Real estate sector to continue to be vibrant post-GE13

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THE real estate market in Malaysia continues to be active in terms of transactions and will continue to be vibrant in the long term, Zerin Properties CEO Previndran Singhe tells City & Country.

"Recently, both condos and landed homes were mopped up by cash-flush investors in traditional locations in the Klang Valley, including Bangsar, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Mont'Kiara, Damansara Heights and Cheras," he remarks.

Previndran says these movements were generally on the secondary market, although primary launches also saw some success.

He believes this will continue post-general election 2013. "We see the same strong trend with prices inching up, barring any external shocks. Real estate is a long-term play," he observes.

As for commercial properties, Previndran says landlords should take advantage of the fact that certain industries are looking to expand in the region.

"Office space is in the same expansion mode as last year. In other words, there is demand for more such space for the likes of oil and gas and financial companies. This is mainly due to the government's expansionary economic policies. However, for now, there seems to be a bit of wait and see for some other industries. Those with strong fundamentals are still expanding," he adds.

In terms of investment transactions, Previndran notes that developers are actively looking for and buying land in strategic locations.

"There seems to be landbanking activity in good locations by big corporate names and interest in medium-sized transactions (of below RM100 million) of commercial properties. This is seen in S P Setia Bhd's recent acquisition of KLCC land as well as other land transactions along the mass rapid transit lines such as Kajang as well as in Iskandar Malaysia in Johor. Penang has also been active with local and out-of-Penang investors (Malaysians and otherwise). Sabah is flat for now," he comments.

According to Previndran, the hot spots for real estate investments are locations with scarce land supply, including Iskandar Malaysia and Penang, and traditional areas in the Klang Valley such as Bangsar, TTDI, Mont'Kiara, Damansara Heights and Cheras.

So when is a good time to buy properties? "As long as loans are cheap and there is economic and urbanisation growth," says Previndran. "I will be looking at the aforementioned hot spots and also new locations like Kajang and Semenyih. I prefer residential properties as a whole, but for commercial ones, good locations are those with new lifestyle-based features [parking space, lifts and so on] such as Glomac Galleria in Sri Hartamas and Equine Boulevard."

Previndran will be speaking at The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate 2013 titled "New Frontiers in Malaysian real estate investment" on May 11. He will offer his views on the current performance of the property sector and what property investors can expect for the rest of the year, especially post-GE13.

Organised by The Edge, the forum is held annually and participation is free for The Edge readers on a first-come, first- served basis. The sponsors of the forum this year are Malaysia Building Society Bhd and Sunway Bhd. Registration opens on April 22 This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of Apr 15 - 21, 2013.