Malaysia property market too small to attract investors - REHDA

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian property market is too small and too cheap to attract foreign investors, said N K Tong, the branch chairman of Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association of Malaysia (REHDA) Wilayah Persekutuan (KL) branch.

Based on a survey conducted by REHDA, 133 property developers in Peninsular Malaysia reported a decrease in foreign investors in 1H 2010 from 2H 2009.

“Looking at the region, foreign property investors would rather buy into Hong Kong and Singapore as the markets there are bigger and have more liquidity. With liquidity comes that speculative element and volatile price changes,” explained Tong during a media briefing on property updates for 1H 2010 on Monday, Aug 9.

Capital appreciation of property in Malaysia is also lower compared with these two countries, said Datuk Michael Yam, president of REHDA.

“In Hong Kong or Singapore, you can buy a property for RM10 million and next year it can appreciate to RM13 million. That is our problem here, we do not have a market that appreciates tremendously,” said Yam.

To REHDA national council member Anthony Cho, the other issue is the government’s penchant for constantly changing policies.

“Taking the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme as an example, the rules and regulations today is almost a 180-degree turn from what they were four years ago. If the government is really interested to bring in more foreign investors, they need to have consistent policies,” argued Cho.

Marketing efforts overseas also needs to be stepped up where a good property investment proposition is needed, added Yam. He noted that efforts are being made by the government to improve the ease of doing business in Malaysia to welcome foreign investors.

“The state of the current housing industry as a whole needs continued government support and accommodative policies to push it forward,” concluded Yam.
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