KUALA LUMPUR: S P Setia Bhd hopes the relevant authorities and regulators will ease overly strict lending restrictions that are being imposed on the property sector.
“Hopefully the Government can consider easing some of the measures that are in place at the moment. This will help a lot,” its president and CEO Datuk Khor Chap Jen said at a briefing.
“I hope the Government can be more sympathetic, especially to the first-time home buyers. At the moment, the requirement is quite stringent.
“If the government can relax a little bit, this will help the genuine first-time home buyers. These band of people are seeking their first home. Right now, it is one standard checklist for everybody (applying for loans),” he added.
Amid the prolonged soft market sentiment, the developer said it is targeting to sell at least RM5bil worth of properties this year.
“We will adopt a strategy of launching more mid-priced landed units. This will be our focus.
“We think the market will be flat in 2018 with a slight upward bias. Hopefully there will be more catalysts to push up the market,” Khor said.
He said S P Setia planned to launch RM7.07bil of property projects, including two abroad – in Melbourne and Singapore.
“We target RM5bil sales, which is actually flat (compared to the previous year of RM4.92bil). We are quite confident we can achieve this target,” he added.
Khor said market sentiment could improve after the general election as some groups of people were holding back their purchases.
He said that from the company’s recent experience, demand is now seen in the mid-range segment with a price from RM500,000 to RM800,000.
“This is a price range that is very attractive to buyers, depending on the location. In Semenyih, this is about RM500,000. To put it simply, a price range of up to RM800,000 is the most sought after.
“Recently, we launched starter homes with smaller built-up areas in Setia Alam – 93 units were snapped up just within three hours.
“So there is still a lot of demand for this kind of starter homes. Underpinned by unbilled sales of RM7.72bil with 44 ongoing projects, we think that the group’s prospects remain positive,” Khor added.
S P Setia is putting on hold further landbanking activities this year but will still be open to any land purchase with an attractive proposition.
“We have been quite aggressive on landbanking in 2017 with the acquisition of a few pieces of land and with the completion of the acquisition of I&P Group Sdn Bhd, which added another 4,000 acres,” he said.
In a statement, the company said it had an effective remaining land bank of 9,606 acres with a gross development value of RM128.37bil as at Dec 31, 2017.
S P Setia announced that its fourth-quarter (ended Dec 31) net profit fell by 40% year-on-year to RM279.57mil while quarterly revenue fell to RM1.45bil from RM1.99bil a year ago.
It declared a final dividend of 11.5 sen per share to bring total FY17 dividend payout to 15.5 sen, or a ratio of 70.1%.