KUALA LUMPUR: The Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda) is optimistic of Malaysia's property sector outlook in the first half of 2018 (H1 2018) in tandem with the improvements in the country's economic conditions.
Its president, Datuk Seri FD Iskandar, said the optimism was also based on forecasts of a stronger gross domestic product growth by Bank Negara Malaysia and economists.
"Besides, more people are seen having more stable jobs and they are more confident of retaining them as compared to a couple of years ago," he told a media briefing on the property industry survey for H1 2017 and market outlook for second half of 2017 and H1 2018 here today.
The survey showed that for consumer's purchasing power segment, 17% of respondents expressed optimism on the segment's outlook in H1 2018 as compared with 9% for H2 2017.
On property market performance, 26% of respondents were optimistic over the property segment outlook for H1 2018 against 8% for H2 2017.
The survey covered 153 Rehda members in Peninsular Malaysia, with assessment being conducted on the market performance in H1 2017, as well as, outlook for H2 2017 and H1 2018.
Moving forward, FD Iskandar said 48% of respondents planned to launch 17,535 units in H2 2017 and H1 2018, with most states either maintaining or lowering their house prices at RM500,000 and below, except Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
However, he said 76% of respondents anticipated that sales of their new launches would stay at 50% or below.
"This is because 73% of the respondents are facing end-financing problems, with about half of the loan rejection are for properties priced at RM500,000 or below," he said.
To boost sales, FD Iskandar said developers had taken various measures such as assisting buyers with the first 10 per cent down payment, review selling prices, as well as, enhancing innovation and creativity of their products.
Meanwhile, he said 40% of the respondents revealed that their organisations were highly affected by the current economic scenario.
"The top three cost complements are land, material and labour, as well as, compliance cost, with 51% of the respondents felt that the cost of doing business has increased up to 10%," he said.
To overcome the challenges, FD Iskandar said several cost-cutting measures had been proposed including freezing new recruitment and waiving or reducing the foreign workers levy.
But overall, he said majority of the respondents were neutral towards the industry outlook.- Bernama