How is the Property Market Recovering?

iProperty.com.my shares Median transaction prices and PSF values of subsale residential property recovering in times of COVID-19 in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, and Johor before and after the pandemic (2018 vs 2021). Johor’s landed properties remain popular despite the influx of high-rise properties

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iProperty.com.my Sub-sale Residential Pricing Trends (2018-2021)

iProperty.com.my today revealed that median transaction price and median price per-square-foot (psf) values of subsale residential properties in 2021 are on an upward trend compared to figures recorded during the pre-pandemic period of 2018.

The median transaction price of subsale residential properties increased by 11.1% from RM315,000 in 2018 to RM350,000 in 2021 while the median psf value increased by 6.3% from RM215.41 in 2018 to RM228.91 in 2021. However, it should be noted that transaction volume in 2021 (124,996) is still below 2018’s figure (137,128). This shows that a higher median transaction price and median psf value do not necessarily equate to increased transaction volume.

The subsale residential property transaction data collected in 2018 and 2021* showcases pricing figures for landed properties (terrace houses, bungalows, and semi-detached houses) and high-rise properties (apartments, condominiums, and serviced apartments) across the four key states of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Johor.

How is the Property Market Recovering?
Sheldon Fernandez, Country Manager, PropertyGuru Malaysia (PropertyGuru.com.my and iProperty.com.my)

Sheldon Fernandez, Country Manager, PropertyGuru Malaysia (PropertyGuru.com.my and iProperty.com.my), said, “The median transaction prices and median psf values of subsale residential properties have not only recovered from pre-pandemic levels but increased in 2021 compared to 2018. The upward pricing movement in 2021 can be attributed to improved consumer sentiments after the successful rollout of Malaysia’s vaccination programme and the gradual relaxation of movement restrictions. We are now seeing heightened confidence trickling into the property market with improvements in certain pockets of the subsale housing market, reviving homeownership plans for some.”

“The fact that median prices continued to rise in 2021 while transaction volume decreased could indicate that buyers who purchased subsale residential property had solid financial footing and an appetite for value-priced properties. The combination of low-interest rates, depressed property prices, and stamp duty exemptions on the memorandum of transfer documents (MOT) and loan agreements for first-time homebuyers** provided an opportune moment for buyers with the proper means to jump into the market.”

Homebuyers were more inclined to purchase landed properties

In 2021, landed subsale residential properties have outperformed high-rise subsale residential properties in terms of median transaction price and transaction volume. Landed subsale residential properties recorded a median transaction price of RM367,200 in 2021, a 10.0% increase compared to RM333,760 in 2018 while high-rise subsale residential properties experienced a growth of 7.4% from RM270,000 to RM290,000 in 2021. Meanwhile, the transaction volume of landed subsale residential property experienced a 23.5% growth compared to the 13.9% recorded for high-rise subsale residential properties. Nevertheless, high-rise subsale residential properties recorded higher median psf values due to their generally smaller square footage compared to landed properties.

Overall, the improvement in homeownership sentiment can be attributed to several factors. According to Bank Negara Malaysia, the value of home loan applications grew by 86%, from RM96.4 billion in H1 2020 to RM179.4 billion in H1 2021 on the back of the record low 1.75% overnight policy rate (OPR). Out of all the landed property types, terrace houses are the top choice among property borrowers, with a 29% increase in loan application types. Demand for condominiums and apartments also grew by 5.2% and 11.7%, respectively.

Homebuyers focus on high-rise properties in Kuala Lumpur

In contrast to the national overview, high-rise properties received higher demand than landed properties in Kuala Lumpur, reflecting the capital city’s high number of strata residential buildings. In 2018, the median psf of condominiums/apartments was higher at RM460.48 compared to RM444.46 in 2021. The lower median psf values of condominiums/apartments proved to be attractive to homebuyers as there were 17,275 transactions for this property category compared to 6,442 transactions recorded by service apartments. From an investor’s perspective, the gradual recovery of condominiums/apartments’ median psf could become a catalyst for this property type continued popularity in Kuala Lumpur.

Spacious landed homes are the top choice in Selangor

In Selangor, terrace houses recorded the highest transaction volume in 2021 compared to other property types (18,139). The pandemic has changed the living preference of urbanised citizens who are now seeking to balance work and lifestyle needs. As a result, terrace houses became the top choice for homebuyers in Selangor, particularly affordable and spacious terrace houses located in the suburban areas of the state. In the same year, the median psf value of terrace houses topped RM357.32, a rise of 5.4% from 2018’s figure of RM339.06. The popularity of terrace houses and the median psf value gains of most landed properties in Selangor suggest that this is where homebuyers and investors should focus their attention in 2022.

Low demand for serviced apartments in Penang; flats received better demand

Penang’s serviced apartments witnessed the highest median psf value growth in 2021 at RM526.82, marking a 22.5% increase from RM430.04 in 2018. However, this property type registered the lowest transaction volume pre- and post-pandemic (224). One of the reasons could be the low investment appetite among homebuyers, as serviced apartments traditionally appeal to investors looking for long-term rental income. Flats proved to be the most popular type of housing in Penang, with a total transaction of 2,939 in 2021. This is likely driven by a previous shortage of affordable homes in the state. In terms of median psf, flats recorded a 4.7% growth (RM274.49) in 2021 compared to 2018 (RM262.12).

Johor’s landed properties remain popular despite the influx of high-rise properties

In Johor, homebuyers continue to prefer landed subsale residential properties and have shown less appetite for newly launched high-rise properties. In 2021, terrace houses registered a median psf value of RM255.03, an increase of 11.6% from RM 228.51 in 2018. As opposed to the focus on condominiums/apartments in Kuala Lumpur, Johor homebuyers identify with landed properties as the most ideal living space. As terrace houses continue to represent a comparatively affordable option in the state, homebuyers will likely continue to be attracted to the prospect of more space and comfort while prices continue to be at an attainable cost.

H2 2022 property market outlook

“In 2021, we observed two general preferences among homebuyers and investors in Malaysia’s four major states – home spaciousness and affordability. Purchasers in Selangor and Johor favour spacious landed homes. In contrast, Kuala Lumpur and Penang purchasers prefer more affordable high-rise properties. Moving forward, we foresee these consumer trends to continue. However, buying and investing activity might be impacted by the latest hike in the overnight policy rate (OPR) to 2.25% and macroeconomic uncertainty affecting the global economy. There could be another OPR hike before the end of 2022 – this could further affect the buying and investing sentiment,” added, Sheldon Fernandez, Country Manager, PropertyGuru Malaysia (PropertyGuru.com.my and iProperty.com.my)

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*Raw data is sourced from the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) and then analysed by PropertyGuru DataSense, the data, analytics and solutions arm of PropertyGuru Group. We have also taken steps to ensure that any outliers have been removed to mitigate data distortion. Transaction data in the release represents an official record of a property transaction once the stamp duty for the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) has been paid during the years 2018 and 2021, respectively.
**Announced under Budget 2021, the stamp duty exemptions for memorandum of transfer documents (MOT) and loan agreements are for first-time homebuyers who purchase a residential property from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025. The exemptions are applicable to homes priced up to RM500,000 and the SPA must be executed and signed within the stipulated period.