Property transactions dip, but house prices continue to rise

The various cooling measures on the property sector dampened transactions last year, with the volume of properties bought and sold dipping by 10.9% from 2012, even as total value rose 6.7%, a sign that prices did not come down.

According to the Property Market Report 2013 released by the Valuation & Property Services Department, there were 381,130 transactions in the country in 2013 compared with 427,520 the year before, although their value climbed to RM152.37bil from RM142.84bil.

The all house price index edged up to 192.9 against 172.8, and all house prices to an average of RM266,304 from RM241,591.

The residential subsector retained the lion’s share of the market at 64.6% of volume and 47.3% of value.

This was buoyed by the prevailing low interest rate environment on the back of a base lending rate of 6.53% and weighted average lending rate of 5.4%.

Last year saw 246,225 residential property transactions and worth RM72.06bil, which declined 9.7% and rose 6.3%, respectively.

There was a slight decrease in the sales of new launches but the number of overhang properties also dipped.

In the primary market, new launches shrunk after three consecutive years of growth, with 48,617 units of new launches rolled out from 57,162 in 2012. Some 45.1%, or 21,904, of these units were sold.

Five states exceeded the national average take-up, of which three – Putrajaya, Selangor and Pahang – surpassed the 55% mark.

In terms of units launched, Johor, Selangor and Perak topped the list with 20.9%, 13.5% and 11.85 of the national total.

Terraced units made up the bulk of the new launches with 47.8% comprising 9,080 single-storey terraces and 13,273 two to three-storey units.

Condominiums and apartments contributed to 19.1% or 9,265 units. The sales of both these categories stood at 50.9% and 44.8%, respectively.

In terms of value, the Valuation Department said most states saw a downturn in market activity save for Johor, which grew by 16.6%.

Transaction volumes in Putrajaya fell the most by 41.7%, and Kelantan 34.6%, a reversal of its 93.6% growth in 2012. This was followed by Kuala Lumpur (-34.4%), Labuan (-33.9%), Penang (-23.9%) and Selangor (-14.3%).

By market share, Selangor outpaced the other states, contributing to 26.1% of all residential transactions. Johor was next at 13.7%, followed by Perak, Penang and Kedah.

In terms of value, only Kuala Lumpur saw a contraction in value of 9.7%. Johor posted the best growth of 63.2%, Selangor grew 2.8% and Penang saw no growth. Perlis, however, shot up 80.7% from the previous year.

The report said the different market segments as measured by price indicated a divergent scenario.

Transactions in the lower-price range softened last year. Compared with 2012, the market activity of homes in the RM100,000 to RM150,000 and RM150,001 to RM200,000 bracket fell 26.6% and 17.9%, but the RM250,001 to RM300,000 range climbed by 23.2%.

Houses priced between RM100,001 and RM300,000 were the most active, capturing the largest share of the market at 42.9%.

Housing approvals fell sharply by 22.5% from an expansion of 47.4% in 2012, while total loans disbursed for the purchase of residential properties increased to RM74.4bil from RM64.1bil.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan told reporters after the launch yesterday that the goods and services tax, which comes into effect next April, was not expected to raise house prices significantly as the tax was exempted on the home itself. - By The Star

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