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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Speculative property buying under control

PETALING JAYA: Excessive speculative buying of properties due to the availability of various flexible home loan packages is not a major concern in Malaysia, industry players and analysts said.

“Given that many of the buyers were first-time home owners or upgraders, the company was not overly concerned about speculative buying,” SP Setia Bhd chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin told StarBiz.

He was referring to the developer’s Setia 5/95 home loan package which ended in July last year.

“The group believed that there were still buyers out there who were holding back then due to the excessive negativity caused by the financial meltdown in early 2009,” he said.

The 5/95 scheme is where a buyer makes a 5% downpayment and signs the sale and purchase agreement.

Loans need to be secured but the servicing only starts when the property is ready.

The 10/90 property financing scheme is where a buyer pays 10% deposit with the mortgage repayment starting only upon completion of the property.

On top of these two schemes, some developers also offer deferred mortgage payment package for one to two years.

There are concerns that excessive speculative home buying will result in the “supply” coming back to flood the market if house prices start to come down, and affect sales of new houses coming into the market.

A property analyst with a local research house said speculation in properties was not excessive in Malaysia now.

“It is because somehow we do not attract foreign investors that much although our property prices are cheaper than in some other countries in Asia,” she said.

She added that speculative buying was more apparent in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The analyst noted that even when the 5/95 property financing scheme was introduced early last year, the property index only increased by 3% for the first half of 2009.

“Speculative buying in Malaysia depends on the location and market segment.

“Property investments here are usually slanted towards the high-end segment,” she said.

PPC International Sdn Bhd executive director said Thiruselvam Arumugam said the real property gains tax (RPGT) of 5%, implemented on Jan 1, would help to mitigate speculative buying of properties.

“The RPGT forms some sort of control for speculative buyers.

“It promotes healthy increase in property prices compared with ‘artificial’ increase due to speculative factors,” he said.

By The Star (by By SHARIDAN M. ALI)