Malaysian property market sentiment improving

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian property market is seeing growth and improved sentiment compared with the previously “quiet market” plagued by issues related to loans and access to funds, said iProperty.com CEO for Malaysia and Singapore Haresh Khoobchandani.

“Our listings growth has gone up, our subscription growth has gone up. We (iProperty.com Malaysia) are at record highs (in terms of website visitors) right now, we are three times that of our nearest competitor. I think all up, I start to see more awareness around digital and how digital can actually help our customers reach the audiences,” he told reporters at the unveiling of its refreshed website today, following its takeover by Australian Stock Exchange listed REA Group.

He said transactions have also increased, which is another positive trend while all economic indicators are pointing north, supporting iProperty.com’s data in terms of market activity.

“Transactions were mainly in new developments. Buying power is definitely there. If you look at private consumption in Malaysia, it has gone up 7.5%. That is another indicator that there is buying power,” he added.

In terms of market trends, affordable housing is driving the market with more units, as more developers shift focus towards the segment in order to meet market demand.

“There are two other things to keep in mind. The property index of the KLCI has outperformed the broader index. I think the property index has reported 12.3% return against 2% in the broader index. It is really interesting to see property come back strongly. The other thing is the recent results of a lot of developers. If you look at the recent results that came through for a lot of the developers, their results were strong, very positive,” said Haresh.

He said the latest economic indicators augur well for the Malaysian property market next year, which will be driven by strong fundamentals such as solid economic growth, growth in loan applications and approvals, stable currency, growth in private consumption and investments as well as the government’s infrastructure investments.

Meanwhile, in terms of technology in the real estate market, Haresh said there is growing awareness in understanding technology and how it can help engage, reach and measure impact on audiences.

However, he does not see property portals replacing real estate agents, who still have an important role to play in the buying, selling and renting process, especially in the purchase of properties, which is a big investment that still requires some human interaction.