1: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Good: Low transaction costs, high yields for luxury apartments, reforms improved rental market. Bad:High rental income tax, pro-tenant rental market.
The economy is slowing, the ringgit is depreciating, and there’s a political scandal affecting Prime Minister Najib Razak. House prices in Malaysia continue to rise, but at a slower pace, and transactions are slightly down and residential construction activity is slowing.
During the year to end-Q3 2015, the nationwide house price index rose by 5.43% (2.74% inflation-adjusted), down from an annual rise of 7.88% the previous year and the lowest increase since Q3 2009, according to the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH). On a quarterly basis, the index increased 0.8% (0.2% inflation-adjusted) in Q3 2015.
Malaysia’s average house price stood at MYR312,050 (US$72,519) in Q3 2015, up by 5.41% (2.72% inflation-adjusted) from a year earlier.
By property type:
- Terraced house average prices rose by 5.4% (2.7% inflation-adjusted) to MYR278,223 (US$64,658) during the year to Q3 2015
- High-rise residential properties‘ average price rose by 6% (3.3% inflation-adjusted) y-o-y to MYR296,826 (US$68,981)
- Detached house average prices rose by 4.1% (1.4% inflation-adjusted) y-o-y to MYR524,260 (US$121,835)
- Semi-detached house average prices increased 6% (3.3% inflation-adjusted) y-o-y to MYR469,823 (US$109,185)
Negeri Sembilan registered the highest y-o-y house price increase, at 7.3% (4.6% inflation-adjusted) during the year to end-Q3 2015, followed by Perlis(7.2%), Sarawak (6.7%), and Perak (6.6%).
Other areas with strong annual price rises included Selangor (6.2%), Kedah(6.1%), Kuala Lumpur (5.3%), Sabah (5.3%), and Terengganu (5.2%). Modest house price increases were seen in Pulau Pinang (3.5%), Melaka (3.3%),Pahang (3%), and Johor (3%). Only Kelantan saw a house price decline of 0.2% (-2.8% inflation-adjusted) during the year to end-Q3 2015.
Kuala Lumpur has the most expensive housing in Malaysia, with an average price of MYR718,755 (US$167,035) in Q3 2015. In contrast, Perlis had the cheapest, at an average house price of MYR156,324 (US$36,329).
Malaysia’s property market is expected to remain weak in the coming months, with house price rises slowing further next year.
Malaysia’s economic growth is expected to slow to 4.7% this year and to 4.5% in 2016, due to tighter fiscal conditions, according to the World Bank.
The ongoing political uncertainty is undermining confidence. PM Najib Razak has been engulfed by a scandal alleging that he had spent US$700 million from an Arab donor to ensure the victory of the United Malay National Organization (UMNO) in the 2013 elections. Worse, the government’s seeming lack of interest in probing the matter has seriously eroded trust in government institutions.