MIEA upbeat on local property market


PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) is positive on the overall property market, particularly that of affordable residentials and landed housing.

This is despite poor outlook for retail space, luxury service apartments and small office home office (SOHO) units.

MIEA president Eric Lim lamented at negative news reports quoting analysts speculating a crash in the property market.

He cautioned against such doomsayers.

“We are on the ground. Our members are on the ground. We sell. We have a few hundred agents in the market.

“We know what is happening in the market. It is not fair to quote analysts making sweeping assumptions when they are not in the market,” he told reporters after presenting the MIEA Property Market Sentiment Report 2017/2018 here today.

Lim highlighted the newly-launched Digital Free Trade Zone, coupled with increasing crude oil prices, low unemployment rate and young demographic are catalysts for economic growth, thus lifting the property market.

“The property outlook is stable and moving at a moderate pace. It depends on the location, the type, supply and demand. It is not right to say the whole property market is coming down.

“Some sub-sectors are going up, and some, maybe because there is too much supply, are not doing well, which, in turn, is seeing unencouraging pricing,” he said.

Also present were MIEA committee members Kelvin Yip, YY Lau, Chan Ai Cheng, Munirah Mohammad, Mark Saw, Victor Wong, Liew Toh Sen, Datuk Alex Ting and Noorzamani Nooradin.

Lim said the overall housing loan approval rate remained high at 74.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, even with the tight ruling for loan applications by banks as sanctioned by Bank Negara.

“The aborted transactions are due to either loan rejection or low margin of financing in both the primary and secondary properties,” he added.

The average housing loan interest rate in Malaysia stands at about 4.65 per cent.

According to Bank Negara’s data, about RM40 billion worth of loans were approved between January and May in 2017 for 152,000 house buyers.

About 75 per cent of those loans were made out of first-time buyers.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi proposed to reduce the housing loan interest rate after a high-level committee meeting with Bank Negara on housing issues.

Lim said MIEA welcomed the proposal as a timely move to further promote homeownership, specifically those within the middle 40 per cent (M40) and below 40 per cent (B40) income groups.

“Ease of end-financing to the younger generation of M40 and B40 income levels buying their homes for the first time would help improve property market sentiment,” he added.