Thursday, January 28, 2010

Malaysia property market to ride on new wave of interest

CB RICHARD Ellis (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (CBRE), a real estate services company, expects the number of property transactions in the country to improve this year, thanks to a new wave of interest from local and foreign institutional funds.

Executive chairman Christopher Boyd said there is strong buying interest from Singaporean, Hong Kong, Korean and Arab investors, looking for new office buildings in the Klang Valley and Penang.

"Interest comes from as far as Ireland. They (investors) are core funds looking for completed and well-tenanted buildings in recognised locations. This augurs well for the rental market," Boyd said after a ceremony to mark the change of name of Regroup Associates to CBRE in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He said there is a possibility that the value of property transactions in the Klang Valley will exceed RM4 billion this year as it expects more than 30 major deals.

There were 28 major transactions worth some RM3.5 billion in the second half of 2009, involving purchase of land, office buildings and residential towers.

A bulk of the buyers were local funds, including the Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Bhd, and developers eyeing expansion.

"We have a few investors from overseas who are looking at some property deals. They are international funds with huge capital to spend," Boyd said.

Boyd also warned property developers to be cautious over the next six to nine months of over-launching their commercial projects as there is a strong possibility of a double dip in the West in the second half of 2010, which may impact the Southeast Asian market.

"Developers will be tempted to think it's all over but it's too soon to think that. While we don't anticipate a crash, we are also not expecting any major upturn. But overall, we expect the market here to be stable in terms of capital value and rental value," Boyd said.

He added that said average rental rates of commercial space in Kuala Lumpur remains stable at RM6 to RM6.50 per sq ft, although it is 15 per cent lower from a year ago. Rentals for Grade A offices stood at RM7 per sq ft as at the end of 2009.

Office capital values are expected to remain steady throughout 2010 at between RM800 and RM1,200 per sq ft.

Earlier, Regroup changed its name to CBRE after signing an affiliate agreement last December with CB Richard Ellis Group Inc, a US-based real estate corporation.

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