Expert Series Q&A with Mr. Adrian Un on ‘Malaysia Property Investment’

Adrian Un first embarked on a sales journey in the mortgage financing industry at age 19. Having committed to a career spanning over 20 years in the industry, he has won numerous awards. More importantly, he has learned many strategies on mortgage leveraging which enabled him to make his millions through property investments. A graduate of business with the University of Technology Sydney, he has shared his passion in the industry with both local and foreign banks. Adrian has been a regular contributor of articles with The Edge, Personal Money, Property Buyer and a number of other publications. He is regularly invited to speak at major property events both locally and internationally including Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia. As the CEO of SkyBridge International, he now shares his property investment knowledge with many would be investors and is recognized by many as the “How To Guy” for property investment.

1)       If I am a Malaysian working in Singapore, should I buy Iskandar today or wait until the market direction is clearer? 

AS IT IS PROPERTIES IN MALAYSIA WILL KEEP INCREASING IN PRICES FOR SURE ESPECIALLY IN ISKANDAR WHEN MAJOR PURCHASES WERE FUELLED BY FOREIGNERS. IT’S A QUESTION OF THE MALAYSIAN PURPOSE OF BUYING AND HIS/HER HOLDING POWER IF BUYING FOR INVESTMENT. IF BUYING FOR OWN STAY (AT LEAST FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS), THEN AT PRESENT ANY PURCHASES WOULD BE GOOD. HOWEVER, IF THE OBJECTIVE IS FOR INVESTMENT/SPECULATIVE, THEN PERHAPS SHOULD CONSIDER AT LEAST TILL COMPLETION OF SOME OF THE UNITS WHICH WERE LAUNCH THE LAST FEW YEARS TO SEE IF FOREIGN INVESTORS WOULD “DUMP”THEIR UNITS AT DIRT CHEAP PRICES. THE STRESS TEST IN 1-2 YEARS TIME WOULD DETERMINE WHERE ISKANDAR PROPERTY MARKET BE HEADING. AS IT IS, THERE ARE AT LEAST 20,000-25,000 UNITS DUE FOR COMPLETION IN 2-3 YEARS TIME AND IT MAY NOT GO DOWN WELL ESPECIALLY THE RENTAL YIELD WILL BE COMPRESSED FURTHER

2)      Is it better to buy in Malaysia versus Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines? What would be the two key consideration I must consider before investing? 

MALAYSIAN PROPERTIES STILL BETTER OVERALL IF YOU COMPARE TO THESE COUNTRIES. FIRSTLY, TITLE CAN BE REGISTERED UNDER PURCHASERS NAME COMPARED TO THAILAND/INDONESIA WHERE OWNERSHIP IS IN THE FORM OF COMPANY WHERE THE LOCALS MUST HAVE BIGGER SHAREHOLDING. SECONDLY, YOU DON’T GET TO OWN FREEHOLD PROPERTIES WHERE INDONESIA/THAILAND/PHILIPINES NORMALLY ALLOW LEASEHOLD OF UP TO 30 YEARS ONLY. THIRDLY, OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS, MALAYSIAN PROPERTIES HAVE ENJOYED STEADY GROWTH IN VALUE AND IS LESS VOLATILE SO PURCHASERS CAN EXPECT STEADY VALUE APPRECIATION. ALSO OUR LAW IS BASED ON TORRENT SYSTEM WHERE LEGALITIES IN PROPERTY OWNERSHIP ARE CLEARLY SPELT OUT.

IF THERE’S 2 CONSIDERATION TO CHOOSE, BUY FROM REPUTABLE DEVELOPER AND CHOOSE RIGHT LOCATION

3)      There are predictions that the Malaysian property market prices would only start recovering in 2016. Some say Q2 and most recently, a prominent property guru said Q3 2014. What say you since you are on the ground all the time. 

PREDICTIONS REMAIN PREDICTIONS. I AM CONFUSED WHEN YOU SAID “MARKET PRICES WOULD ONLY START RECOVERING IN 2016” WE DIDN’T EXPERIENCE ANY PRICE CONTRACTION RECENTLY, DID WE ? AS IT IS, OUR PRICES IS ON THE UPTREND DUE TO PENT UP DEMAND FROM DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN. AS LONG AS OUR PROPERTY IS STILL INVESTOR FRIENDLY (ESPECIALLY TO FOREIGNERS), THE PRICES WOULD CONTINUE TO SPIRAL UPWARDS.

4)      Singapore’s cooling measures are said to be more effective to the extent that prices have already started falling. Should I get ready to buy Singapore instead of Malaysia? 

YES, 8 ROUNDS OF COOLING MEASURES DID PROVE TO BE A SHOWSTOPPER. HOWEVER, BEING A MALAYSIAN, NOW IS STILL NOT THE RIGHT TIME TO BUY SINGAPORE. THE BIGGEST ISSUE AFFECTING ALL MALAYSIANS ARE THE ABSD (ADDITIONAL BUYERS STAMP DUTY)  WHICH IS AROUND 18% UPFRONT. ITS JUST DOESN’T MAKE RINGGIT SENSE. ANYWAY, IF MALAYSIAN STILL INSIST ON BUYING IN SINGAPORE FOR OWN USE, AS LONG AS THE PSF IS AROUND SGD 1,300-1,400, NOTWITHSTANDING THE ABSD, THEN ITS STILL WORTH BUYING. LIKE I ALWAYS SAY, YOU BUY WHEN THE LOCALS BUY.

Next suggested article: Expert Series Q&A – Penang Property Secondary Market by Mr. Stephen Soon

Or read more about Iskandar: Expert Series Q&A – Property market of Iskandar, JB by Mr. Ryan Khoo

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