Malaysian property prices are expected to increase at an average of between 10% and 20% this year, in light of rising inflation and increase in demand for local properties from foreigners, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai.
“Inflation in 2010 stood at 2.2% and was at 2.4% in the first two months of this year. We expect it to be higher this year due to escalating food and oil prices,” he said after the launch of the National Property Information Centre's (Napic) property market report 2010 yesterday.
Lim also said many foreigners were looking to purchase property here because the prices of properties were cheaper than in neighbouring countries such as Singapore.
“And Malaysia, because of the ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) has attracted a number of investments from overseas. Investments last year were four times higher than 2009.
“We also expect more foreign companies to set up base here. Our Islamic banking is No. 1 in the world (so) all this will attract foreigners to come into Malaysia,” Lim said, adding that this would also contribute towards pushing up prices of properties in Malaysia.
He said rising oil prices would also cause prices to escalate.
“There's a lot of uncertainty in the Middle East. It's beyond our control and that (rising oil prices) will affect the other things,” he said adding that property prices in Malaysia were currently at a “manageable position.”
According to Napic's statistics, the Malaysian property market recorded 376,583 transactions in 2010 worth RM107.44bil.
Both the volume and value of transactions registered double-digit growth of 11.4% and 32.6% respectively from 338,089 transactions worth RM81.02bil in 2009.
Napic valuation director-general Datuk Abdullah Thalith Md Thani said 2010's (RM107.44bil) value was a new high for the Malaysian property market.
“In 2008 and 2009, we (Malaysian property market) suffered a bit. The volume of property transactions will go up (this year) but the margin will not be as high as last year.
“We had a good year last year because we rebounded from the sub-prime experience,” he said.
Abdullah added that Malaysia's fundamentals were still good, despite the uncertainties.
“People are worried about oil prices now but bear in mind, we are oil producers too. I will not say that property (by volume and value) will be better than 2010. There will be an increase. The question is the rate of increase.”
Napic expects the property market to remain promising in 2011, supported by various measures proposed under the Tenth Malaysia Plan and Budget 2011.
It said projects such as the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District, Mass Rapid Transit in Greater KL, the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka, the development of the Malaysian Rubber Board land in Sungai Buloh and the redevelopment of Pudu prison were expected to have positive spill-over effects.
Napic also said the Government's Skim Rumah Pertamaku to assist young adults to own homes below RM220,000, together with other incentives such as stamp duty exemption of 50% on instruments of transfer on a house not exceeding RM350,000 for first time buyers, would increase transaction volumes of homes in this price range.
“With the cessation of the Foreign Investment Committee's approval for the acquisition of properties by foreigners which took effect in June 2009, property investment in Malaysia will be more attractive to foreigners,” said Napic in a statement.
“Given that foreigners are only allowed to purchase commercial and residential properties priced above RM500,000, it is anticipated that more activities will be recorded in the high-end housing units in sought-after neighbourhoods,” it said. - By Eugene Mahalingam (The Star)