No great impact from slow down

Although the country's economic growth is expected to slow down, Previndran (CEO of Zerin Properties) does not see this having a significant impact on the market. "There will be a slowdown, but it will not be significant because we are decoupling from the Anglo Saxon economy."

Available data shows that to date, about RM8 billion worth of properties have been purchased by Middle Easterners since 2005. Previndran says the country is also attracting purchasers from the Indian subcontinent and emerging markets like China, South Korea and Japan, with Indonesia and Singapore still a force to be reckoned with.

"I can go on and on about how attractive Malaysia is compared to our neighbours. Just look at Singapore. Foreigners cannot own freehold land there unless it is in Sentosa and that starts from S$2,000 psf," he adds.

Although the higher cost of construction has pushed prices up, Previndran says proactive government policies are in place to court foreign investors to Malaysia. These include the removal of Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), our English-speaking population and no limit on the number of properties a foreigner can buy.

He feels that Malaysia's real estate is far from overpriced, especially good products in selected locations. "There are going to be failures, even in KLCC, but good products and good development schemes are important. So are good locations. You cannot run away from these fundamentals."

Addressing the results of the 12th general election, Previndran says he has not heard anything negative. "There is a strong feel-good factor among the people and that's what's driving the market. Just take Penang. It shows that we are as mature as India or the UK and that we can handle transition. That's why the foreigners are coming."

On foreign property markets, Previndran says Singapore and Vietnam have bright prospects even though these countries are feeling the effects of the US subprime crisis. Other good markets to look at are Cambodia/Laos and Indonesia. "Australia has very high interest rates at present, but there are some good buys in the bigger cities. In the US, the west coast has always looked exciting, even more so now because property prices have dropped by more than 20%. In the UK and Europe, only certain locations are attractive." - By The Edge Daily

No comments