PropertyGuru: Developers need to change their approach

by FARA AISYAH / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Developers are advised to change their approach in building new homes as buyers demand have changed following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PropertyGuru Malaysia Consumer Sentiment Study showed that Malaysians are more willing to consider properties from a wider pool of developers, as long as these players can deliver the features they want at the price points they demand.

With regard to developers, Malaysians were more likely to value reputation (83%), portfolio of past projects (77%) and recent track record (77%) over factors such as public listing status.

Only 31% of respondents preferred listed players when looking for a property.

Other factors home seekers consider when evaluating developers include financial incentives, discounts and cash back offers (68%), quality of interior fittings provided (66%) and developer’s financial stability (58%).

“This highlights again the need for developers to change their approach, and is particularly relevant in light of recent proposals for a vacancy tax and rent and price controls, as well as the impact of the movement control order (MCO) on sales and cash flows,” PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez said in a statement yesterday.

“You must build what people need. Matching market supply to demand is no longer an option, but a matter of survival,” he added.

The study also revealed that more Malaysian home seekers are looking for room to grow when evaluating properties.

Low project density (61%), spacious floor layouts and more lifts per floor (40%) were among the project features most frequently cited by study respondents as desirable.

Despite this, 42% also shared they were more price-sensitive following Covid-19 pandemic, as Malaysians safeguard spending ahead of a projected recession.

As property stakeholders strive to find their footing post-Covid-19, these findings underscore the need for local players to focus on value-driven offerings addressing current market gaps to remain relevant.

“The current emphasis on space and pricing among potential purchasers is attributed to months of restricted movement and income loss amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

“In development terms, these are usually mutually exclusive, as square footage is a fundamental component of cost,” Fernandez said.

Aside from space and developer considerations, respondents also cited ventilation and natural lighting (63%), high-speed internet infrastructure and Internet of Things (IoT) fixtures (60%) and smart cooling and energy savings systems (53%) as more important to them following the MCO.

Integrated fitness and business facilities were the least desired (37%) project feature, which can be attributed to the fact that many were inaccessible during the MCO period.

In terms of location, the impact of localised Covid-19 outbreaks on property seeking patterns was minor, with just 20% of respondents sharing they would avoid designated red zones or properties placed under enhanced MCO measures respectively.