Penang’s increasing population equals long term demand

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According to Affin Hwang Capital Research, the property market of Penang will continue to be supported by the many major projects driven by public-private partnerships (PPPs). Some of them include the RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) as well as a proposal for a RM11.3 billion business process outsourcing centre and an international technology park by Penang Development Corp (PDC) and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings. besides these PPPs, there are also property developers with huge mixed developments within Penang with total gross development value of up to RM60 billion! They include Eastern & Oriental, Eco World Development and Ewein Bhd.

Seems impressive and the numbers are huge but truth is, none of these have started. It should be soon and the two that I would be awaiting with interest would be the PPPs. These would be a catalyst for many more things to come. Without them, then it would be just the usual mixed developments which will find it harder to get even more buyers, especially if they are trying to sell ever higher prices in the areas which are considered hotspots such as Tanjung Tokong or Bayan Baru. Let’s be really savvy and understand that catalysts would take some time to happen and that’s why it should happen first before anyone starts buying, believing that whatever has been announced will happen. Yes, I rate this as the same as buying where new MRT stations are and thinking that buyers would buy them in future. Problem is, the current buyers are already paying a premium for these new launches near MRTs and they expect future buyers to pay premiums on top of their premiums to buy that property from them. Hmm…..

The research house also mentioned that Hewlett Packard chose Penang instead of Iskandar because the Penang government managed to convince them. Please understand that no MNCs would choose a state just because the state government tells / convinces them to. Not even investment friendly government policies. The reason is because these policies can be the friendliest in the states without much infrastructure to support these MNCs. If I am a new manufacturing company, I would choose Penang because of the availability of a skilled workforce. Penang is the hub for many world class research and manufacturing facilities since the days when Bayan Lepas Industrial Parks started. It may also be the logistics advantage, with airport and ports and even the train services, connecting Penang to the world. I am sure more would choose Penang. So, let’s wait for the next one.

One thing is for sure though, Penang is growing. When I first moved to Penang after my degree, Penang had just 1.2 million population. When I moved out of Penang, its population has already reached 1.7 million. With such a huge population, it meant that much of the growth were due to urbanisation. People moving to Penang for work and business opportunities. These would continue to fan the demands for more housing, as long as it remains affordable. Even though there has been many reports saying that Penang’s properties are way too expensive, I personally do not think so yet. Choices are still aplenty, the only issue is, are they at locations that these Penangites wanted. Just look at the second bridge today. There are hardly any cars. Batu Kawan is definitely not going to be a sudden sensation until 2018 at least. One major catalyst is supposed to be a new IKEA store.

Seriously though, let’s keep out focus on all the new catalysts that will keep the growth continuous. Give pressure to developers who try to tell the world that their projects are luxurious simply because you can see the sea and thus it has to be priced higher. Build good ones at affordable prices, buyers would come and profits will rise. Otherwise, be prepared to keep selling hard because the buyers today are much more well informed than those of yesterday. Comparisons can already be done easily. Distances and durations can even be calculated online! Happy loving Penang. I know I would too as I still have properties there.

written on 21 July 2015

Next suggested article: Penang: prices up 8.6%, income up 5.4%


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