UK remains top choice for Malaysian homebuyers

by FARA AISYAH/ pic by BLOOMBERG

THE UK remains at the top of the list for many Malaysia-based families who are seeking the perfect location for higher education, says Knight Frank Malaysia associate director for international residential project marketing Dominic Heaton-Watson.

“The ‘lock-down lift-off’ saw a release of pent up demand and return to pre-pandemic levels of activity.

“The stamp duty holiday recently announced by the UK government certainly sparked a great deal of interest and continues to do so, while the cheap, low-interest-rate environment is likely to be around for the foreseeable future,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The stamp duty holiday recently announced by the UK govt certainly sparked a great deal of interest and continues to do so, says Heaton-Watson – TMRpic

He added that Malaysia-based clients buying into the prime central London market are effectively enjoying a circa 23% discount from 2016 prices based on currency and price moderations. The Knight Frank Global Buyer Survey — representing the views of over 700 clients across 44 countries — revealed that buyers expect some property prices to fall over the next 12 months.

Of the 56% respondents that expect prices to fall over the next 12 months, 27% expect prices to fall by less than 10%, 25% expect no change while 19% expect prices to increase.

Some 53% of buyers believe their budget has either remained the same or increased since the start of the crisis.

However, over 30% of respondents believe their budget has declined by over 10% since the start of the crisis, as a result of companies having to implement cost-saving initiatives.

One in four people surveyed said they were more likely to move in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, with most of these respondents seeking a different property in the same location (40%).

Some 26% said they are willing to move to a different property elsewhere in the same country and 34% of those considering a move are considering a purchase abroad.

The report also found that the UK, Spain and France top the list of preferred destinations to purchase a home, followed by Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the US.

Heaton-Watson said countries that offer a good quality of life, political stability, transparent laws, a secure currency, excellent education systems and in normal times are easily accessible were attractive to the survey respondents.

Meanwhile, he said the period of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order allowed the consultancy’s clients’ time to reflect on what they want from a home.

“Nearly two-thirds of respondents in the Global Buyer Survey 2020 say they are more likely to work from home post-lockdown, which explains why 64% say a home office is now more important.

“Our Malaysia-based clients who invest overseas have taken this into account when reviewing property investments in safe-haven destinations like London where having a second bedroom as flexible workspace has become popular,” Heaton-Watson said.

He added that Knight Frank’s residential advisors in the capital have seen a marked increase in enquiries for landed properties.

Some 32% of the respondents say their working lifestyle will remain the same as before, suggesting the office still has an important role to play as a hub for innovation, collaboration, education and socialisation.

Unsurprisingly, 66% of respondents said large gardens and outdoor space are more important, with the lockdown period having emphasised the connection between wellbeing and the great outdoors.

Privacy is also in demand with 52% of respondents saying it’s more important and 33% are more likely to want an annexe for family members, with Covid-19 perhaps underlining the desire to have elderly or extended family members close by.