‘Cash in on house buyer’s market’

The downward trend in residential property prices is expected to continue due to Covid-19 and MCO.

THE Covid-19 pandemic is opening up opportunities for buyers looking for residential properties in the secondary market, either for investment or as their own residence.

Auctioneer Siti Izan Suhana Raden Omar said this was the best time to buy property as prices were attractive.

“On average, the selling price for properties in the secondary market in Johor is down by 20%.”

The downward trend, she said, was expected to continue due to the prolonged pandemic and movement control order.

She said the asking price for a condominium unit located along Jalan Skudai — which was previously valued at RM800,000 — had dropped to RM500,000.

“Buyers are snapping up units here for future investment, ” she said.

Siti Izan explained that the condominium units previously belonged to Malaysians, the majority of whom worked in Singapore.

She said now they could no longer service bank loans as some had lost their jobs or had been staying in Singapore since the first MCO in March last year.

“Pre-Covid-19 days, they were earning in Singapore dollars but lived in Johor Baru.

“Now, however, they are stuck there and have to pay for their expenses in Singapore currency.”

Siti Izan further said that transactions recorded by the company showed 60% of the buyers of residential properties in the secondary market were investors and 40% owner-occupier.

Meanwhile, real estate agent Jack Lee said investors tended to look for good locations when planning to buy in the secondary market.

“They are willing to take the risk now and invest as they feel that they can never go wrong when it comes to property investment.

“They are optimistic that the property market will rebound when the pandemic is flattened.”

He added that owner-occupiers would be able to get good bargains as there were many properties up for sale in the secondary market.

Property firm proprietor Michael Tay Chee Boon also said it was a buyers’ market now and interested parties could bargain or negotiate when it came to prices.

“Supply outstrips demand and most houseowners will be willing to negotiate, especially those facing financial constraints, ’’ he noted.

He advised those buying in the secondary market to look for properties that were in good condition, to avoid having to fork out extra money for renovations or repairs.

First-time housebuyers are also advised to put extra effort into scouting for housing estates that have many houses up for sale before signing the sale and purchase agreement.

“Put your negotiation skills to good use. If the first owner is reluctant to reduce the price, look for another one and only go for the best offer, ” said Tay.

He said prospective buyers should avoid going to a housing estate where there was no competition for the seller — the more properties there were for sale in a neighbourhood, the better for buyers.

“On the other hand, those owning more than three houses should consider selling one of them now as they can make between RM50,000 and RM100,000, ” he added.

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