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The importance of research is rising as more Malaysians look at property as an investment alternative

September 1st, 2012 1 comment

THE property market is highly volatile and thrives on speculation.

Although Malaysia is considered a fairly stable market with steady appreciation in value, unlike other places around the globe, it is important for Malaysians to understand when and where they should invest their money.

It was reported last year that the local property market would see moderate growth in 2012 due to a gloomy economic outlook.

However, as we approach the final quarter of the year, the property market seems robust, with more developments being launched and take up rates for new developments averaging above 50% despite volatile economic conditions in the West.

Recently, a property developer informed MetroBiz that most of their condominium units were bought as an investment as many expect that the area to appreciate it value.

“They can always rent it out to cover their monthly installments and after several years, the value of the property will have gone up by at least 30% given its location,” said the developer.

But if that’s the case, why are there so many vacant condominiums in Mont Kiara, Bukit Ceylon and other upscale property developments? MetroBiz takes a closer look at the property sector, a playing field has created so many millionaires and, perhaps, an equal number of bankrupts.

 

How many times have we heard at the coffee shop that a new property is being launched and that we should buy it immediately because property prices in Malaysia always appreciate. It is not uncommon to hear the phrase, “You will never lose.”

Property guru and investment specialist Marco Robinson calls this speculative buying.

“Most Malaysians invest their money in property based on speculation without seeing the bigger picture.

“Eventually they will not have a positive cash flow from their investment and after a few years they end up selling the property to balance the books or even worse, having the bank take back the property,” he said.

The author of Know When To Close The Deal and Suddenly Grow Rich and a proud member of the billionaire boys club for achieving over US$1bil (RM3.1bil) in sales, Robinson said Malaysians need to invest in educating their minds before investing in anything.

“Many fail to realise that the recession we had is part of an 80-year cycle and we are still in it. Look at Europe, for example. Almost every week we hear countries like Italy, Portugal, and Greece, among others expecting, bailouts.

“And in the US, markets are still crashing and will crash further after the presidential elections are concluded,” he stressed.

Robinson further adds that the global economic outlook for next year will be far worse than predicted and for the first time in history, we could face a triple dip recession.

“Malaysians who are serious about property investments should look into markets such as the US where house prices have dropped tremendously,” said Robinson. “These markets can offer good rent yields and, once the economy bounces back within a few years, the value of the property will appreciate,” he added.

Robinson cited the Hilton family that invested during the 1920s and 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression.

“From my experience, Malaysia is one of the toughest markets to collect rent,” said Robinson, when asked about the risk involved with property purchases overseas.

According to Robinson, Malaysia should not be classified as an emerging market and should be reclassified as a semi-developed nation due to its nature as a “slow-burning” market.

“In Malaysia, although property prices are expected to appreciate, it takes a very long time. Right now, property prices are too high in Malaysia and it does not make cash-flow sense as you need to service your mortgage which is not covered by rent yield returns,” he explained.

Also, property transactions in Malaysia take at least six months to finalise, while in the UK it only takes three days. “In that six months, anything could happen and you may lose out,” said Robinson.

According to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle, a financial and professional services firm specialising in real estate services and investment management, the second quarter of 2012 marks a return to investment transactions above the psychologically important US$100 billion mark and, at US$108 billion, volumes are up 24% quarter-on-quarter globally.

The report further stated: “The rental outlook for 2012 has been tempered by ongoing economic uncertainty, although we continue to expect positive rental growth in many major prime office markets — the notable exceptions being Hong Kong and Singapore.

We still remain particularly bullish about rental growth in Beijing and San Francisco (+20% to 25%) and we have upgraded our projections for Mexico City (+15% to 20%) as supply conditions tighten.”

Closer to home, it was reported that Budget 2013 will see more measures to control the soaring prices of property, including tighter fiscal policies to curb speculation.

With 58% of households in the cities earned less than RM4,000 a month including 44.5% earning less than RM2,500, the government is expected to allocate more affordable housing projects such as the People’s Housing Project (PPR) and the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Project in the coming Budget.

Local industry experts such as Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah is confident that Malaysia will not be experiencing any such property bubble.

It pays to do your homework before you take the big step into property investment. A sound strategy can pay off even with uncertainties around interest rates and volatile market conditions.

You can reap rewards if you choose the right property as the shortage of rental properties, combined with rising prices in most markets across the globe but be sure keep a close eye on your investment.

MetroBiz is not liable for any purchases made based on the information above. Please do your own research before investing.

Source: The Star

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Free shuttle service to spread its wings

August 30th, 2012 No comments

BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Penang government’s free ‘Park & Ride’ shuttle service will be extended to cover Bandar Perda in Bukit Mertajam and Highway Auto City in Juru effective Sept 3.

State local government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said two new

feeder hubs, with free car parking, would be open next to the state Inland Revenue Board (IRB) office

in Bandar Perda and next to the Concept Hall in Auto City.

He said the move was an extension to the state’s pilot Bridge Express Shuttle Transit (Best) which provided free shuttle services between Sunway Carnival Mall Seberang Jaya and the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Area since March last year.

He said four Rapid Penang buses would ply on 20-minute intervals from 6.10am to 8.10am and from 4.30pm to 6.50pm, from Monday to Friday, between the two new feeder hubs and existing bus stops on both sides of the Penang Bridge toll plaza in Prai.

“Commuters can ride on these free feeder buses and hop on any of the Best A, Best B or Best C buses near the Penang Bridge toll plaza to get across to the island,” Chow told reporters during a trial run of the feeder bus service in Highway Auto City, Juru, yesterday.

He said the Best buses, which recorded an average of 800 passengers daily, was introduced to ease the burden of factory employees travelling to work daily from the mainland to the island.

He said the Best buses would stop at Queensbay Mall from Sept 3, adding that commuters could get down there to take a local bus to Komtar or other destinations on the island.

Chow said anyone can use the new feeder services and Best service as they were not only restricted to factory employees.

“We want the public to also enjoy the state’s free shuttle service between the mainland and island.

“Apart from an average of RM160,000 spent monthly on the 16 Best buses, the state will spend another RM24,800 per month for the additional four buses,” he said.

The Penang Municipal Council also runs a free shuttle service with three buses plying an 8km route between the Raja Tun Uda ferry terminal and Komtar on the island from 6am to midnight daily using Rapid Penang buses.

For details on the Best timetables and feeder bus timetables, contact Rapid Penang at 04-2381313 or visit its website at www.rapidpg.com.my.

Source: The Star

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Budget to ensure prices of property remain affordable

August 30th, 2012 No comments

PETALING JAYA: Budget 2013 will see more measures to control the soaring prices of property, including tighter fiscal policies to curb speculation.

Housing and Local Government Minister Da­tuk Seri Chor Chee Heung said most Ma­­­laysians felt today’s property prices were “far too high” and wanted the Government to see to this.

“When the Prime Minister launched the on­­­­line Budget 2013 interactive platform to gather feedback from the rakyat, he received almost 3,000 suggestions to control house prices,” Chor said at the 15th National Housing and Property Summit.

“To overcome this, and ensure the sustainability of this sector, there is a strong need for better Government policies to ensure reasonable and affordable property prices in the country,” he said.

Chor said last year’s Budget had in it measures to curb speculative activities within the property market such as the review of the real property gains tax and the implementation of a maximum loan-to-value ratio of 70% for third properties.

“However, these measures failed to be fruitful and in moving forward, the Government won’t hesitate to tighten the fiscal policies to curb property speculation and ensure reasonable and affordable property prices.”

Quoting the Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey Report 2009, Chor said 58% of households in the cities earned less than RM4,000 per month including 44.5% earning less than RM2,500.

Chor said the Government was expected to allocate more affordable housing projects such as the People’s Housing Project (PPR) and the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Project in the coming Budget.

He added that the maximum household income of RM2,500 eligibility for PPR houses might be too low nowadays.

“Perhaps the maximum eligible household income for PPR houses can be increased to RM3,000,” he said.

Source: The Star

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No property bubble in M’sia; Sunway chairman says local prices affordable

August 30th, 2012 No comments

The local property industry continues to face many obstacles despite signs of steady economic growth, which was announced recently for the second quarter and the first-half, underpinned among other factors by a jump in construction activity as well as healthy consumption.

Among the challenges the industry faces, according to Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah, is the market perception that the industry is heading towards a property bubble, which is not backed by reasonable evidence.

“As a developer I’m convinced as of now that we shall not be experiencing any such property bubble, as our property prices are still affordable compared with some of our neighbouring cities in the region,” Cheah, also Sunway Bhd chairman, said at an address during the launch of the 15th National Housing and Property Summit.

He cited Bank Negara’s second-quarter gross domestic product data which indicated a 5.4% year-on-year growth despite external challenges as signs that private consumption remained steady. Central bank data showed the construction sector, which includes housing and civil infrastructure activity, surging 22%.

Cheah said it was also untrue that property prices were being driven up due to foreigners’ purchases in the country as transactions by foreigners had historically hovered at 3% compared with 20% in Singapore.

He added that 54% of total residential transactions in 2011 were below the RM150,000 range.

Cheah said the other challenge the industry faced was the lack of skilled workers, which caused delays in the completion of projects. He said it was important for the Construction Industry Development Board to continue engaging with both industry players and non-governmental organisations to address this issue in order to improve the quality of finished projects.

Cheah said there needed to be combined efforts by the Govern-ment and industry players to address these issues as well as come up with strategies to overcome them.

He urged the Government not to take “too drastic measures” to cool the property market as this “can kill market sentiment and slow supply of housing further.”

“The Government should not in-crease the real property gains tax. I also hope it will not further restrict lending to the property sector or introduce new measures that will make it more difficult for house buyers to purchase properties,” Cheah said.

He also stressed the sustainability of the industry, which would be important to ensure continued buoyant economic growth and resilience.

Meanwhile, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung said new fiscal policies might be introduced in Budget 2013, as current measures taken to control house prices had not been very effective.

Despite the Government’s measures to curb the rise in house prices, such as the increase in RPGT and a restriction on loan-to-value ratios on third properties and above, there were feelings that the Government has not done enough.

“I will be recommending a review of fiscal policies in the next budget,” Chor said.

Cheah’s remarks on the property bubble continue to divide analysts who closely follow the industry with Kenanga Investment Bank research head Chan Ken Yew pointing out that a bubble might exist to a certain extant as prices continued to be above what younger workers were able to afford.

“This is because their salary can’t catch up with the current house prices. This problem is not only evident in Malaysia but also in Hong Kong and Singapore,” he said.

Increasing the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) withdrawal rate to be utilised for the down payment of a member’s first home could solve this problem, he added. Currently, the EPF allows for a 30% withdrawal from Account 2. “If the Government allows for a 50% withdrawal, this would help to lower the burden,” he said.

Source: The Star

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IJM Land targets higher property sales in FY13

August 28th, 2012 No comments

IJM Land Bhd looks forward to another year of growth due to the strong demand for properties in the country.

Group chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon said that for the current financial year ending March 31, 2013 (FY13), the group aimed to “do better than FY12 sales performance of RM1.35bil.”

The group is aiming to launch about RM2bil worth of properties in FY13. “We have unbilled sales of RM1.2bil. Based on this, we should churn out quite a strong performance this year,” Soam said after the group’s AGM.

He said IJM Land had seen strong sales in its projects in the last few months.

“For example, our Seri Riana Residences condominium in Wangsa Maju – we have launched two blocks. For Block A, we have close to 90% take-up rate and for Block B, we have 65%. Two weeks ago, we launched more than 190 units of shop offices in Seremban 2. All the non-bumiputra units were taken up on the same day.”

Soam said the group remained optimistic about the Malaysian property market “given the right product and location”.

“In Wangsa Maju, we are selling at RM500 to RM550 per sq ft with absolute values of RM600,000 to RM700,000. There is still very strong demand.”

The group has an undeveloped land bank of 4,800 acres with a gross development value of RM23bil.

Soam said the group’s major upcoming property launches included Bandar Rimbayu in Selangor and new phases of The Light waterfront project in Penang.

“We are planning for RM350mil of launches in Bandar Rimbayu, where we have 6,000 registrants for phase one consisting of more than 500 houses.”

He said in Penang, the group planned to launch two residential parcels – The Light Collection Three and Four.

“There will also be RM120mil of launches in the Southern Region and RM200mil in Sarawak and Sabah.”

Source: The Star

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