Blueprint needed to address current housing woes

Every state has its own policies on housing with no guideline given on a specific framework that could be followed


THE housing industry is in need of an overall and consistent policy that can help the market recover in the medium-to-long term from the current doldrums that have been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia (PEPS) former president and VPC Alliance (M) Sdn Bhd Kuala Lumpur (KL) branch MD James Wong (left) said such a blueprint is important, as every state now has its own policies on housing with no guideline given on a specific framework that could be followed.

“This may help with the standardisation within the industry, as we now have so many ministries and local authorities related to housing, but each one of them is doing their own thing.

“Using a blueprint which includes big data research will help us analyse the locality for housing needs, and the areas that cater to affordable housing in the country,” he said at the 13th Malaysian Property Summit 2020 press conference in KL yesterday.

The national blueprint for the property industry is also included in PEPS’ wishlist for Budget 2021.

Wong also cited the previous government’s Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia project which saw houses built in wrong locations, which also dampened consumer demand.

“There should be a national blueprint, so that we can identify the weaknesses and shortcomings in the property industry and have a long-term holistic approach on related issues,” he added.

Wong said the downturn in the property market is expected to remain as the world is facing so many uncertainties, especially the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that there is no clear timeline on when the market will recover and the current sentiment will prolong throughout this year until the first half of next year (1H21).

However, Wong said although the property market is likely to remain flat, there will not be a collapse in the industry.

“We don’t expect the industry to plunge 20%, 30% or more. Bank Negara Malaysia has imposed very stringent guidelines to commercial banks and they have also raised their capital reserves ratio.

“So, even after this withdrawal of the loan moratorium in September, the market will certainly come under pressure, but it is not going to experience a collapse,” he added.

The property market had shown signs of recovery towards the end of 2019, but the momentum was interrupted by the pandemic that is also causing a global recession.

According to PEPS, offices, retail, hotel and leisure, and high-rise residentials are the most severely affected subsectors.

The slowdown was also evidenced by fewer new residential projects, with the number of new launches in 1H20 recording a total of 13,294 units, which is a 43.6% decline compared to 23,591 units in 1H19, as published in the National Property Information Centre report.

The report highlighted that the total volume and value of transactions in the property sector had reduced by 27.9% and 31.5% respectively in 1H20 compared to 1H19.

The total property overhang at 1H20 had also increased to 63,063 units valued at RM46.96 billion compared to 56,988 units in 2H19 valued at RM41.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Property Summit 2020 that is organised by PEPS will reconvene on Oct 13, a delay that is due to the pandemic.

The summit will see a host of panellists and speakers comprising valuers, land economists, property consultants, real estate investment analysts and professionals.

PEPS said this year’s theme, “Property Market Outlook — Beyond Covid-19” is timely and appropriate, as experts could share how the industry is performing.

It added that the objective is to demonstrate an authoritative view and the actual state of the property market in 2020, as well as 2021.