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Friday, January 20, 2012

Rehda: Property prices will continue uptrend in H1

KUALA LUMPUR: A majority of developers expect property prices to continue climbing in the first half of the year in tandem with rising costs.

In a recent survey of members by the Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association Malaysia (Rehda), about 74% of respondents surveyed generally felt that prices would be on an upward trend, largely influenced by an increase in the cost of development.

Rehda president Datuk Seri Michael Yam said about 36% of the respondents said property prices might increase 10% to 20%, 31% expected prices to increase less than 10%, and 7% expected prices to increase more than 20%.

“The main reason cited was the escalation in land, building materials and labour costs. For example, steel bar price had climbed to RM2,589 per tonne in 2011 from RM2,285 in 2010, while cement had gone up to RM16.33 per bag in 2011 from RM15.64 in 2010,” he told a briefing yesterday on the Rehda Property Industry Survey for the second half of last year.

Two other main factors were the larger deposits required in obtaining housing development licences and the higher market demand.

The deposit for a housing development licence is now 3% of the estimated project cost instead of RM200,000 previously. The survey covered 148 companies or 15% of Rehda's 979 members, and they were selected from all the states in Peninsular Malaysia.

Yam said 63% of the respondents indicated that they planned to launch projects in the first half of this year. In comparison, 45% had launches in the second half of 2011.

“The top property types to be launched in the first half of this year are two-storey terrace houses, apartments and condominiums as well as service apartments,” he added.

The survey also reported that better sales were expected in the first half of this year compared with the preceding six months. About 67% of the respondents with planned launches in the period under review anticipated to sell 41% of their properties and above. Yam pointed out that this was despite the drop in confidence largely influenced by external factors. “Some of the external factors are the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, fragile US economy and volatility in commodity prices.

“Nevertheless, the Malaysian market is still buoyed by its relatively strong economy, low non-performing loans for the property sector and the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme (GTP/ETP),” he said.

On challenges for the industry, Yam said the unsold designated bumiputera lots had been the main reason for unsold units recorded in the last four surveys, which were conducted every six months.

“The way forward in solving this is to have a policy for automatic release of designated bumiputera lots. This will enable such ideal units to be put in the open market instead of them remaining unproductive.”

“Additionally, more than half of the respondents believed that the real property gains tax would have an impact on the overall property market.

“Other than that, 48% of respondents reported that they faced financing issues but mainly in the end-financing for buyers due to buyers' creditworthiness as well as due to banks being more stringent in their lending policies,” he said.

Rehda Federal Territory branch chairman NK Tong said the 45% of respondents that reported launches in second half of 2011 represented a slight drop from the 58% in the first half of 2011.

“The average size per project launch has also declined to 145 units from 160 units for the period under review,” he said.

“Sales were encouraging for the period as more than half of respondents who had launches sold more than 40% of their launched units,” he said, adding that the majority of the units launched were landed properties, but Kuala Lumpur and Penang were more focused on strata-title properties.

Rehda announced that the first Malaysia Property Exposition for 2012 would be held from March 2 to 4 and would feature some foreign developers.

By The Star

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