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Come invest in M'sia's booming property market, S'poreans invited

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans have been invited to invest in Malaysia's booming property market.

The invitation was extended at the "Invest in Malaysia, "Invest in Kuala Lumpur" forum held in the republic hosted by Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O), Malaysia's leading developer of prime urban properties.

The half-day forum at ION Sky, ION Orchard attracted over 100 participants eager to gain an insight into Malaysia's "red hot" property market.

Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) director Chris Tan delivered a keynote address on Malaysia's Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

In his speech, Tan provided vital information on Malaysia's strategic thrusts underlined in the ETP towards propelling Malaysia into an advanced nation.

Participants listened attentively as he spoke at length on specific plans drawn up by the government to grow its per capita gross national income (GNI) from US$6,700 (RM20033) to US$15,000 and to create 3.3 million jobs, both by 2020, which will in turn fuel real and sustainable demand in the property sector.

He said the issues important to Malaysians were creating a safe environment; promoting a vibrant economy; improving basic infrastructures; and putting in place a cohesive urban public transportation.

Other respected industry experts from Malaysia also tabled their research papers on several property-related issues at the forum.

Macquarie Capital Securities (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd head of strategy for Malaysia Yeonzon Yeow dwelled on investing in equities and properties in Malaysia.

Too Ji Voon, SKRINE advocator and solicitor, provided crucial information on regulatory framework for foreign property ownership and how recent amendments to the laws give property owners more protection.

In her firm's experience, she said, the authorities were facilitative towards foreigners buying properties in Malaysia, and applications are usually approved in about a month.

"This goes to show that foreign ownership and investment are welcomed in the nation," she said.

Christopher Boyd, executive chairman of CB Richard Ellis Malaysia, focused his presentation on the property outlook in Kuala Lumpur.

"Condominium living is relatively new to Kuala Lumpur and well-designed projects perform very well," he said.   

He said the take-up rate of condominiums for the first quarter of 2011 has been high, 65% to 88% in prime areas such as Mont' Kiara, Ampang Hilir, the CBD, KLCC, Bukit Tunku, U-Thant and Bangsar.

"The value of condos has been pretty stable since 2009 despite very sharp increase in land and construction costs.

"The value of landed housing however has increased strongly due to a temporary shortage of supply. Now, condominiums in the city centre are beginning to look cheap by comparison," he said.

Looking at properties worth RM500,000 and above, which foreigners are eligible to buy, Boyd said demand for such high-end condominiums was increasing, and prime projects in Kuala Lumpur have seen exceptional returns, with average gross rental yields of almost six%.

Eastern & Oriental Bhd executive chairman Eric Chan said a new trend however is in one-and two-bedroom apartments below 1,500 sq ft catering to young singles or couples or transiting professionals who visit Kuala Lumpur for business and do not feel the need to maintain large apartments.

"We are releasing the best value proposition of St Mary Residences today.

"When we launched our first tower, 80% was sold in a month, and in the second tower, regional buyers snapped up all units with a view of the Petronas Twin Towers.

"Now, we're releasing the units with the alternate city view but not the Twin Towers view, at a RM300 per square foot difference. That's enough to furnish your whole home, with spare change!" he quipped. — Bernama

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