'Real estate market will persevere'

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite difficulties mainly on the external front, the nation's real estate market will persevere and see more favourable results in 2024 given the multiple ongoing initiatives planned for the year.

The good news is that the industry is gradually recovering, despite some setbacks during the pandemic, according to Tan Kian Aun, president of the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA).

Tan praised the government for aggressively lowering interest rates—the overnight policy rate is currently 3.0 per cent—and for enhancing Malaysia's investment environment.

According to him, there is also a need for a more targeted approach that addresses issues like green living, renewable energy, and sustainable living.

"We don't expect the government to do something drastic to change the economic landscape but rather to take a step-by-step approach because it may affect inflation, the cost of living, and the income gap of the people," he said.

According to Tan, there hasn't been a significant drop in the nation's GDP or any other negative effects, like foreclosures, which would have harmed a lot of people.

"We can see it in terms of stable pricing and the revival of some abandoned projects, which are also good signs. This shows that people are interested and confident in rebuilding the property sector, or else no one will want to revive the projects," he said.

According to the Housing and Local Government Ministry, eight abandoned private housing projects with a gross development value (GDV) of RM574.08 million have been revived since the Task Force on Sick and Abandoned Private Housing Projects (TFST) was established. 

As of September 2023, 301 projects, comprising 38,752 housing units, with a GDV of RM28.88 billion, had been revived. 

During the same time period, the ministry also revitalised 266 abandoned private housing projects, involving 46,229 buyers and 67,773 housing units. 

Tan said that Malaysia is still one of the best places to invest. 

He said noteworthy national projects like the Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah and Sarawak, the Johor Rapid Transit Link (RTS) project, and significant industrial projects in the north are what draw in investors.  

Meanwhile, Tan said that the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030 and other efforts by the federal and state governments to stimulate the market, particularly for industrial and manufacturing, have resulted in growth not only in the Klang Valley but across the country. 

The Penang LRT, Sarawak's autonomous rapid transit (ART), the emphasis on tourism, green and renewable energy, and the low-carbon initiatives in Sabah and Sarawak are some other growth-promoting catalysts, he said.

Tan said all these are high-value industries and will boost the economy and the property market in this region.

He said the government's fiscal policy, such as the full exemption on stamp duty for first-time housebuyers (for RM500,000 and below) until the end of 2025, will also encourage home ownership in the country.

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