Luxury condo market to remain subdued

An oversupply situation, as well as cautious buyer sentiment will see the luxury condominium segment remain subdued for the rest of the year.

According to Savills Malaysia’s latest Asian Cities report, there were 21,069 luxury residential units priced above RM800 per sq ft in Kuala Lumpur as of end-2014.

This represents a 21% increase year-on-year.

“Six new completions were recorded in Kuala Lumpur over the last quarter of 2014, with a total of 1,800 units.

“These projects include Setia Sky Residence Block C (Jalan Tun Razak), The Greens (TTDI) and Icon Residence Mont Kiara (Tower 1 & 2) at Dutamas KL.

“Luxury developments launched at the end of 2014 included The Residences @ Platinum Park along Jalan Stonor, KLCC and The Robertson (South Tower) at Jalan Pudu, KL.”

According to PPC International CEO (Agency) Siva Shanker, the property market has been experiencing a slowdown since the beginning of the year.

“In the first quarter, many people adopted a wait-and-see approach due to the goods and services tax (GST), which came into effect in April.

“In the second quarter, things were still quiet as people were still trying to digest the impact of the GST.”

Siva says the initial expectation was that the property market would have picked up by the second half of the year.

“However, the political situation at the moment is not really helping, and the plunging ringgit has also spooked many investors and buyers.

“So there’s a lot of worry at the moment and it’s causing turmoil in the market.”

Because of the oversupply situation, the luxury condo market is the hardest hit of all property sub-segments.

“Over the past few years, the market has been great.

“Developers jumped on the bandwagon to build these properties.

“Iskandar (Johor), Penang and KL are oversupplied with these properties, and when times are bad, it’s the sector with the oversupply that is most affected.”

According to Savills, the secondary market of the luxury condo sector in KLCC, Bangsar and Mont Kiara continued to see increases in values in 2014.

“Average transaction price for the three areas was RM871 per sq ft at the end of 2014. The secondary market in these prime locations continues to remain very attractive to buyers and investors, compared with new developments in other areas.”

Savills adds that asking rents saw some stability or little change in 2014, with rents in KLCC at about RM3.95 per sq ft month. Rents in Bangsar and Mont Kiara, meanwhile, stood at RM3.35 per sq ft per month and RM2.97 per sq ft per month respectively at the end of 2014.

On the outlook for the market this year, Savills says the subdued overall property market sentiment in 2014 is expected to extend into the second half of 2015.

“However, the weakening of the ringgit may attract foreign buyers as property prices will be more competitive.”

Siva says the current market situation will see prices falling as sellers struggle to find buyers.

“High-end condos will be difficult to sell. As such, asking prices will start to fall. This trend will cause buyers to perceive that the market is crashing, but that is not the case.

“Only asking prices are dropping, not their values.”

According to CH Williams Talhar & Wong’s (WTW) property market report 2015, the luxury condo segment saw a slowdown with fewer transaction activities recorded in 2014 compared with 2013.

“As of 2014, total luxury high-rise residential units was 31,402 units, with the prime locations being Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Ampang/U Thant, Kenny Hills, Mont’Kiara/Sri Hartamas and Golden Triangle area where luxury developments remained highly sought after by both foreign and local investors.

“Last year witnessed the completion of more serviced residences compared with condominium units. As recorded in 2014, serviced residence was 54% of the total cumulative supplies of high-rise residential, which had surpassed condominiums.

Newly completed serviced residences units were priced between RM701 and RM1,500 per sq ft.”

In Kuala Lumpur, WTW says the average transacted price per sq ft for luxury condominium had decreased 6.1%, to hover around RM1,070 psf in 2014.

“Luxury high-rise residential located outside the Golden Triangle area has seen an upward trend since 2011, with average transacted prices increased by 10.5% to RM840 per sq ft in 2014.”

It adds that there were few newer launches in 2014.

“These include Anjali North Kiara (365 units; RM580 per sq ft), Block B of Residensi 22 (270 units; RM800 per sq ft) and The Mews (256 units; RM1,700 per sq ft). “Serviced Residences developments that were launched in 2014 were Dorsett Residences (252 units; RM2,100 per sq ft), Ritz Carlton Residences (287 units, RM2,500 per sq ft) and The Establishment (646 units; RM1,200 per sq ft).”

Overall, average occupancy rate in Kuala Lumpur remained stable in 2014 at 68%, says WTW.

“Developments in Bangsar outperformed other localities, registering an average of 84% whilst Mont’Kiara/Sri Hartamas have seen only a satisfying occupancy rate, averaging at 61%.”

According to the report, condos that were completed in 2013 are still experiencing low occupancy rate in 2014 although all units were fully sold.

“Moving forward, the completion of on-going construction is expected to exert more pressure on the existing condominiums/serviced residences, resulting in the decrease of the average occupancy rate in 2015 and a more competitive rental market, one that is favourable to tenants.

The rest of 2015 is expected to be “lacklustre” as 2014 due to the stringent lending regulations and the implementation of GST where some buyers are cautious over their decision making, the report says. - By The Star