Developers roll up their sleeves for 2024
By Yip Wai Fong
Major developers are off to a confident start in 2024, with launches set in the pipeline. This is good news for the real estate industry, as homebuyers and end-users are reassured of a continued supply of a wide spectrum of products. Meanwhile, other stakeholders, such as architects, engineers, designers, valuers, and realtors, have a vibrant market to continue innovating and adding value to their services.
Speaking to StarProperty, the developers said their confidence is based on their solid performance and the continued recovery in the market over the past year. Moreover, they feel that government policies and ongoing assistance to first-time homebuyers will be a helpful boost to market sentiment in 2024.
Mah Sing Group founder and managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum said the group is targeting higher sales based on last year’s strong performance. He stated: “The group registered RM1.8 billion in property sales for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2023, an increase of 14.4% compared with RM1.57 billion in the same period last year. With more new launches, the group is confident of meeting the full-year sales target of a minimum of RM2.2 billion.”
The sales were propelled by the well-received M Series development, which also deepened the group’s brand presence throughout Klang Valley and in Johor. Citing factors such as Bank Negara Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) forecast of between 4% and 5%, young house buyers and the group’s continued success with its affordable series, Leong expected the momentum to continue in 2024.
“The mid to long-term outlook of the property industry remains positive, supported by strong fundamental demand for properties due to the young demography. Demand for houses from first-time homebuyers should remain resilient. Hence, our focus will remain on affordable residential properties, which are aimed at first-time homebuyers and young families,” he said.
He believed Mah Sing would also benefit from government policies such as the RM10bil allocation proposed for the Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme under Budget 2024 and the five-year stamp duty waiver for residential properties priced below RM500,000 for first-time homebuyers, which is still in force until the end of 2025.
“Mah Sing M Series' DNA is that the projects are located in strategic locations with easy access to amenities, ready infrastructure and good connectivity, which is in line with current market demand. Our projects also incorporate green and energy-efficient features, which can help reduce long-term costs for our homeowners,” Leong explained.
Mah Sing’s new launches this year in Klang Valley include new phases of M Senyum in Salak Tinggi, M Residence in Rawang and M Sinar, Southville City in Bangi, while in Johor, the group will be launching new phases of Meridin East in anticipation of increased investment activities in the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC). The group also looks forward to the maiden launches of M Terra in Puchong, M Tiara in Johor Bahru and M Zenya in Kepong which have recorded strong registration of interests.
Another prominent player, LBS Bina Group Bhd (LBS), anticipates a prosperous 2024 with the unveiling of its property sales target set at RM1.8bil.
At the LBS 2024 annual media briefing on Jan 4, its executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Hock San said: “We are excited to kickstart 2024 on an optimistic footing and we look forward to a positive 2024.”
He revealed the company's plans to launch 10 new projects in 2024 across Klang Valley, Johor, and Pahang. The target launches encompass 4,858 units with a total gross development value (GDV) of RM2.33bi.
Within the Klang Valley, LBS will concentrate the bulk of its launches, a whopping 2,960 units with a total GDV of RM1.14bil. The Klang Valley region has consistently contributed the highest sales to LBS over the years, averaging more than 80%.
Additionally, LBS, in collaboration with its construction arm, MGB Bhd, will produce nearly 1,500 units across three projects. The remaining units will be built in Genting Highlands and Cameron Highlands in Pahang as well as in Johor.
Mah Sing and LBS are not the only ones planning for 2024 launches. City developer SkyWorld Development Bhd, which has launched 13 grand-scale projects to-date, plans to launch ten new developments between the second half of 2023 and 2026 with a combined gross development value (GDV) of RM4.08bil.
SkyWorld currently has a landbank of about 55.66 acres, of which 37.17 acres have been set aside for the 10 planned developments. “We are actually in the midst of submitting development orders for tapping the balance 18.49 acres of land,” chief executive officer Lee Chee Seng said in an earlier press conference.
Similarly, strong contenders like Sime Darby Property, IOI Properties Group, Sunway Property, Gamuda Land, Paramount Corporation, Tropicana Corporation, UEM Sunrise, OSK Property, Avaland Bhd, Malton, Hap Seng Land, Land & General, Platinum Victory, NCT Group and PKNS, to name a few, are also rolling out their projects in 2024.
IJM Land, another developer that has done well in 2023, saw potential to thrive in 2024 by innovating and adapting to market needs.
“There will be a consistent demand for thoughtfully designed, sustainable living spaces. The industry’s evolution toward smart technologies, green practices, and community-centric developments will shape its trajectory,” said chief executive officer Datuk Wong Tuck Wai.
“We are optimistic for 2024 with market conditions and sentiments continuing to improve into the new year. With the federal government spearheading infrastructure projects, it should provide the much-needed impetus to the property market’s crystalising momentum to meet pent-up demand,” he added.
Wong also said that the developer’s overseas venture is on-going in 2024. “Last year has also seen us partner with Network Rail, a leading railway infrastructure provider in the United Kingdom, to explore development opportunities on land adjacent to the railway and through oversite developments in Network Rail’s portfolio in the United Kingdom. This partnership, following the success of IJM Land's Royal Mint Gardens project, is currently securing exclusive rights to eight promising development sites in London,” said Wong.
Balancing sustainability and development
In the meantime, while focusing on the delicate equilibrium between sustainability and development, committed developers are striving to implement various sustainable practices, recognising the imperative fight against climate change and the creation of enduring value for end-users.
According to Wong, embracing digital technologies and sustainable practices not only streamlines processes but also generates added value for both developers and buyers.
“We have set a benchmark for our properties, from Qlassic to GreenRE, so our buyers and residents can be assured of and measure what makes us Distinctively IJM,” he said. adding that sustainability is a journey, involving a delicate balance between the environment and their developments.
At Mah Sing, Leong said the group is making substantial progress in their adoption of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting framework to manage risks and business opportunities. The group actively monitors and tracks its carbon emission impact through Bursa Malaysia’s Centralised Sustainability Intelligence (CSI) platform and supports their contractors and suppliers in ESG practices and disclosures.
Leong further elaborated: “We also set specific KPIs and targets for environmental sustainability such as obtaining a minimum Bronze GreenRE certification, providing energy-efficient lighting in all common areas and installing at least two electric vehicle charging stations for all of our high-rise developments in KL,” Leong said. “We are determined to build on current accomplishments and establish more robust long-term sustainability goals.”
With ESG being aggressively pushed this year onwards, more developers will also deliver more sustainable developments, paving a better future for everyone.
Sidebar: Governments policies help sustain a positive market, say realtors
Realtors have praised the government's infrastructure projects, the relaxation of MM2H conditions and support for first-time homebuyers as the cornerstones of a brighter outlook for this year, despite the elevated Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) that is hindering property purchases.
The announcement of the Special Financial Zone in Johor Bahru and an expanded MM2H programme, in addition to ongoing projects like the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Johor Bahru–Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS Link) and the LRT 3, has contributed to sustaining an improved economic and market sentiment for property buyers and investors.
However, their optimism is tempered by the fact that the high OPR remains a concern for affordability, posing a challenge for potential property buyers.
“Given higher rates and instalment payment, homebuyers of the M40 category prioritise practicality and affordability and less on fancy facilities, for the time being,” said IQI Realty’s Hugo Chan. “As such, higher density and smaller units and transit-oriented developments (TODs) are expected to receive steady demands from both own users and investors.”
Another IQI Realty senior REN, Kimberly Yang added that the Malaysia property market is still holding up despite inflationary pressure.
“Despite the current global inflationary pressure, the property market is doing relatively well, especially mid to high-end properties in Kuala Lumpur,” she said. “The market sentiment for 2024 is positive with the announcement of the Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme, it will contribute to first-time homebuyers’ access to home ownership.”
The relaxation of MM2H conditions is viewed positively by the realtors, like Chester Properties’ Alan Ng Boon Hsiung who said: “We can anticipate more foreigners to purchase properties in Malaysia due to the easing, and the announcement of the Special Financial Zone in Johor will be another plus factor for foreigners.”
Tech Realtors senior REN Chen Ching Huei, who specialises in the Southern region, said the weak ringgit is one of the pull factors for foreign property investors in Melaka and Johor.
“Both the states of Melaka and Johor have witnessed notable growth in their property sectors. Melaka is underpinned by its historical significance and efforts to enhance tourism infrastructure, Johor is due to its proximity to Singapore and various development projects. The increased strength of the Singapore dollar versus the ringgit also attracts many investors to properties in both states. My opinion is that in 2024, the property market in these two states will remain strong due to these factors,” Chen said.