THE current soft sentiment in Malaysia’s property market and an influx of project supply are among the factors that require developers to change their business strategies.

Developers with strong financing should look at buying land as an investment, holding it for future development or flipping it at a higher price during boom time instead of building more houses, say analysts.

They should also look at ways to sell their existing stock by offering more freebies to potential buyers.

This could create a healthy market for the real estate future as currently there is a mismatch in the demand and supply of houses. New supply far exceeds demand.

Analysts feel that developers with holding power should do more landbanking now as they may be able to get valuable plots at reasonable prices.

Kimlun Corp Bhd is actively buying land for expansion.

AmInvestment Bank research analyst Joshua Ng said this is especially true in Johor.

Mah Sing Group Bhd managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum has said the company plans to acquire more land in Klang Valley this year.

Kimlun Corp Bhd has acquired four real estate assets worth RM186.6 million in three months, boosting its landbank to 91.98ha from 62.72ha.

In December last year, the company announced the purchase of three separate land deals (totalling 21.08ha) in Johor for RM118.2 million.

Latest deals include Kimlun buying 47 vacant detached lots and 30double-storey detached houses in Bukit Bayu in Seksyen U10, Bukit Raja, Shah Alam, from Melati Ehsan Holdings Bhd for RM68.4 million.

Ng, in his latest research report, noted that the deal was opportunistic as Kimlun was paying RM246 to RM263 per sq ft (psf) of built-up area, versus the going asking rate of RM630 to RM655 psf in the area.

For the bungalow lots, Kimlun was paying RM40 psf versus the asking price of RM160-RM200 psf.

“While we acknowledge that the land’s tenure in Bukit Bayu is leasehold (expiring 2103) versus mostly freehold land for those currently available in the secondary market, the discount should only be about 10 per cent.

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“Also at RM40 psf for the bungalow lots, this is at a steep discount to the RM75 psf Kimlun paid for its first acquisition back in 2014. That year the company acquired 41 bungalow lots for RM29 million cash.

“We understand that Kimlun will effectively take over the control of the project from Melati Ehsan with the second transaction,” he added.

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