Malaysian developers are turning their attention to Hong Kong, which is currently experiencing prolonged anti-government protests, with Mah Sing Group being the latest company to join the bandwagon of developers heading there.
Mah Sing CEO Datuk Ho Hon Sang said Hong Kong investors showed “renewed interest” for Malaysian properties for retirement or as second home.
“We believe that the Malaysian market is appealing to Hong Kong buyers due to our political and cultural stability. The timing is right for us to focus more on Hong Kong,” said Ho.
Others who have sought for opportunities in Hong Kong included ParkCity Property Holdings Sdn Bhd with Singapore-based CapitaLand group and SP Setia group.
“If someone whacks a beehive hard, you would expect the bees to disperse. Some would go explore Malaysia, some to Thailand, some to Singapore and so on. But each new potential hive has its appeal,” said Savills’ research and consultancy executive director Alan Cheong.
Meanwhile, Lee Heng Guie, executive director at Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC), said the time is ripe for Malaysia to review its foreign purchases policy due to significant inflows of funds from Hong Kong and China looking for property investments in several ASEAN countries.
“In Budget 2020, the Government can consider to review the minimum thresholds for foreign ownership of properties as well as the state levy for foreign property purchase. The weak ringgit also provides an opportune time for foreigners to buy Malaysian properties,” he said.
“The persistent overhang in residential and commercial properties require urgent attention and prompt policy intervention,” Lee added.
According to him, the overhang will create a reverberating effect on the economy because it is a sub-sector of the construction sector.
“A protracted consolidation and over-adjustment in the property sector would drag down overall construction sector,” he noted.
Lee said the total overhang of residential properties in Q1 2019 remained high. It grew 30.7 percent to 32,936 units, with a value of RM20 billion, compared to 25,193 units valued at RM15.7 billion in Q1 2018.
The number of overhang units for commercial properties, on the other hand, rose 25.5 percent from 4,361 units in Q1 2018 to 5,472 units in Q1 2019.