MIER, The ‘cooling phase’ and the right price and right attitude

In a report in The Star (24th July 2014), it was reported that Malaysia’s residential property segment has entered a ‘cooling phase’ in the first two quarters and will continue to be ‘moderate’ for the third quarter according to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER).  The main reason was because of the macro-prudential measures by the government since 2010. (In easier to understand words, this meant mass scale cooling measures). For example, the RPGT, the BNM’s stricter lending guidelines, the removal of DIBS and the increase of floor price for the foreign purchase of properties to RM1 million.

According to MIER, the total stocks on hand as reported by the developers are at a three year high. Nevertheless, there were no pressure of prices falling as the developers were maintaining their prices at current levels and there is a possibility that prices would escalate again in the months ahead. The reason is due to GST as well as the higher input costs after that. It was also reported that the double storey houses continue to be the most popular. Affordability remain a thorny issue as property prices is increasing at a faster rate than income growth and the interest rate edging up.

Actually, as long as you have been reading many of the reports in the many medias on property, you would already note that the market is still in a slow phase since 2013 till current. This is not just in Malaysia but in many other countries which has risen higher than Malaysia. For example, China’s secondary cities or even Singapore where the prices has even been falling since beginning of 2014 even if it’s marginally currently. In terms of RPGT, I remain steadfast in my view that this is not likely to be a main deterrent because this is based on the actual profit that you gain from selling the property and not based on the property price. Since most of the buyers have huge profits, if they so choose, they can sell and just take the balance of the profit after RPGT. This has not been the case currently though. I think majority of the buyers have good holding power.

I do not agree that DIBS removal should be for the whole market. It should not be taken away from first time buyers. Of course, it is not easy to implement this selective removal but I think this is possible and should be considered. Always remember, first time buyers are never the ones who cause risk to the building up of bubble. The risks are always due to buyers who overstretched themselves in trying to flip properties. As for prices escalating, GST should also not be a major reason for it. GST would most probably cause a one time increase of a few % and that’s all.

Lastly, for the market to continue its climb in terms of transactions, property developers must be willing to cut some of their margins and get these buyers who are still waiting but just could not bring themselves to buy many of the overpriced new launchings. (Hey, there is one developer who arrogantly told me they have no problems in selling their slightly over 100 units over 1.5 years ago. This same developer is today (26th July) using FACEBOOK marketing to sell their….. unsold units)  In the first place, do the right marketing, sell at a lower margin and these would not happen. Why be greedy, why act arrogantly? Oh dear.

written on 26 July 2014

Next suggested article:   Affordability Availability: Penang Properties (Island).

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