Interest in landed properties
Published on: Tuesday, June 30, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: There is renewed interest in landed properties following the June 5 earthquake but many real estate agents believe it may be temporary. GS Realty's Louis Lo said he received more calls for terrace or semi-detached units. Despite the scarcity and higher value of such properties, some clients actually voiced their concerns over the integrity of high-rise apartments not being able to withstand future stronger earthquakes.

"It seems interest has turned more to safety and money is not entirely the issue," he said. WTW Realty's Helen Jong believes it is still too soon to say the earthquake had affected home-buying sentiment.

She only came across one client who decided to sell his condominium to purchase a landed property to date.

However, Jong felt it is not a good idea to sell them at the moment. "If I'm a buyer, now is the time to buy as the 'fear factor' (earthquakes) would make house owners want to sell their homes at a lower price.

"But if I'm a property owner, I will keep my property until next year. Unless money is needed urgently, then might as well settle for a reasonable price from agents," she said.

Prices of landed properties in much of the West Coast currently ranges between RM500,000 and RM750,000, according to the Sabah Housing and Real-Estate Developers Association (Shareda) 2014 annual report.

Of 15,388 units of homes scheduled to be built this year, less than 3,674 units are landed properties, while the rest consists of mixed and high-rise apartments, it added.

Meanwhile, Rayne and Horne International boss Ramli Osman believed the impact is only temporary as Malaysia is not located within the earthquake prone zone.

"I think (the fear) is temporary, and people are quick to forget," he said.

Besides, he said, the financial limitations of the majority of middle income earners at the moment would not be able to break into the higher landed property market.

YYY Properties' Ngui Poh meanwhile dismissed there had been any worry about the high-rise developments after the recent earthquakes.

Instead, he said the existing property market had been slow for some time largely due to uncertainties like the Goods and Services Tax, slowing economy and tightening of borrowing policies.

"People are not so sensitive about the earthquake … or if there had been any worries about high-rise developments, it had so far not done any major damage to properties in the city," he said.

And although the prices of landed properties had always been high, interest in the segment had not faltered even before the earthquake.

Jegan Realty agent Christopher Tan echoed the sentiment, saying the recent incidents may not have a serious impact on the business.

"For the time being there is no impact yet … as most of the properties I'm selling are located in low-lying areas," he said.

"There's always interest in properties … I just rented out a few condominiums to students at 1Borneo and so far no complaint yet," said Tan, adding that he had yet to find any cracks or peeling on any properties here.

Meanwhile, land brokers who deal with lands in Ranau and Kundasang are claiming to find it is hard to lock on a sale at the moment.

According to one Louis, calls from investors who buy land to build resorts in the area had stopped ever since the earthquake.

A private land owner who only wished to be known as Lie however said calls had been flooding with inquiries for the 10 acres he owns in Ranau, but no one has yet to come up with a good offer.

Lie put up his land for sale in May through buying-selling portal Mudah.my for RM200,000.

"The land is quite far from the epicentre of the quake, it is safe and the whole plot is filled with quality timber," he said.

Another land owner Edward Rovenstone has put up his 2.52 acre of agriculture land in holiday spot Kundasang on sale for RM3.6 million since May, but until today no one has shown interest.


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