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Property Investment and the decisions we can make or delay

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We have heard way too many news about foreigners buying so much of Iskandar that the locals are losing out. Is this true? Actually, this is TRUE, at least for some periods of time.  In a report by IRDA (Iskandar Regional Development Authority), in 2007, the foreign investment ratio was 45:55. In other words, foreigners did buy more than the locals. Recently, however that ratio has changed and is now in favour of local buyers, at 65:35. In other words, locals buyers are nearly twice as many as foreigners. This is however not because of foreign investors dropping but more of local investors waking up to the fact that investing in Iskandar may be a good thing after all.

When we look to the ground, this is true anywhere. Typically, locals would be the ones who thinks that any new concept just would not work. In Sungai Ara, Penang for example, nearly every pure Penangite whom I spoke to said negative things about Sungai Ara. However, they are positive for places like Tanjung Bungah (rich man’s area), Greenlane or Gelugor (most convenient) or even Farlim (everyone stays there at some point of time in their life). I do not want to say which area is best but to say Sungai Ara is NOT a good place? Well, that was then, perhaps 2007. Today, Sungai Ara is seen to be attractive even if the other ‘more original’ Penang places remain to be more popular and thus higher price psf. Until today, typical price psf for condos in Sungai Ara is still around RM500-Rm550 depending on size. This is no longer the case in many other preferred areas. Thus, you can see that typically, the buyers of Sungai Ara condos were mostly non-Penangites. People like my brother, my brother in-law, my childhood friend, my father’s friend’s son and many more. In fact, just on top of my head I already know at least 30 families within my project who are NON Penangites, when we first bought into Sungai Ara. Today, I think it is no longer true.

If we look at Ipoh, when The Haven first started and sold as Malaysia’s best value Luxury condo, I can safely say nearly every Ipohan said the project is doomed to fail. The first group of buyers? Foreigners and KLites. Today, the majority of the buyers of newly launched condos are Ipohans. Why are the locals slower? Actually, change is not something easily acceptable by locals. They have lived there forever. Been there, done that mindset. They also have their parents’s home to stay in. Thus, typically they are slower off the block compared to migrants. Developers would build because they have done some research and feel that the projects can sell, thus they launch. Bigger developers typically have groups of loyal buyers following them, thus after a while, when the locals wake up, they would realise that there’s opportunity which they have missed for a while but should not miss for the future.

End of last year, after looking through properties in Cheras (near Leisure Mall), Ampang, Damansara Mutiara, Petaling Jaya, Kelana Jaya, I decided to buy Damansara Damai. Huh? Damansara Damai? The area next to Sri Damansara and Sungai Buloh? WHY ARE YOU BUYING SO FAR AWAY. I am still asked on this until today. These days, I just say, oh, I like the condo. Then they say, it’s JAMMED. I smiled, you mean there are places in KL which are not jammed? Anyway, I have also changed my lifestyle a little, going to gym early morning and thus, I get healthier and skipped all the jams. The savings? Good enough for me to still be able to afford another small condo in Kepong for rental. 🙂

Hope everyone understands, if you have your own reasons after doing your own calculations based on the knowledge you have from research and your experience, please proceed to buy. It is true, it may not be the best decision you may ever make. However, truth is, no one has been able to make the best decisions every time or even most of the time. We just need to make a good decision, that’s important. Delaying, more analysing, asking more questions and getting more answers and more actions means you do not make any decision, both best, good or bad. Think about it, if majority are always right, why only the minority who’s doing the right investment decisions in every country in this world today. Oh yeah, only 6% of Australians in Australia actually owns an investment property, today.

written on 4 April 2014

Next suggested article: 40 years later – Malaysia property market in my personal view

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