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The Property Market Will Recover

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Participants of the ASEAN Regional Real Estate forum confident the property market will bounce back.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hits home, many countries have been badly affected, economically. In particular the real estate industry has slowed down in many nations due to the imposition of physical distancing and Movement Control Order (MCO) being implemented.

The MIEA HOPE Programme organised by the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) is a webinar series shared on MIEA’s platforms since 19th March, 2020, with the aim to help MIEA member to enhance themselves during the MCO.

The MIEA webinar on the 16th April 2020, titled ”Our Lessons Learned” was the first ASEAN Real Estate forum on Covid-19 and its impact on the real estate industry. Those invited were the Asean Real Estate Network Alliance (ARENA) Council of Presidents from Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia to exchange their views on the current situation of their Real Estate industry in their respective countries.

Representing Singapore was Herman Yeo, President of Institute of Estate Agents (IEA); from Thailand, Dr. Sopon Pornchokchai, Secretary General of Thai Appraisal & Real Estate Foundation (TAEAF); from Cambodia, Chrek Soknim, President of Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA); from the Philippines, Dr Samuel Lao, President of Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards Inc (PAREB); from Indonesia, Jaya Cahyadi, Vice president of Assosiasi Real Estate Broker Indonesia (AREBI); from Myanmar, Khin Maung Than, President of the Myanmar Real Estate Services Association (MRESA); and from Malaysia, Lim Boon Ping, President of MIEA. The forum was moderated by K. Soma Sundram the founder and Secretary General of ARENA and the CEO of MIEA.

MIEA’s Lim highlighted that there will be a significant shift in the property transaction market from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market and property prices and transactions are expected to make its adjustment as was the situation post 1997 financial crisis.

According to him, the property market is also expected to see a price adjustment in the region of 10%. He also revealed that there will be motivated sellers in Malaysia and some negotiators had already been selling secondary market properties to investors without property viewing.

Meanwhile, AREBI’s Jaya said that although the real estate industry was suddenly put on hold due to the COVID-19, many people also noticed that it is a good time to invest. However, it is unlikely that Indonesian’s will be looking into investing in other countries due to the current exchange rates but there are still many opportunities in its local market for them to undertake purchases.

He also highlighted that there will be a “shift in wealth” especially for those involved in industries that are thriving during COVID-19 and this is the time for Registered Estate Agents and Negotiators to build new clienteles so when the real estate industry rebounds, they will be prepared. Now, would also be the best time to get connected with their clientele to get to know them better.

According to TAEAF’s Dr. Sopon, in Thailand, real estate agents are still allowed to meet potential client and there were also a good number of property launches last month. He believes the COVID-19 had the greatest impact on the lower-income groups, hence property transactions for the luxury segments are still doing considerably well and property rentals are still ongoing at the moment due to the high population of foreigners.

The Moderator Soma raised a question on a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released recently stated that five ASEAN countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam are set to expand in gross domestic product (GDP) by 9%, 8.2%, 6.1%, 7.6% and 7% respectively.

MIEA’s Lim said this showed that there is still great confidence in the ASEAN countries. All Presidents concurred that they expect the real estate market to bounce back as its already down and also due to the governments support and the motivation of all citizens to spur the economy. The sentiments expressed was that all Registered Estate Agents and Negotiators not to give up as economic activities are expected to bounce back in 2021.

The ARENA council of presidents were also of the view that now would be the best time for real estate practitioners in the region to attend self-improvement courses via online platforms, have a positive mindset and stay united for the cause of the profession and its duty to the public. This forum saw a record number of attendees both at the webinar and also Facebook live.

The MIEA HOPE programme will be continuing with an assemble of speakers and forums through their Facebook platforms and ZOOM every day at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm to help members to improve their professionalism and overcome possible obstacles during and post MCO.

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