By Dave Avran
AS this is our last article for this year, we’d like to address those predicting a gloomy and depressing 2017 incoming in a few days. These doomsayers and naysayers are spooking people that Malaysia is in for turbulent times next year.
They say that weakening economic conditions, weak ringgit, low oil prices, high price of property, unavailability of financing, socio-economic and political tension make things very uncertain next year. Uncertain as they are, they are however certain that Malaysia and Malaysians will sink next year.
Admittedly the economy is slowing down, but this is a worldwide phenomenon and not just limited to Malaysia only. The difference is that Malaysia has a Prime Minister who has taken decisive and aggressive action to revive our sluggish economy through wide-ranging infrastructure development.
For property, the bright spots likely to generate strong interest next year are transit-oriented developments (TODs) and the rejuvenation of strategic and established townships.
Locations and developments on the fringes of Greater Kuala Lumpur will naturally generate more interest as their affordability will draw buyers from the city.
2017’s residential and commercial development hotspots will be along the MRT lines and where the TODs are planned.
Due to the timelines for their completion, the primary market will be along the MRT line 2 from Sungei Buloh, Serdang to Putrajaya, LRT line 3 from Bandar Utama to Klang, while the secondary residential market will be around the MRT line 1 stations from Sungei Buloh to Kajang.
As an example we can look at Damansara Heights which previously was not serviced by any LRT or MRT service.
Growth centres for 2017 are likely to be at Bukit Bintang City Center (Pudu including Jalan Cochrane), The Tun Razak Exchange (Jalan Tun Razak), Bandar Malaysia (Sg Besi, including Jalan Chan Sow Lin and the KL – Singapore High Speed Rail Station). These projects attract huge foreign interest and investment, particularly from China, again due to the PM’s efforts in increasing our economic and trade relations.
The 350km Singapore High Speed Rail is estimated to cost between RM50 to RM60 billion and will cut travelling time to 90 minutes. The targeted completion is in 2026.
Then there’s the East Coast Railway Line expected to be completed in 2022, costing RM55 billion and to be launched in phases to connect Port Klang, Integrated Transport Terminal Gombak, Bentong, Mentakab, Kuantan, Kemaman, Kerteh, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bahru and Tumpat.
Infrastructure development in East Malaysia is not left out, with Sabah Development Corridor’s RM311 million Kota Kinabalu Bus Rapid Transit, new Kota Kinabalu Airport, Redevelopment of Kota Kinabalu Port, Sabah International Convention Center, LRT system, Lahad Datu Airport upgrade, new railway lines to connect the north and east coasts and of course the RM27 billion Pan Borneo Highway with 730 km in Sabah and 1000 km in Sarawak.
Besides the Pan Borneo Highway, Sarawak gains three major bridge projects at a combined cost of RM1.4bil to connect its coastal highway from Kuching to the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
Spanning 5km across the Batang Lupar river, the Batang Lupar Bridge costing RM1bilion is set to become the longest to cross a river in the country. The RM300mil Batang Igan Bridge and RM130mil Batang Rambungan Bridge are currently at the planning stage.
Once these mammoth projects are completed, it will change the economic landscape of Sarawak by improving economic activities and providing efficient and smoother land links particularly in agroculture, aquaculture and tourism sectors.
In closing, many will indeed be cautious about the economy in 2017. However for savvy Malaysians it could actually be the right time to go shopping for property. Reality dictates that the best time to buy is most probably when demand is faltering and most people are not buying.
In a market when property sales are slow and there are many houses for sale, prospective buyers have an edge as they can pick up a house relatively cheap. Do remember that while the naysayers are saying that we are currently facing an economic crisis, there has been no official declaration that we are indeed facing one.
Happy Holidays and a blessed 2017.