The asking price for residential property is on the rise in major markets in Malaysia, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, this is according to the latest PropertyGuru Malaysia Property Market Index report.
The report showed there was a marginal improvement, increasing 0.63 per cent from 88.90 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 89.46 in the first quarter of this year.
This was accompanied by a substantial drop in the incoming supply of 10.47 per cent over the same period, the steepest quarterly decline in three years as the Movement Control Order (MCO) had an impact on construction, listing and viewing activities in Malaysia.
PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez said there was a sharp drop in activity across the board as necessary measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were put in place in March.
"The moderation of price growth, as well as transaction volumes and values in recent years, may have had a buffering impact on the market," he said.
Last month a nationwide study by Juwai IQI showed that residential property prices are expected to surge in 2021.
In its Q1 2020 Property Index and Survey for Malaysia, Juwai IQI predicted that residential property prices would remain stagnate this year with an increase of only 1.1 per cent.
The drop in number of property transactions due to the MCO was causing property prices to stagnate, said its group executive director Kashif Ansari.
The industry is optimistic about a post-pandemic recovery and expects residential prices to rise by 8.6 per cent in 2021, he said.
He said Bank Negara Malaysia's six-month moratorium on interest and principal payments for loans had provided relief to property owners.
Meanwhile, Fernandez said that an upswing in asking prices in major metropolitan areas can be seen in the first quarter, pointing towards a rise in interest in these areas as Malaysia takes a 'soft-landing' approach post-MCO.
Selangor showcased the highest rise in asking prices, increasing 1.94 per cent from 91.43 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 93.20 in the first quarter of this year, followed by Kuala Lumpur with a 1.81 per cent increase from 94.90 to 96.62 over the same period.
"The upswing points towards a strong interest in the central region, which is in line with increased investor activity in high-rise projects closer to metropolitan areas during crisis years," he said.
He said the PropertyGuru Malaysia web traffic showed an increase in the search for high-rises and condominiums priced from RM900,000 to RM2 million between March and early April.
Penang and Johor saw asking price downtrends continuing from recent years, though declines were at 0.13 per cent and 0.59 per cent respectively.
Penang saw its index fall from 95.39 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 95.27 in the first quarter of 2020, while Johor saw the largest decrease across major markets, from 99.59 to 99.00 over the same period.