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Monday, January 25, 2010

Institute plans more courses for realtors

Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah hitting the gong to mark the opening of MAREC. With him are Loke Fu Wah (left) and Julie Wong.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) wants to introduce more education and development courses to enhance the standard of real estate agents in the country, said president Julie Wong.

“We plan to bring in more management courses like the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) to enhance the knowledge of our real estate agents,” she said after the opening of the Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention (MAREC) on Saturday.

She said the MIEA also had plans to bring in renowned speakers from around the globe for future MAREC or realtor conventions.

An agreement was signed on Saturday between the MIEA and US-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) for the provision of a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) course for Malaysian realtors.

“The NAR has other relevant courses as well but we are going to concentrate first on the CRS. There will be other education development courses in the pipeline and we will introduce them stage by stage,” said Wong.

MAREC organising chairman Loke Fu Wah said the local property sector was showing promising signs of recovery.

“The market reached its bottom last year and is picking up,” he said.

Wong said the property market was moving and buyers were slowly coming back.

“Last year, people held back their purchasers and adopted a wait-and-see approach,” she said, adding that the residential sub-sector would be the biggest driver of growth for the property market this year.

Wong also said the Government’s recent amendment of the (5%) real property gains tax (RPGT), which would now only apply to properties sold within five years from their date of purchase, was a good call.

The Government had previously wanted to impose the RPGT across the board, irrespective of the number of years of ownership, as announced in Budget 2010.

The two-day MAREC was officiated by Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah. Themed The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, it featured 20 speakers from the United States, Singapore and Malaysia, with The Star being one of the sponsors.

In his keynote address, Ahmad Husni said he was optimistic about the outlook for the local property sector as the affordability of local residential properties was at an “all-time best”.

“Affordability has never been better. Our banks have continued to support the market with very attractive mortgage rates at a base lending rate of around minus 2% and in some cases, below 2.4%.

“This translates to the fact that interest rates that are being charged are only marginally over 3%, not much higher than the current fixed deposit rates of 2% to 2.5%.”

Ahmad Husni also said the property market was one of the most reliable barometers of the health of any economy.

He is confident Malaysia will achieve its target of a 5% gross domestic product growth for 2010.

By The Star

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