Be resilient to face slowdown

Economic crisis can offer more opportunities

Developers must be optimistic and resilient in facing the current slowdown in the property market, says Country Heights Holdings Bhd founder and vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew.

“The sector is facing a slowdown as the result of the current economic conditions. Though we do feel cautious, we must not be pessimists,” he said during the CEO roundtable session at the summit.

He was confident the sector, which survived the 1997 economic crisis, would be able to weather the present crisis.

“If you are all well prepared, a crisis like this could offer you more opportunities, provided you become more innovative in terms of product and marketing strategy,” he said.

For example, developing residential properties within a golf course could be one strategy as more people loved to play golf and wanted nice surroundings for their homes, he added.

Lee said Malaysia was still an attractive market even to the foreigners as prices were still affordable.

Stressing that the Government had already helped the sector with its policy towards reducing the construction cost, he said developers must not be greedy by pushing property prices so high that it could create a bubble.

He advised developers not to neglect the domestic market in their eagerness to attract foreign investors for their high-end properties.

“We cannot deny that domestic demand is key to our business. We must realise that houses are not a want, but a need for most people,” he said.

Asean Association for Planning and Housing president and past president of Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Datuk Eddy Chen said developers should look at their balance sheet and trim some of their profit margin to sell their properties during the current market slowdown.

Ireka Corp Bhd executive director Lai Voon Hon said the stable local financial market would help sustain the property sector.

He added that property prices in the country were still competitive compared with neighbouring countries like Singapore.

He also said developers that were resilient during the current difficult times would be able to exploit the market boom expected in another four to five years.

By The Star

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