesitation among buyers on whether this is the best time to seal the deal as some are still waiting for better deals or offers to come along.

To be sure of striking the right chord with buyers, developers should literally put themselves in the buyers’ shoes and proactively seek their feedback on what type of property products are being sought after.

Housebuyers today are looking for more than a roof over their head. Expectations have certainly gone up many notches and they want more value from developers before committing to buy.

Besides the basic requirements of a good location, quality standards and developer’s reputation, buyers are also giving more priority to safety and conducive environment, well landscaped parks and surroundings, community facilities, good infrastructure and accessibility.

There is still much liquidity in the system and property is one of the time-tested investment tools with potential for capital appreciation and rental yields.

The prevailing low interest rates and slew of incentives offered by developers are helping to fan property buying interest.

After all, property in Malaysia has proven to be a good investment tool and hedge against inflation. Prices of most of the residential property, except for high-end condominiums in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Mont’Kiara areas, have held out quite well throughout the crisis period.

Developers will not go wrong if they target their products at the mass market segment as the country’s young population, where at least a third of the 26 million population are between 25 and 44 years, will need a fairly big number of houses each year.

Those with high-end projects may opt to wait out a little longer until market sentiment has recovered before putting out their projects for sale.

It will certainly help with the sales if developers take the proactive steps of making sure their housing units are designed practically and buyers will not need to do any further renovation before moving in.

Having the housing units fitted with some basic necessities such as air conditioners, wardrobes and kitchen cabinets will prove to be a big plus for buyers as it will save them substantial time and money to shop around by themselves.

Offering a few choices of colours, materials and designs will be a practical option for buyers.

By sourcing for these fittings for a whole project, developers will be able to enjoy economy of scale and lower average cost which can then be passed on to their buyers.

Deputy news editor Angie Ng believes every little extra effort and value adding initiatives by developers will go a long way to raise the chances of success for property projects these days.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

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