The decline in property sales in Malaysia slowed down in the first nine months of last year (9M 2017), according to the latest data from the Valuation and Property Services Department's (JPPH).
Based on statistics from JPPH's National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), sales fell 4.33 percent to 229,529 units in 9M 2017 compared to 239,919 units in the same period in the previous year. In 9M 2016, transactions decreased by 5.72 percent on an annual basis.
Both are lower than the 11.5 percent year-on-year drop recorded for the whole of 2015.
"The overall market activity is recording a lower rate of decline compared to the past two years. In my opinion, the property market is still holding up and transactions are still taking place, indicating that there is still demand for properties, provided the right kind of products at the right price and location are available in the market" said JPPH Director-General Nordin Daharom.
"Malaysia's property market is gradually adjusting to the changing economic environment, financial landscape and buyers' sentiment. In a way, we are probably seeing the property market reaching a new normal.â€
Nevertheless, he thinks that properties in Klang Valley will remain sought-after due to the area's vibrant economy and the government's incentives for the residential sector.
According to CBRE|WTW Managing Director Foo Gee Jen, the country's housing segment is forecasted to be "wobblyâ€ in 2018 due to demand-supply mismatches, with the prevalence of expensive properties and those in unattractive locations. In fact, based on the consultancy's latest data, there was an oversupply of 24,613 units comprising serviced apartments and SOHOs as of the second quarter of 2017.
"The residential housing market will recover when sales improve and the balance of unsold stock is cleared, but this has not happened yet. On top of that, some fundamental structural changes are needed. Until these changes are realised, we do not expect a meaningful recovery any time soon.â€
Meanwhile, PPC International Penang Executive Director Mark Saw reckoned that commercial properties in Malaysia's northern region will continue to struggle this year, while houses there will remain in demand.
"2017 has been a challenging year and transactions have again dipped, but certain sectors have remained active, such as the affordable housing sector and select high-end developments. Hence, I foresee the property market to continue being sector-specific in 2018.â€