indepth

Has the market bottomed out, finally?

It has been two weeks since the property sale gallery reopened on Sept 1. Janet, a sale representative of one of the township developments in Rawang, has been busy scheduling viewing appointments for her clients who have been longing to see the show unit and to have a short tour to look at the overall environment.

Under the standard operating procedures of the company, each sale representative could only schedule three appointments a day and the sale gallery could only serve 18 appointments in one day.

Despite the limitations, Janet still feels relieved as she can finally meet up with the potential clients who are eager to upsize their abodes.

“Many clients are interested in our landed home projects. They have been sending enquiries to me and viewing the units virtually through walk-through videos (during the lockdown period). But still, it’s hard to close the deal without actual viewing and they personally getting a feel of the surrounding environment,” says the sale representative who only wants to be known as Janet.

Since the opening of the sale gallery, she reveals that some buyers have placed their bookings while some are going to visit other sale galleries before making a buying decision.

“Two clients have placed their bookings while some clients are still considering. Although the sales are slow moving, the interest is coming back,” Janet enthuses, adding that the government’s latest announcement on the Klang Valley entering Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan has signalled that the market will eventually open up.

Investors seeking good bargains

After many rounds of uneventful expectations of improving market sentiments, is this time for real?

For one, property consultants and realtors are seeing strong buying interest not only in the primary market, but also the secondary market.

Deputy regional operating principal of Keller Williams Malaysia (KW Malaysia), Jonathan Lee, tells EdgeProp.my that secondary market activities have been vibrant during pandemic times as the majority of cash-rich investors are looking at opportunities in accumulating quality assets.

Some property owners who have been affected by the pandemic have been letting go of their properties to raise cash, so this is the right time for the investors as they have more bargaining power now, he adds.

“When viewing activities are allowed early this month, we (KW Malaysia) have received over 100 property viewing appointments, and 90% of them were looking at secondary properties,” he says, adding that although the sales conversion rate is still too early to tell, the overwhelming response from the market has shown that people are interested in buying properties.

Minister of Finance Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, on Sept 9, said the Malaysian economy is now on the path to recovery, followed by the reopening of more economic sectors, including property and construction industries.

The former banker expects the country’s economy to record better growth in 2022, driven by spiking demand externally and a ramp-up in commodity productions as well as the kick-off of large-scale infrastructure projects to accelerate the growth.

The country’s economic recovery is intertwined with the government’s efforts in managing the Covid-19 pandemic and much will hinge on the speed of the vaccination programme, how intensive care unit (ICU) utilisation progresses as well as the emergence of newer variants of the virus.

According to him, Malaysia is currently one of the fastest nations in administering the vaccines, where it has reached more than 400,000 daily. As at Sept 15, 92.5% of Malaysia’s adult population have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, with 76.2% of the adult population fully inoculated.

Herd immunity fuels the growth

Nawawi Tie Leung managing director Eddy Wong shares the same view, noting that the buying interest is returning and will gather momentum with improved market sentiment.

“As the vaccination rate increases and the economy gradually reopens, market sentiment is expected to improve. In terms of timing, this is probably the best time to buy a property due to the reasonable prices, low interest rate and the various incentives offered by developers and the government.

“Having been in lockdown mode for a large part of the past two years, consumer spending is expected to rebound once the economy opens up, and this will include big ticket items such as cars and homes,” Wong tells EdgeProp.my.

The prolonged lockdown also led developers to rethink their strategies in marketing and product offerings. A majority of them have pivoted their plans to affordable segments that suit buyers’ budgets, says Zerin Properties founder and group chief executive officer Previndran Singhe.

He observes that while sale galleries were closed and no events could be held during movement control order (MCO) periods, developers have been going digital to reach out to wider audiences, and these efforts have driven the market to be more vibrant. In fact, many buyers are actually thinking of rightsizing or acquiring their first properties.

Virtual shopping the new normal

Online shopping has become a norm with the Covid-19 pandemic putting a thrust into digitalisation. More and more of those once hesitant to go online with their buying needs have since been converted with the prolonged lockdowns and physical distancing practice.

Buying something as trivial as a bottle of soya sauce or a pack of clothes pegs online no longer raises eyebrows these days. On the other end of the spectrum, shopping for a property online has also become pretty normal.

To further facilitate this buying trend, EdgeProp Malaysia’s Virtual Property Expo 2021 (VPEX 2021) aims to connect developers and buyers through the online platform.

The virtual expo this year will be featuring eight projects that cater to all buyers’ needs, from residential to industrial.

The participating projects include Setia Sky Seputeh in Kuala Lumpur, Melodia 2 in Setia Alam Impian, Selangor, and Flora Rosa condominium, Aura Residence, Duta Villa and Augusta homes in Putrajaya.

Outside the Klang Valley, there are Clover @ Resort Residence 1 in Bandar Sri Sendayan township, Seremban, and i-Park @ Senai Airport City, Johor.

Other than viewing the projects online, buyers could also interact with the marketing representatives from the developers to get more details.

What’s more? There are exclusive offers during VPEX 2021 period, starting from Sept 17 till Oct 15, 2021, with more details to be unveiled soon. Stay tuned with us for more details. (Click here to VPEX 2021)

Property insights on FB live

More than just showcasing properties for sale, VPEX 2021 is also a platform to discuss real estate matters and issues that could provide more market-related information to help buyers make the right decisions.

Throughout the expo period, a series of Facebook Live webinars will be held every Tuesday, 8.30pm, from Sept 21 till Oct 12, 2021, where EdgeProp Malaysia will round up key industry stakeholders, such as captains of industry and property investors to share their insights.

The first webinar, to be held on Sept 21, titled “Too little, too late?” will deep dive into the reviewed Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme policies and their impact on Malaysia.

Log in to stay updated on current property market directions.

Wanted: properties that attract tenants

Kith and Kin Realty co-founder Freeman Woo notes that developments in good locations, regardless of primary or secondary properties, are gaining market interest.

For instance, the Mid Valley City in the new Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur is a hot spot. Just next to it is Taman Seputeh, where Setia Sky Seputeh sits.

Developed by S P Setia, the 4.4-acre freehold condominium offers units with copious layouts that range from 2,303 sq ft to 3,025 sq ft. (Click here to view Setia Sky Seputeh.)

Woo says there is a strong buying interest for properties that come with tenants. “Many buyers are enquiring on units in prime locations that already have tenants staying there. In fact, the team and I have problems in looking for these units as most owners are not letting go,” Woo says.

Hence, if a new development has the potential to attract tenants, hinged on good designs, strategic locations and proximity to various amenities, it will definitely capture the attention of this group of buyers.

Benefits of buying now

Woo adds that with lots of choices available now, coupled with appealing marketing packages offered by developers, young city dwellers who are currently renting might be considering buying, especially with the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) offers and favourable interest rates.

Nawawi Tie Leung’s Wong notes that the government stimulus packages such as the HOC with the waiver of stamp duty extended to Dec 31, 2021, real property gains tax exemption for the disposal of residential homes until Dec 31, 2021, and the lifting of the 70% margin of financing limit for the third housing loan for properties of RM600,000 and above, have helped to generate some interest in the market.

“Those who are looking to upgrade or invest have plenty of opportunities. Developers participating in the HOC are offering discounts and rebates, which, together with the stamp duty waivers, are very good opportunities for homeseekers to pick up good buys.

“In the secondary market, motivated sellers affected by the pandemic are asking for very reasonable prices, which again present good opportunities for those looking to buy completed properties. The low interest rate is an added bonus for property buyers taking a mortgage during this period,” Wong notes.

While landed housing is still preferred over high-rise homes, affordability remains key.

“Due to the pandemic, homebuyers are now more willing to consider a less central location if they can buy a more spacious property (for the same price) in view of a lesser need to commute as a result of the work-from-home shift,” he highlights.

Riding on this trend, S P Setia has developed Melodia 2, a series of two-storey terraced homes located in Setia Alam Impian township, Selangor. (Click here to view Melodia 2) With a gross development value of RM55.23 million, this serene enclave is just a 10-minute drive away from the Shah Alam town centre.

Meanwhile, just outside KL, properties in Putrajaya – the administrative capital and the judicial capital of Malaysia – are also gaining interest. The master developer, Putrajaya Holdings Bhd, has introduced four projects to cater to the market needs.

These are Flora Rosa condominium, Aura Residence (high-rise residential), as well as landed projects Duta Villa and Augusta homes. (Click here to view the projects.)

Klang Valley buyers looking south

As more organisations adapt into the hybrid working model between home and office and less commuting is needed, more people are also looking at homes beyond the city centre.

Nawawi Tie Leung’s Wong says that Seremban, the state capital of Negeri Sembilan has been growing, not just organically but also fuelled by Klang Valley buyers looking for more affordable landed housing located within an hour’s drive from the country’s central economic nexus.

“Bandar Sri Sendayan, a 6,272-acre township in Seremban may well be one of the beneficiaries of the shift in buyers’ preferences for larger, more spacious homes due to the reduced need to commute with more people working from home,” says Wong.

Previndran shares the same sentiment and observes that Seremban is gaining growing interest from the Klang Valley homebuyers.

Well-designed resort-style landed homes like the Clover @ Resort Residence in the Bandar Sri Sendayan township in Seremban are attracting both locals and the Klang Valley buyers.

Developed by Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd, Clover @ Resort Residence is a collection of double-storey linked homes nestled in the flourishing Bandar Sri Sendayan township. The 30-acre enclave comprises 366 double-storey linked houses. (Click here to Clover @ Resort Residence.)

Industrial properties shining

Other than residential properties, industrial properties have been a bright spot in a property market that has been largely affected by the structural changes caused by the pandemic.

“It is expected to remain vibrant due to the growth of e-commerce and the corresponding increase in demand for warehousing and logistics space to support [the surge in] online order fulfilment,’’ says Nawawi Tie Leung’s Wong.

Industrial properties which are located close to transportation hubs will definitely attract investors and business owners. For instance, i-Park @ Senai Airport City is strategically located in the Iskandar area in the city of Senai, Johor. It is easily accessible via major highways, including Skudai Highway, North-South Expressway, Eastern Dispersal Link, Senai-Desaru Expressway, and Second Link Expressway.

Developed by AME Elite Consortium Bhd, the 189-acre i-Park @ Senai Airport City has been conceptualised to combine industrial activities, business operations, and lifestyle amenities in a fully-integrated hub. (Click here to i-Park @ Senai Airport City.)

With vibrant digitalisation growth, industrial properties look poised to be a sure beneficiary.

This story first appeared in the EdgeProp.my E-weekly on Sept 17, 2021. You can access back issues here.

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