‘Now is the time to land deals in Malaysia’

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Malaysia’s property market is considered attractive to foreign investors because of the affordability. PIXABAY

The current sluggish Malaysian property market could be a “period of opportunity” for buyers and investors, experts and consultants have said.

CBRE-WTW group managing director Foo Gee Jen has expressed optimism about the local property market despite the global pandemic and its impact on the economy.

“There is a lot of opportunity in the market as there are plenty of available assets that weren’t available before,” he said during a panel discussion at the 2020 National Housing and Property Summit in Kuala Lumpur on September 15.

Foo said sellers were also “more reasonable” with their prices now.

“Many are willing to negotiate. Furthermore, compared with the previous crises when interest rates were in the double digits, it’s really low today,” he said.

Foo also pointed out that despite the current economic situation, the property market has not crashed. “Even with the pandemic, the market has not hit a hard landing.”

The property market, he said, had been “moving sideways” for six years now, adding that the situation is likely to persist this year as well.

“The market has been moving like a crab since 2014. But the issue is, are our homes expensive or salaries too low?”

Savills Malaysia deputy managing director Nabeel Hussain said Malaysia’s property market is considered attractive to foreign investors because of the affordability.

“Malaysian properties are considered among the least expensive in the region and globally. We also have one of the most successful affordable housing regimes in the world,” he said.

Despite the economic slowdown, Nabeel said the property market had not ground to a halt.

He said: “We still have property transactions this year, they are just a bit slow.

“Yes, we’re worried about the virus, but things need to keep moving. We can’t just sit down and do nothing.”

Meanwhile, Juwai IQI Holdings global chief economist Shan Saeed pointed out that the Straits of Malacca was one of the most important shipping waterways in the world and would continue to make Malaysia a vital trade destination for global powerhouses such as China.

“We expect Malaysia to stabilise by the fourth quarter of this year,” he said.

The full-day summit was organised by KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific and co-organised by FIABCI Malaysia.

To boost the local property sector, the government reintroduced the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) in June under the Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).

Under the campaign, stamp duty exemption is provided on the transfer of property and loan agreement for the purchase of homes priced between 300,000 and 2.5 million ringgit ($73,000 and $610,000).

Meanwhile, the exemption on the instrument of transfer is limited to the first one million ringgit of the home price, while full stamp duty exemption is given on loan agreement effective for sales and purchase agreements signed between June 1 and May 31, 2021.

In addition, real property gains tax (RGPT) exemption is also given to Malaysians for the disposal of up to three properties between June 1, 2020 and Dec 31,2021.

The HOC was kicked off in January to address the overhang problem in the country. The campaign, which was initially intended for six months, was extended for a year.

The HOC proved successful, having generated total sales of 23.2 billion ringgit last year, surpassing the government’s initial target of 17 billion ringgit.