This is the best time to bargain hunt choice property. Better now than when the market goes upswing as Sabah has become one of the preferred destination for many foreigners intending to settle in Malaysia through the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) scheme.
Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) President Eric Lim said this in his address at the opening of the 2nd Malaysian Secondary and Primary Property Exhibition - MASPEX Sabah 2017 on Friday (17 November) at the Imago Mall.
He called on MIEA members and real estate industry practitioners to look at MM2H to expand their horizon to market Sabah properties internationally and grow by seizing such opportunities to tap into this new growing market demand for Sabah properties.
Lim noted that Sabah is attracting investors from neighbouring countries including Japan, Korea and Taiwan with China being the biggest contributor due to Sabah's strategic location and close proximity leading to shorter time travel to and from these countries.
"Sabah's tourism industry in 2016, has achieved an all-time high record of 3.43 million tourist arrivals and RM7.25 billion tourism receipts.
"International visitors alone saw a 15.4 percent increase and China was the biggest contributor, recording a 51.8 percent increase from the year before as reported," Lim recalled, adding that projects under the Sabah Development Corridor Blueprint and tourism industry are set to underpin the State's economic growth and boost demand for properties.
"From my experience over the last twenty years, there is no good or bad time to invest in properties especially when the economy is stable and employment is strong.
"Actually, now is the best time to bargain hunting and negotiate for the best deals. Sellers are more flexible and are willing to negotiate.
"Do not wait until the market improves. When the market improves, sellers will be holding back for better pricing and it is tougher to negotiate for good deals," Lim said.
He said the property is always a natural hedge against inflation.
"Property prices will continue to climb higher, probably less when the economy is slow.
Land are scarce and the prices never go down. Building materials too, the prices are going higher.
So you can't expect the price to come down," Lim opined.
MASPEX was initially targeting mainly on secondary properties but with the involvement of estate agency firms in marketing primary properties, we have now included showcasing of primary properties or properties under construction, he said.
"Despite homebuyers and property investors complaining difficulties to get property loans, many of our members and negotiators are busy and making good deals.
"But they have to work harder to get the deals concluded. Nowadays, home buyers and investors have more options and selections and they are very careful in their decision making," the MIEA president elaborated.
Lim claimed that historical data and experience shows that property exhibition has generated good leads where potential home buyers spent time visiting exhibition booths to get their best buy.
He said most other exhibitions only caters to new launches but MIEA is the only organiser that caters to both secondary properties and new launches.
"Many preferred completed properties as they can inspect the property, the workmanship and its actual conditions. Some could not wait for years for the properties to be completed."
"Based on JPPH's recent preliminary property market brief 2017, the volume of the transaction for 2017 is recorded at RM67.82 billion which depicts a positive 5 percent increase compared to RM64.6 billion in 2016.
"The residential sub-sector accounts for 48.4 percent of the said total volume transactions in 2017.
A total of 94,992 residential transactions was recorded in 2017 of which 83 percent are derived from the secondary market.
"This statistics clearly show that the secondary market is still very much active despite the current market sentiments.
The MIEA president explained: "To all real estate practitioners and home buyers, financing is the key to home ownership. We understand banks have to be prudent in their lending but certainly we need banks to be more flexible or even more creative especially lending to the young or first home ownership."
Lim notes that home ownership affordability has been an issue especially in the B40 and M40 segments.
On the affordable home especially for the B40, both the Federal and State governments have created many programmes to cater to the needs of this segment.
He was appreciative that at the Federal level, in the recent announcement of the Budget 2018, several measures and incentives were announced for the property market.
These are MyDeposits and the Step-Up Financing Scheme to help alleviate the initial financial burden of property purchase.
"The Budget also promotes the growth of rental market compared to home ownership under the concept of House Owning Democracy whereby a tax exemption of 50 percent on rental income up to RM2,000 per month is given from 2018 to 2020," he stressed to the audience.