Property sector to be flat this year

The property sector is expected to be flat this year, bogged down by buyers’ ‘wait-and-see’ attitude towards the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax against a backdrop of a weakening ringgit.

President of Malaysia Institute of Estate Agents, Siva Shanker, said this showed that the government’s cooling measures had started to work, which was a good thing for the sector.

“The industry, however, will pick up in 2016 and 2017 and peak in 2018,” he told reporters at the Malaysian Real Estate Convention 2015 here today.

The government has capped the maximum personal loan tenure to 10 years and that of property financing to 35 years to mitigate rising household debt.

This appears to have tightened the property financing tap since banks have become more cautious in their loan qualification criteria.

Siva said the younger generation (Gen-Y) would be the catalyst to support the market, given that half of Malaysia’s population were 25 years old and above.

“The affordable housing has now become the ‘buzzword’ as many of the government’s projects and that of other developers are focusing on this segment,” he said, adding that the Gen-Y would provide support to the property market for the next 25 years.

Siva also hoped that most of the houses under the affordable category would be in the price range of between RM150,000 and RM250,000 per unit to enable buyers with salary of RM3,000 and below to buy them.

Earlier, during the media conference, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said the construction sector was important to the country and has contributed to the significant growth to the gross domestic product.

In 2014, the construction sector contributed 9.9 per cent, followed by manufacturing (7.3 per cent), agriculture (7.1 per cent), private consumption (6.5 per cent) and petroleum and mining (2.1 per cent). -- BERNAMA

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