Property Investment Pointers

Here are some pointers for those considering a property investment in the near term:

Valuer and managing director of Khong & Jaafar Elvin Fernandez

“The global environment is changing. Strictly speaking, an upgrader sells the old house to buy the new. If he is going to hang on to the old, he will have to consider the rental market where yields are falling. He has to consider whether the market has peaked in the areas he wants to buy and whether it can go further and that may be unlikely in many areas. Value has gone above the normal governing fundamentals of price versus household income, and price versus rental returns.

“Although Malaysia is rapidly developing and we have a young population and we have seen more years of prices running up than going down, this may not be replicated as sentiments may be poor as a result of what is happening in Europe.

“As for commercial properties, the retail market looks stronger than the office market as there is an oversupply in this sub-segment.

“As for first time buyers, we have a whole range of housing from the low cost to the high-end. But many of the properties that young people may be able to afford are poorly maintained and because of this, these properties are not desirable. The authories should have more stringent legislation for people who default on their service charges. It makes good sense to seek professional property management instead of doing it on a piecemeal basis. Taking care of the maintenance issue is more logical step than building more, only to have the maintenance issue cropping up again later on.”

Tetap Tiara Sdn Bhd executive director (Jaya One) Charles Wong

“Prices will have to stabilise. When considering buying the larger residential units for investment, the question to ask is, Can you rent it out? Smaller units will be more feasible. But having said that, we are seeing a huge number of 400 sq ft units of service apartments being built. While these may be affordable, buyers must consider rentability. Access, connectivity and proximity to amenities are important. And if there are so many of these units, you may need to take a longer period to rent and to re-sell in the secondary market in today’s uncertain climate.

“In the retail market, rental rates have been coming down and are softer than two to three years ago. For landed properties, the rental are expected to drop from 3%-4% to sometimes 1% or 2% and condominium yield from 7% to 8% to 4%-5%.”

Mah Sing group managing director/chief executive Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum

“The demand will be for smaller units, and for mid-end housing, instead of the high-end ones. If it is a location they want, for example KLCC area, people will buy a little further away like in Jalan Ampang where prices are lower.”

GV International managing director Samuel Tan

“In Johor, price increase is expected to be gradual. Areas with good connectivity will be popular. In the last several years, the emphasis on infrastructures like highways has helped to spur interest and prices. The western coastal highway from Skudai to Bukit Indah has made travelling a breeze and prices have moved 10% or more. Developers are expected to report good sales in the near future although September was a soft month, as a result of the US downgrade in August. Iskandar Malaysia will become more visible and is expected to generate interest from the Japanese, South Koreans and Singaporeans.”

Real Estate Housing Developers’ Association (Penang) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan

“Demand for landed units on the mainland and Penang island will continue but yield on the island is expected to be low, at 1% or 2%. The price movement for this year has been greater than last year. We continue to see land prices going up. For the lower to mid-end, prices are still moving. Demand is expected to remain firm for properties priced RM600,000-RM700,000 and below. For those between RM800 and RM1,000 per sq ft or about RM1mil, people will have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

“Currently, prices on the mainland is a quarter or a fifth of those on the island. Penang people are beginning to find it too expensive on the island and are moving to the mainland.”

News Source: The Star

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