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Housing bubble, housing cycle and affordable units ‘fight’ between the new and old

Is there a property bubble waiting to burst in the near future? According to MKH Bhd group managing director Tan Sri Eddy Chen Lok Loi, the answer is a No. His opinion based on property price movements from 1990 was published in an article in Click here for the full article.  He gave us a glimpse of the three bubble periods from 1990 – 2017. He shared that Bubble 1 was from 1990 1991 where prices rose rapidly from 4.1% in 1990 to 25.5% in 1991, and then drops drastically to 4.9% in 1993 within a three-year period. This reflects the bubble characteristics where there is a sharp upsurge and rapid fall of house price within a short period of time. This movement in property price was repeated in Bubble 2 which was from 1995 – 1996. Bubble 3 started from 1.5% in 2009 and it reached a peak of 13.4% in 2012 and this moderately decreases to 6.5% in 2017.
What happened in Bubble 3 was that house prices moderated and this was mainly driven by the cooling measures introduced by the government to curb speculation in the property market. This includes the following:
(i) interest rate hikes
(ii) abolishment of Developer Interest Bearing Scheme (DIBS)
(iii) raised real property gains tax;
(iv) minimum property purchase price for foreign investors;
(v) maximum 70% loan-to-value for third residential mortgage loan onwards;
(vi) 10-year limit on cash out mortgage refinancing; and
(vii) increase in transparency of property sales price.

Due to these cooling measures, there is no threat of an impending bubble in the immediate future. Nevertheless, house prices are unlikely to decrease because of demand from the expanding adult population (Our Median Age is only 29), the increase in housing quality as well as construction costs and land prices. In the article, Chen also shared that affordable housing has been actively built for the past few years but these homes were not sold because the prices were above the affordable price tag as estimated by Bank Negara Malaysia (RM282,000), or located far away from the urban area that is lacking local amenities, infrastructure network, employment opportunities, educational facilities etc, causing inconveniences to the people. Due to this, the unsold units in the country have risen. He shared that due to the fast-growing pace of affordable housing production, it will potentially inflate the already crowded affordable housing market segment. This will then lead to market cannibalisation between new supplies and the existing stocks. Here’s that article in for reference. 
Property prices will only rise as long as working Malaysians continue to be able to afford to pay for them. Whether there are more supply or lesser supply, if it gets too expensive, the buying stops. This is the reason why measures undertaken by our Bank Negara Malaysia with the government is not called ‘price reduction’ measures but it’s called cooling measures. Basically, they want prices to stop rising too fast and give time and space for income to start catching up. I think the unsold units which are still in the market will start to face more pressure when newer affordable units are launched. Price is an issue, this is why new launches are targeting the price sensitive potential buyers. Sometimes, the density may also be much higher to push the prices down too. Happy looking for a property you like.
written on 31 Aug 2018
Next suggested article:  No, houses cannot suddenly lose a lot of their value 

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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