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Property market to pick up in 2016: Survey

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KUALA LUMPUR: A better property market is expected for 2016 as buyers are more interested in buying properties in one to two years onwards, according to the iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Survey (H2) 2015.

The survey polled over 15,000 respondents and 43% were from Malaysia. The majority were between 21 and 30 years old.

“The year 2015 is analysed by property experts to be the slums of property market slowdown for the decade, and discussions have it that the property market will begin to pick up in the year 2016, and will again reach its height in the year 2018,” the survey report said.

iProperty Group managing director and CEO Georg Chmiel said that after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April, respondents who are interested in purchasing a property in one to two years have increased to 34%, compared with 30% before the implementation of GST. Those who are looking to purchase after two years have also increased to 16% post-GST, from 12% pre-GST.

But the percentages of respondents looking to purchase a property in less than 12 months have fallen to 50% now from 58% six months ago. Chmiel said the introduction of the GST has not deterred people from investing in real estate.

“Even though Malaysians are concerned about the rising house prices and affordability, the level of interest in the Malaysian property market remains strong, from within Malaysia and increasingly from overseas,” he said after announcing the survey findings here yesterday.

The majority of the respondents are looking to get into the property market but are hindered by high property prices. Though various affordable housing schemes have been introduced by the government over the years, it is not enough to meet the demand.

However, Chmiel noted that there was an increase in the budget to purchase, a shift in the motivation to purchase and type of property to buy. He said respondents are now looking for property priced below RM500,000 to RM1 million with condominiums being the favourite. As such, they are holding back on purchasing property now to probably to try to save more for a downpayment.

“Certainly property prices and the availability of attractive real estate have moved up a bit and people simply adjust it for themselves. On one side, increase in the property prices and on the other side, 55% of the respondents are also investors so we see more investors coming in to the market looking for slightly different price bracket,” said Chmiel.

He also pointed out that the Malaysian real estate is very affordable in the Asean region, citing an average property price of RM376,200 for a 900 sq ft property, with a gross development product per capita average of RM63,403, and a purchasing power parity for property value to income ratio is 5.93.

“Even if property prices (in Malaysia) were to double, they will still be affordable. From an outside perspective, you can spend a lot in Hong Kong and Singapore, or spend a fraction in Malaysia,” said Chmiel.

Compared with the situation six months ago, when there was a rush to buy property pre-GST, many respondents are now adopting a wait-and-see stance and a cautiously optimistic approach. They are hoping the government will introduce other effective schemes that can help the under 30s afford a property.

Meanwhile, Chmiel said, the weakening ringgit has led to higher demand from Singaporeans wanting to buy property in Iskandar Malaysia.

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