05 July 2011

The Residential Property Market and Sector.

Okay - what I am going to write about next might make you jump off your chair - or rather shocked - or some of you may already sense it already. =) I have been conducting a very thorough research on properties in Malaysia, the property markets - and for those who want to invest in property counters, yes, the property sector as well.

In my opinion, Malaysia's current residential markets look very good, and I would say that the likelihood of a residential property bubble bursting is very low. However, I do think that the larger developers would be seeing fair growth numbers for 2012 as compared to 2011. The rebound from 2008 saw a jump in 2009, a hike in 2010 and a pretty impressive 2011. But as the markets tend to hover and cool down a bit - I believe 2012 will still be a good year, just without the super impressive growth rates.

The Government - through the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has been releasing plenty of good news to the property markets. In a way, having new developments and so on are creating and increasing the supply numbers to cool down the high demands, on the other hand, the new developments also create an excitement amongst property players and investors.

I am a firm believer in properties in the Klang Valley region. I believe the Klang Valley properties will continue to be the main driver of the Malaysia property market - and I foresee the highest growth in terms of transaction values and capital appreciation for Klang Valley properties. As what I have seen in private developments and launches, I also noticed that in comparison to 2010 (in particularly 2nd half of 2010), housing launches have slightly slowed down. Assuming units are still being sold at the same rate, that would mean the numbers of unsold residential houses and units will continue to reduce, hence reducing the possibilities of the oversupply situation.

The MRT project under the ETP.

Some analysts and certain groups have said that the ETP projects - in particular with the Greater KL and the MRT will push the property sector further. In my opinion however, there are 2 schools of thought for this. The MRT is expected to be a RM35billion (or more) project, with multiple lines and stations. Yes - I would expect this to enhance/improve property values - however, in my opinion, implementation is always the key to success. In this case, a multi billion dollar project would take time to be implemented and constructed. The project will have its launch event next Friday - to be officiated by the PM himself.

On the Greater Kuala Lumpur part - I would say that there are plenty of good news to flow out from there. Smaller projects such as Damansara City, the redevelopment of Pudu Jail, the developments around Matrade and so on could be launched quite quickly, and actual physical works could hit the grounds as soon as early 2012. The larger projects such as the RRIM land in Sg Buloh, the Sg Besi RMAF land and the KLIFD project at Imbi side will take a much longer time for masterplan proposals, authority submissions and so on before any works can start - which I would look at about... earliest, 2nd half of 2012.

Nonetheless, I would think that the RM150k to RM500k properties are still seeing plenty of investors' attention - and would always remain within the radar. I have seen how properties in Desa ParkCity uptrend from the RM950k/unit to about RM1.2mil/unit - which is a good 26% upside. But I have also seen properties of the lower prices - go from the low RM350k to hit RM500k within the same period - which is an impressive 40+%! Hence, I believe that properties below RM500k are still very much in demand.


The Skim Rumah Pertamaku.

The Government introduced the 'Skim Rumah Pertamaku' - for 1st time home buyers to obtain 100% margin financing for homes below RM220,000. This clearly mean one thing - Affordable is the word, and very likely the word for 2012. To add on to this, the Government is also allowing those earning less than RM6k per month to obtain 90% loan margins with 10% guaranteed deposits for apartments between RM220k-RM300k. However, with the recent rise in building material prices and land costs, I would expect the developers to not focus so much on the RM220k and below units - and instead, on those above RM500k to have better margins.

Alam Idaman apartments, with units from RM240k-RM320k.

Conclusion
In general - while the residential markets look good overall, do be careful for the expensive properties. Properties at about RM200k will be a better bet, with plenty of potential upside. Those RM500k and above would always remain a fair/good bet, but easy disposal of the units will remain a question mark. Do note that the house affordability is very good, with very low interest rates and good options around the markets to scout. Banks are also experiencing better liquidity, and are giving out 30-40 year loan tenures to encourage property purchases.

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