Long term uptrend intact – HLIB

HLIB (Hong Leong Investment Bank Research) said that there are still many projects that continue to register high take up rate and gave an example of Paloma by Tropicana Corp Bhd which achieved 60% sales within one month of launch. This is still happening despite the tightening of the property market with more cooling measures such as 30% RPGT (real property gains tax) and minimum purchase price for foreigners raised to RM1 million. The RM1 million threshold has yet to be gazetted though and expected to be in force only April / May. I think this will give some breathing space tot he market instead of everything happening all at once. Developers are also banned from offering Developer Interest Bearing Scheme. This is important because otherwise, the buyers can basically pay a small downpayment and nothing else till completion and sell their units as soon as it is completed.

Again, Penang was mentioned as the property market which remain strong especially with land reclamations on the island as well as developers starting to buy up lands in the mainland. I think another significant point would be the opening of the Second Bridge. If you have never ever considered staying in Batu Kawan before, you may change your mind if you find it quite easy to commute between Batu Kawan – Batu Maung after this.

HLIB however expects Johor (Iskandar) to take a somewhat longer time to recover. I do not really agree with this assessment because if this is true, I think the Iskandar property market may be on a longer term downtrend. This is because of the recent huge land acquisitions by the Chinese developer companies. I do not think any developer would want to hold the land for more than one year without doing anything to it. As for the buyers, do expect more Chinese from China snapping the units up and to be followed by Malaysians working in Singapore and Singaporean PRs who are finding it not just tough but near to impossible to buy secondary properties there.

I agree with their final conclusion, that the long-term outlook remains fundamentally unchanged and Malaysia’s property prices will continue their long-term upward trend. For a nation with such a huge % of its population yet to own a home and the developed nation’s ratio of 1 home to 3 persons or lower, it is not hard not to see the potential. However, on behalf of all Malaysians, I hope the price would only gradually increase and not the double digit growth for the past few years.

written on 19 jan 2014

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