Property prices expected to fall 5-10pc next year

Property prices will fall by 5-10 per cent from the first quarter of next year as a slower economy cools demand, a property consultant said.

The slump in prices will be for properties across the board, Association of Valuers & Property Consultants in Private Practice Malaysia (PEPS) president James Wong Kwong Onn said.

He said properties below the RM300,000 radar and luxury condominiums tagged at above RM750,000 are already hit from a slower economy.

Wong believes there will be a correction in the housing market next year.
"There will be fewer launches due to poor demand. Prices will fall, but gradually, due to lack of confidence in the market," Wong said after a media briefing on the 2nd Malaysian Property Summit 2009 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

But Wong said a housing bubble is unlikely although the market will be depressed by a slew of bearish factors like poor economic data and worries over increasing credit market losses in the US.

He said Malaysia's real estate is resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of the economic turmoil.

His confidence is boosted by the RM7 billion economic stimulus package announced last month.

Wong expects Malaysia's real estate to also fare better than Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong as the latter three are more exposed to the US-led subprime crises.

"Property prices in these countries have also shot up by 100 per cent or more whereas the upward price in Malaysia was gradual. There is room to grow so we will definitely fare better," he added.

Meanwhile, Sime Darby Property Bhd managing director Datuk Tunku Putra Badlishah said the company has new products lined up for next year but will remain cautious when planning the launches.

"We are fortunate as most of our landbank is in prime areas and a majority of our market is owner-occupied. Despite the market shrinking, we believe it has eased a little," he said.

In the past one month, Sime Darby has been able to sell 241 properties worth RM141 million located within its 10 on-going townships.

Sales were boosted by its "Guaranteed Buy Back" scheme, instilling confidence in buyers.

The 2nd property summit, organised by PEPS, will be held on January 20 2009 at the Sime Darby Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur. More than 200 participants from various sectors are expected to attend. - By Sharen Kaur (Business Times)

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