More new launches next year


KUALA LUMPUR: A majority of developers are holding back on new launches for the remainder of the year in anticipation of better prospects for 2022, according to the latest property survey by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda).

The survey, which comprised 180 participants from all over Peninsular Malaysia, revealed that 22% of respondents were optimistic about the first half of 2022, compared with just 6% who felt the same way about the second half of 2021.

 Rehda president Datuk Soam Heng Choon said the muted response for the second half of 2021 was due to the impact of the prolonged lockdown on the local property market.

“Because we went into a lockdown from June until the end of August and even into September for some, the second half of 2021 is almost a washout for most developers,” he said at a virtual briefing yesterday.

“Many held back their launches as a result and continued to conduct sales from their existing projects,” Soam said.

According to the survey, a combined 70% of respondents were very pessimistic (18%) or pessimistic (52%) about the second half 2021, compared with a total of 37% feeling the same way about the first half of 2022.

The survey revealed that 64% of respondents were not planning to launch new projects in the second half of this year.

The reasons cited for not launching their projects included unfavourable market conditions (40%); delays in construction or receiving local authorities’ approvals (18%); a higher number of unsold stock (17%); financing and operational constraints (12%); lack of suitable products or land bank location (7%); and low demand in project location (6%).

Soam said the property market’s prospects for 2022 would hinge on the recovery of the broader economy.

“If the broader economic recovery does happen, we anticipate that our industry will also improve.

“With an improved unemployment rate, rise in salaries and better job stability, there will be more buyers coming into the market.”

Soam said market optimism for next year would also hinge on the country’s ability to vaccinate the majority of the population.

“As we head into the endemic phase and assuming that a high number of the population is already inoculated, 83% of respondents said the property market would fully recover between the next six and 24 months.”

According to the survey, a total of 15,076 units are planned to be launched in the second half of 2021.

Of this, 9,319 units are strata residential units and 5,549 will be landed residential units.

About 89% of respondents with future launches anticipate their sales performance for the second half of 2021 to be 50% or below.

Developers with projects in Terengganu, Perak, Kedah, Perlis and Negri Sembilan plan to launch residential units within the RM250,001 to RM500,000 price range.

Meanwhile, developers with projects in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Penang will be launching residential units within the RM500,001 to RM700,000 price range.

In anticipation of Budget 2022, which will be tabled next Friday, Soam is hopeful that the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) will be extended into next year.

“The HOC ends on Dec 31.

“However, we lost four months this year as a result of the lockdown and hope that it will get extended,” he said.

To address the overhang situation in the country, the government kicked off the HOC in January 2019.

The campaign, which was intended for six months, was extended for a year.

It proved successful, having generated sales totalling RM23.2bil in 2019, surpassing the government’s initial target of RM17bil.

The government reintroduced the HOC in June last year under the Penjana initiative to boost the property market after it was adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Rehda deputy president Datuk N K Tong, as at Sept 30, 2021, a total of 73,503 residential units valued at RM47.38bil (after discounts) had been sold since the HOC was reintroduced last year.

Discounts worth more than RM9bil were given to buyers during the period.

Additionally, Soam was also hopeful that Budget 2022 would include policies such as a reduction or waiver in the real property gains tax, as well as a reduction in compliance costs.

Separately, Soam said it was still too early to determine if the rise in raw material prices would result in an increase in property prices.

“The situation is two-fold. Firstly, from a global perspective, commodity prices have been increasing and because of the economic uncertainty, there has been a lot of fluctuation.”

On the domestic front, Soam said the lockdown had an impact on locally produced materials, such as bricks.

“Because brick factories could not operate, yet some government projects still continued, many of the raw materials used were from the stockpile and this caused prices to go up.

“But we expect this to normalise in the coming months.”

For now, Soam said developers were absorbing the rise in raw material prices.

“However, if this phenomenon continues, then the developers may not have a choice but to pass on the cost to consumers.

“But it’s still too early to say what kind of an impact it will have right now.”

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