Residential property market to remain moderate

Primary housing sales in Malaysia are expected to remain moderate as property developers remain cautious over the economy this year, according to Dr. Zalian Mohd Isa, director of National Property Information Centre (NAPIC) of the Valuation and Property Services Department in the Finance Ministry.

Nevertheless, demand for new homes would be stronger in selected regions while house prices would sustain and rise in sought-after addresses and housing types, she told participants of the 3rd Malaysian Property Summit organized by the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector (PEPS) on Jan 26.

The residential property sector recorded transactions worth RM37.44 billion between January and November, a decrease of 2.6% and a decrease of 4.8% in volume, compared to 2008. However, unsold units reduced significantly for completed and under construction homes.

Selangor, Johor and Penang, terraced houses accounted for the highest number of transactions in 2009, registering 27,542, 12,428 and 4,138 transactions respectively. In Kuala Lumpur, condominiums made up the largest number of transactions with 9,021 units sold while 3,615 terraced units were transacted.

From January to September 2009, 31,782 units of new housing were launched and of this figure, 11,771 (37%) units were sold. The take-up was moderate across Kuala Lumpur, and Johor but remained high in Selangor and Penang, said Dr Zailan.

The average prices for terraced houses in 2Q 2009 improved by 1.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) on the Malaysian House Price index, while all other landed properties registered an increase of 0.4% y-o-y. High-rise property prices however, decreased by 4.6% in y-o-y.

On the construction front, 101,316 units of new housing were completed in 2009, compared with 134,334 units in 2008. A total of 86,549 units began construction in 2009. - By E Jacqui Chan (The Edge Property)

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