Global growth slowdown as well as trade tensions has put a dampener on the local property market.

Much has been said about the Malaysian property market overhang over the past few months, with discussions being fueled by the recently released Property Market Report 2018 by the National Property Information Centre (Napic).

Indeed, 2018’s property market was gripped by rigidity, and high asking price of saleable assets restrained yield, resulting in a quiet market where sizeable investments and significant deals were hard to come by. with the Malaysian property market expected to further stagnate this year, what will become of the industry?

In an online exclusive, Smart Investor speaks with TA Global Bhd CEO Tiah Joo Kim to find out more about this situation.

Smart Investor: Malaysia remains saddled with a massive property overhang as billions of units remain idle in the market today. Tell us more about the situation – what are some of the measures that TA Global is taking to resolve the situation?

Tiah Joo Kim: Global growth slowdown, trade tensions and the retreat of China to focus on domestic consumption has put a dampener on the property market globally and Malaysia is no exception.

Having said that, the Malaysia property market is one of the most affordable in Asia and has been the laggard in the region for several years now, due to various recent political and economic reasons. While the outlook is sluggish with absorption projected to be slow, as we are in buyer’s market, we believe that prices have already bottom and while we don’t know how long it would take for prices to increase, we really do not see prices falling. As inventory gets taken up, we will enter a more balanced market.

There are many buyers that want to get into the market however aren’t able to get financing and hopefully with the recent rate cut and general dovish tone of central banks, this will translate to more buyers being able to get approval for financing.

There aren’t any specific or special measures that we are taking in this environment. We remain very prudent and disciplined in our execution, where we ensure that we are conservative in our assumptions with regards to sales projections and the debt that we undertake to ensure that we can complete the project.

If our projects take longer to sell, we might scale back and delay launch our future projects, and with every live project, it keeps our pulse on the market and allows us to make tweaks and learn new things to apply or not apply in our future projects. At the end of the day we need a product that will connect and fill the needs and desires of our target market and we have to ensure that it is at a price that is attainable.

I do believe that being in this environment where developers are scaling back and not launching projects, gives us a chance to have more of the spotlight with the projects that we have launched and will launch in the market.

2019 is an exciting year for us as we will be launching ALIX Residences in North Kiara and our yet to be announced project in KLCC with a combined gross development value (GDV) of RM2.94 billion. We believe this period is where buyers will value projects that are developed by reputable and well capitalised developers that have a track record of execution.

We also believe that buyers will be more discerning and particular with regards to what they want or like and this works to our strength because our projects always have such a strong sense of identity and character.

What are some of the strategies that TA Global has employed to improve the take-up rate of your new projects?

I believe the best strategy that you can have, is to just be the best in what you do. End users and buyers are very discerning and can tell the difference, detail and effort that is put into a product. There are no short cuts to success and we work extremely hard to ensure that our end product not only meets and fulfills their wants and desires but surpasses and impresses them.

Malaysia is entering the stage where we are becoming a more developed or mature property market. Not only is it highly competitive, but the end consumer is becoming more educated and we as a society are becoming more particular with regards to the things that we place value or give priority to.

As a company, we constantly innovate, push the envelope and do things very differently, and set a new benchmark with every project that we execute. We believe this is our differentiator and we are the best in connecting with our potential buyers values and beliefs.

In every project that we do, we give our heart and soul to it and ensure that we understand the needs and wants of our consumers so we can provide the best product and experience for them.