S'pore interest in M'sian properties more than doubled

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 11): The Malaysia Property Showcase (MPS) in Singapore organised by PropertyGuru Group over the weekend there saw an overwhelming turnout of 2,127 visitors — 230% more than in February this year.

In terms of sales transactions, the event garnered RM20.3 million with 18 properties sold.

"I believe there will be more sales coming in over the week," Joel Lee, PropertyGuru Group's regional head of events told over a phone interview.

The showcase also attracted more participating developers from Malaysia. The number rose to nine from six in February.

The nine developers featured were Andaman, UEM Land, Plentitude, Sime Darby, MRCB, The Haven, Denia Developments, Pulai Springs and Tanahsutera.

The number of projects showcased at this MPS doubled at 15 projects, compared to the last two exhibitions held.

Demand for Malaysian residential properties by Singaporeans is growing due to its relatively cheap cost, close proximity to Singapore and the current close bilateral ties between the neighbouring countries, according to PropertyGuru.

Prices of similar properties in Malaysia are about five to six times lower than in Singapore, according to the 2011 Wealth Report, with one Singapore dollar fetching about RM2.50.

Lee of PropertyGuru said that Singaporean interest in the Malaysian property market will grow in time. "It could be a mix of both long-term investments and short-term ones for those seeking rental gains," he said.

In fact, many visitors showed special interest in properties located in Johor Bahru (JB). JB has gained momentum due to the growth potential of Iskandar Malaysia in the south.

According to the Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Iskandar Malaysia has attracted RM32.94 billion worth of investments to the property sector.

"JB and KL will continue to be very hot places that draw buyers," Lee commented.

Penang is an area that Singaporeans traditionally like to own property in, and Lee believes this trend will persist.

While central areas like Penang and KL remain attractive, they are not particularly cheap. "So people start to look for cheaper alternatives like Ipoh, Perak and Malacca," said Lee.

For instance, Perak is a state with a lot of available land in which Lee said property developers may start moving into as there has been inquiries to invest in Perak properties, especially of the high-rise, residential kind.

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