The Edge Investment Forum draws in the crowd

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KUALA LUMPUR: Despite road closures in parts of the Klang Valley amid the Bersih 3.0 rally, readers of The Edge weekly managed to make their way to The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate 2012 last Saturday morning.

Held at the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Bukit Kiara, the forum themed “Investing in uncertain times” drew in a crowd of nearly 600 people with some having to stand along the aisles in the hall.

This was the sixth annual forum organised exclusively for The Edge readers. This year’s forum was presented by the Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) and supported by Sunway Property.

“Real estate is a hot topic. Astute investors, and I am sure there are many among us this morning, will tell you that there is no such thing as a good or bad time to invest in property. Any time is a good time; if you know how,” said The Edge managing director Au Foong Yee in her opening remarks.

The forum began with a lively session from Previndran Singhe, CEO of Zerin Properties who gave an overview of the Malaysian property market and the outlook for the coming year. He told forum participants that the key to investments for the next few years would be to look at the long term.

(From left) Lim, Boyd and Ahmad Zaini fielding questions from the audience during the panel discussion at The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate.

The Edge readers waiting at the entrance to the hall before the start of The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate 2012.

Next up was Ho Chin Soon, director of Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd, who provided an insight into some growth areas based on several upcoming transport infrastructure projects in the country in his talk entitled “Infrastructure growth in Greater Kuala Lumpur, Iskandar and Penang: Where to put your money”.

This was followed by a panel discussion themed “Buy now or wait?” which saw panelists Christopher Boyd, executive chairman of CB Richard Ellis (M) Sdn Bhd; Datuk Ahmad Zaini Othman, MBSB CEO and Daniel Lim, COO of the property development division of Sunway Group, sharing their views on the topic.

All three agreed that in times of uncertainty, investors would need to be more selective, to choose developers with good track records and to consider the global economic situation.

“If you are buying to invest, you really need to study and know the market. If you’re buying for own use, anytime is a good time,” said Ahmad Zaini.

Lim said property prices will continue to increase due to lack of availability of land in prime locations, a steady increase in land prices and high prices of building materials, among others.

The audience found the forum informative and interesting. Forum attendee May Lin, 28, a third time attendee, said the speakers were very engaging. “It is a good place for us to learn how to gauge and invest in the property market,” she said.

Tony Kok, 56, a first time forum attendee, said he will look forward to next year’s forum. “Given the content of today’s forum, I will make it a point to sign up early next year,” he said.

Forum attendees also took the opportunity to check out the latest products at the booths of MBSB and Sunway Property at the entrance to the hall.

For the full coverage of The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate 2012, read the coming May 7 issue of City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge weekly.

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, April 30, 2012.