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    Oct 09, 2014

    Get tips on buying Malaysian property

    FOR many Singaporeans looking to buy real estate, investing in Malaysian property has become an option.

    One hot location is the Iskandar region in Johor.

    But instead of looking only at residential property, investors could start looking at industrial and commercial ones too, said Khalil Adis, founder of Khalil Adis Consultancy and brand ambassador for Iskandar Malaysia.

    He will be speaking at a My Paper Advance seminar about buying property in Johor and Sabah on Oct 19.

    "If we look at the latest investment figures as of June 30 from the Iskandar Regional Development Authority, the manufacturing sector accounted for the majority of investments at RM50.54 billion (S$19.7 billion) or 35 per cent of the total cumulative investment," explained Mr Adis.

    For the commercial property sector, there is a big opportunity for it to synergise with the huge supply of residential units in Johor, he added.

    According to last year's fourth-quarter data, there is an existing supply of more than 705,000 residential units, with over 118,000 homes being built and over 168,000 planned.

    "Existing and future home owners of these properties will definitely need access to nearby amenities such as retail, banks and supermarkets for their daily needs," said Mr Adis.

    Another speaker who will shed light on Malaysian real estate trends is Vincent Tan, head of Mah Sing Group's Singapore office.

    He said there is still a large supply-demand gap, in which supply cannot meet the rising demand for housing.

    Mr Tan noted that supply growth for properties has been on a downward trend since 2003, with Malaysia's supply growth last year at only 1.9 per cent. "This contributes to the increase in house prices and a strong take-up," he said.

    "The strong fundamentals driving the property market's growth in recent years have not changed. These include a younger population which forms new family groups, a rising middle-income group, a supply-demand gap for housing, continued urbanisation, attractive mortgage rates and stable employment conditions."

    Even so, there are some concerns about a housing glut in Iskandar and homes being left empty.

    Mr Adis said property hunters can still buy residential real estate in the region, but they must know the area and the surrounding industries well, considering the huge oversupply now in Iskandar.

    "If you are buying to rent, you will face a challenging market ahead as Iskandar Malaysia is three times the size of Singapore, yet the current population is only 1.6 million. This will put pressure on rental yields. Investors must take a long-term investment horizon in the light of this," he added.

    Two other speakers who will be at the seminar are Chris Tan and Richard Oon.

    Mr Chris Tan, founder and managing partner of Chur Associates, will go through some of the main factors investors should consider when buying Sabah properties, such as the pitfalls and incentives.

    Mr Oon, national tax director at TY Teoh International, will speak on the mechanics behind the impending goods and services tax (GST) roll-out in Malaysia and how it will affect real estate investors.

    The Advance seminar will be held at Singapore Press Holdings' News Centre Auditorium in Toa Payoh from 2pm to 5pm on Oct 19. There will be a registration fee of $5. Participants will receive goodie bags and refreshments.