Malaysia's mortgage market to benefit from big data — expert

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 3): The Malaysian mortgage market could benefit from the use of big data for a more comprehensive view of the overall property sector, according to property data firm Urbanmetry Sdn Bhd.

This is because readily available data could help with quantifying possible risks of property development funded by the banks, expediting mortgage application process for clients, and identifying more home financing solutions, said its founder and chief executive officer Koh Cha-Ly, adding that the company is hoping to collaborate with banks starting this year.

Additionally, funds and investment banks could use the better data to model the health of property stocks and the overall property market, she said.

According to Koh, the adoption of a big data system in the Malaysian housing market may be challenging given the fragmented data sets across government segments — such as in the ministry, agencies, or local councils — but it is necessary for better informed decisions based on market value and risks.

"When the [Housing and Local Government] Minister said the big data system is not there, it is correct, up to a point. The data itself is there, the problem is [putting] it together in a system is pretty difficult," she said, while adding that it took Urbanmetry three years to collect data for its own database.

Koh was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the "Constructing and Financing Affordable Housing across Asia" two-day conference jointly organised by Cagamas and the World Bank Group here today.

In an earlier panel session, she pointed out that besides the mortgage market, property developers, with the use of big data, are able to gauge market movements from beginning stages of land acquisition up until product launches, which is useful as absorption rates in each market differs.

"Property developers work with us, and look to us to provide data for due diligence activities before they launch their properties to reduce their risk.

"Even for affordable housing, people are choosing where they live based on where they work. Property developers can no longer — even in a mature middle income country like ours — think that they can build [anywhere] and expect buyers," she said.

Urbanmetry's clients include Bursa Malaysia-listed property developers Sime Darby Property Bhd, Sunsuria Bhd, UEM Sunrise Bhd, Guocoland (M) Bhd, as well as Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd, the privately-owned property arm of Naza Group, amongst others.