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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — PropertyGuru International (M) Sdn Bhd (PropertyGuru Malaysia) maintained its “neutral” outlook for the country’s property market in 2020, but expecting an uptick in the second half of 2020 (H2 2020).

Country manager Sheldon Fernandez said residential overhang had resulted in the supply-demand imbalance in the market hence the downtrend of asking prices for properties, seen since 2015.

“Despite government initiatives such as the Rent-to-Own (R-T-O) financing scheme and a lower RM600,000 of foreign property ownership threshold under the 2020 Budget to improve the situation, we feel it is still not strong enough to stimulate and turn the market around.

“Hence, we maintain a neutral outlook for 2020,” he said at a media briefing in conjunction with the  PropertyGuru 2020 Outlook Forum here, today.

On the expected uptick in H2 2020, Fernandez said it would still depend on how the R-T-O kicked into the market, as well as the response to the lower property threshold for foreigners.

“Market players still prefer to adopt the wait-and-see approach in H1 2020 before they take the right move in the rest of the year.

“But sentiment remained positive as we saw potential buyers still intend to purchase the properties, although actions to buy still remain slow as they still want to wait-and-see the market performance first,” he said.

In terms of asking prices for properties in 2020, a year-on-year decrease of 0.9 per cent is expected, similar to the price index published by the recent PropertyGuru Market Index (PMI) report for Q3 2019.

Citing statistics provided by Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd, PropertyGuru Malaysia said as of the second quarter of 2019 (Q2 2019), the overhang units in Malaysia were estimated at 52,666, including 32,810 residential units; 18,186 serviced apartment units; and 1,670 small office home office (SOHO) units.

“The residential overhang is a direct result of the supply-demand imbalance in the market, as developers build properties which buyers cannot afford to purchase,” it said.

Commenting on this, Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents chief executive officer Soma Sundram urged the government to have some systematic planning and “some kind of control” over the property overhang scenario in the country.

Asked on Hong Kong property buyers’ interest following the prolonged anti-government protests in the city, Jones Lang Wootton executive director Prem Kumar said the influx of Hong Kong property buyers were seen taking place a few months ago.

Echoing Prem’s view, CCO & Associates (KL) Sdn Bhd executive director Chan Wai Seen said the properties purchased by the Hong Kong citizens were priced over RM1 million per unit at good locations.

“But how long it (the purchase) will continue, depends on the situation in Hong Kong,” he said, adding, local property projects such as one in Genting Highlands would continue to draw mainland Chinese buyers in the coming years.

News Source: Bernama, 5 Dec 2019.

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