Promote Malaysia before promoting projects, developers told

PETALING JAYA (May 1): Property developers who want to sell their products to foreigners should join in efforts to promote the country first and foremost before promoting their own individual projects, said Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda) president Datuk Soam Heng Choon.

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“If people don’t know your country, your state, culture, politics, they will not come, and the cost of promotion would be high,” he pointed out when speaking at Facebook LIVE Fireside Chat entitled ‘The Malaysian property market picked up in 2019! Could this be its last hurrah?’ today.

Joining the discussion were Rehda vice president and Selangor Branch Chairman Zulkifly Garib and Rehda Johor Branch Chairman Datuk Steve Chong Yoon On. The online session was moderated by EdgeProp Malaysia managing director and editor-in-chief Au Foong Yee.

Soam suggested that interested developers could form a loose coalition with ministries such as the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia and Ministry of Housing and Local Government, as well as perhaps Rehda in coming up with promotional efforts. 

Soam said Rehda has also urged the government to lower the minimum property price threshold to RM500,000 for foreigners to buy properties in Malaysia, applicable for completed projects, high rises and specific locations.

In October 2019, the government had announced through Malaysia Budget 2020 that the threshold for foreign property ownership will be lowered from RM1 million to RM600,000 in 2020 for condominiums and apartments in urban areas.

He noted that foreign ownership of local properties is currently lower than 3%. “Foreigners are not taking the affordable units that the locals want to buy, so why not open up more properties to them?” he said, adding that there is a good opportunity for them to buy now with the Malaysian Ringgit weaker than before against major currencies.

Chong from Rehda Johor weighed in pointing out that properties in Johor (pictured) would eventually attract more Singaporeans. “The push factor is that the cost of living in Singapore is getting higher, whereas the pull factor would be our similar culture and lifestyle, as well as the lower cost of living,” he said.

Chong categorised buyers into four main types based on their purpose of buying: for self consumption; for investment return; for representation of social status and wealth; and others such as education, medical, retirement plan and the Malaysia My Second Home Scheme.

“Property buying for self-consumption has sustained, but for investment, it has slowed down. The third and fourth categories too did not see much activity,” he said.

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For the full report on the virtual Fireside Chat read the May 8, 2020 issue of pullout.

Interested to know more about what’s happening in the property market? Click and watch our previous Fireside Chats:

- “Will Malls Be Empty In The New Normal?”

- "Will the Malaysian property sector survive this mother of all crises?" 

- “Undervalued Properties: Opportunities or Risk?”

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