Penang property market slowing down, says Rehda

People are more cautious about buying property with the current economic situation but the market should see a quick recovery when the economy picks up again.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Penang branch chairman Datuk Jerry Chan Fook Sing said property sales had weakened noticeably since the third quarter last year following the fuel price hike, and deteriorated further in the fourth quarter when the global bad news came out.

“This has affected the market but the population is still growing and people who need to buy houses will still do so except that they will be more cautious.

“We won’t see a need to rush out to buy houses,” he added.

He said those keen to buy property as investments, however, would take their time.

“The greatest issue is job security. As long as people feel they have job security, they will invest their money. And property is one secure investment.

“Property prices do not crash like other forms of investments, such as shares. While it is true that transactions will be reduced when there is a downturn, prices go up very quickly when there is an upturn because of the reduced supply of buildings during the downturn,” he said.

He noted that property in Penang had not gone to the bubble stage as there had not been over-building and unrealistic levels in prices.

“The appreciation had been gradual because construction costs and land prices were going up,” he added.

While most developers are taking a cautious approach, SP Setia Bhd managed to lock in RM35mil sales in the last two weeks, according to its property division (north) sales and marketing manager Yeoh Chee Beng.

“We are very happy with the figure, which has exceeded our expectation, as it is totally different from the current market situation,” said Yeoh.

He attributed the achievement to the launching of the Setia 5/95 Home Loan Package on Jan 19, which allowed buyers to pay only a 5% downpayment and nothing else until completion.

“Besides this, the purchaser is entitled to free legal fees and stamp duty for the sale and purchase agreement, loan agreement and transfer, and zero interest during the construction period,” he said.

Yeoh said this package was attractive because of the current economic situation, adding that all the developer’s projects proposed in its business plan were on schedule. - By Priscilla Dielenberg (The Star)

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