Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The fear factor in property

Rehda said some people are buying as they are worried prices will go up
 By THEAN LEE CHENG leecheng@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Property developers and consultants from Penang to Johor are generally bullish about the residential property market and do not think there is a bubble.

They are of the view that there are two types of buyers, one who is buying out of need and the other out of fear that prices would go up further. The speculative element which was evident a few years ago has dissipated.

Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda, Penang) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said: “Buyers have money which they would like to park somewhere.

“Sales this year have been better than last year, driven by fear rather than the speculative element,” said Chan who is also group managing director for Penang-based Asas Dunia Bhd.

Chan was commenting on a report Debunking the property bubble myth by CIMB which said that talk of a property bubble was overstated as the sharp rise in residential property prices over the past few years was confined to selected areas.

“Affordability is near its all-time high and prices have to surge 50% to 100% before affordability falls to pre-Asian financial crisis levels,” the report said.

The report said it was surprising that residential prices had not risen at a faster pace as new supply had fallen significantly over the past few years.

Chan said tourism was also very big in Penang and if China and Indian nationals were to buy in Penang, it would “turn the market upside down.”

“So I foresee Penang prices would continue to rise because of inadequate supply of land, not because of inadequate developments,” he said.

In the Klang Valley, Reapfield Properties Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Gerard Kho said domestic demand for residentials was expected to be strong until the middle of this year.

Managing director for the Khong & Jaffar group of companies Elvin Fernandez said “it is not a question of whether there is a bubble or not but whether prices in certain areas are tied in to fundamentals or not.
“And we know in certain hot spots, they are not,” Fernandez said.

In Johor, KGV International Property Consultants Samuel Tan said the state was undergoing a transition because of the Iskandar Malaysia factor.

“New houses entering the market are priced a lot higher than three years ago but the market is accepting it,” he said.

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