Iskandar builders cautiously optimistic


JOHOR BARU: Property developers in Iskandar Malaysia are cautiously optimistic on the property market outlook next year and many are anticipating a tough year ahead.

Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) branch chairman Hoe Mee Ling said developers must be prepared to face challenges in the Year of the Goat.

“Hopefully, our members are ready for the hard times and should plan their launches carefully to avoid property overhang,” she told StarBiz.

Hoe expected many Johor Rehda members to adopt a wait-and-see approach in the first half of 2015, to gauge the direction of the property market in Iskandar Malaysia.

She said: “However, this is nothing unusual or new as developers in the Klang Valley and Penang are also adopting a similar approach.”

Hoe said the Malaysian Property Exposition (Mapex), to be held this month, would give a clearer picture on the Iskandar Malaysia property outlook and how developers would cope with the uncertainties and challenges.

Hoe said 2013 was the best year for the 30-odd members of Johor Rehda who participated in the Mapex held here in May and November.

She said these members raked in a combined RM3bil in sales over a one-month period.

“It would be an achievement if they could repeat the sales figure for this year’s event,” added Hoe.

The 30-day period starting from the first day of Mapex is the benchmark used by Rehda to determine the value of sales by participating developers.

She pointed out that the last five to six years were considered good for most Johor property developers as they were able to keep the number of unsold properties to a minimium.

Hoe said local developers had learnt their lesson well from the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis when many were caught unaware which resulted in many abandoned projects and unsold properties.

She said Iskandar Malaysia would continue to push the demand for properties in south Johor and would help to mitigate the expected slow growth in Johor’s property market next year.

“Many have given their thumbs-up to Iskandar Malaysia as they can see the landscape of south Johor changing over the last eight years.” said Hoe.

She told developers not to be overly ambitious and be more realistic when launching a project in 2015 and their focus should be more on products that could sell in view of the unfavourable property market.

Hoe advised them to go for affordable residential properties as the demand was good especially in Iskandar Malaysia as there were many potential first-time house owners there.

She said first-time house buyers normally went for houses priced within their budgets, with no-frill designs as what was important was “to have a roof over their heads”.


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