PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez. Pix by Yazit Razali

THE loan crunch in Malaysia has improved with lower rejection rates recorded in 2017-2018, but new house buyers are still in the dark on whether they can secure financing from banks.

According to the PropertyGuru Consumer Sentiment Survey, 92 per cent ofwould-be buyers will need some margin of financing to own a home.

Some 23 per cent of the respondents said they would require full financing to purchase a property while 41 per cent are looking at 90 per cent financing.

Eighteen per cent said they would need 70 to 0 per cent financing to purchase a property.

PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez said the PropertyGuru Mortgage PreQualifier has seen over 62,000 Malaysians looking to ascertain their debt servicing ratios and eligible mortgage amount.

He said using real-time and certified credit data, the PropertyGuru Mortgage Pre-Qualifier is able to give potential buyers an accurate mortgage check— providing unique Debt Service Ratio and Eligible Mortgage Amount— in just five minutes.

“With this information, property buyers can immediately see if they qualify for a home loan from banks and subsequently take immediate steps to improve their financials,” said Fernandez.

PropertyGuru is providing the free service to all Malaysians to bridge the existing information gaps, especially on financing.

“This is so more people can avoid the frustration of home loan rejection and consequently the disappointment of not being able to buy their desired home.”

POSITIVE SENTIMENT

The results of the survey indicate that there is continuing uptick of positive sentiment on the local property sector.

Respondents expressed a 42 per cent satisfaction rating for the local property sector post 14th General Election (GE14).

This is a marked improvement from just 25 per cent in 2015 and 38 per cent in the second half of last year, said Fernandez.

He said the improvement in positive sentiment was further confirmed with more than half of those polled expressing desire to purchase properties within the next six months.

Of these, 37 per cent are looking for homes priced between RM300,000 and RM500,000 while 27 per cent are looking for properties below RM300,000, which is the affordable level.

Only about five per cent are looking to buy a property priced more than RM900,000.

Property developers have been studying the market and are focused on building houses that cost less than RM1 million.

Fernandez said as a whole, 71 per cent believe the property market continues to face oversupply issues — providing ample choice to find good deals from both developers and private owners.

He said the rise in overall positivity comes even as Malaysia continues to face uncertainties attributed to various macro-economic and socio-political issues.

“We have been tracking consumer sentiment for years and the present 42 per cent level is unprecedented. It doesn’t appear to be a temporary effect or a knee-jerk reaction.

Clearly, more Malaysians are expressing optimism in the property sector and wish to transact.”

CHANGES IN BUYING PATTERN

Fernandez said those who mulled over relocating overseas have changed their plan or deferred it.

There are also those who had postponed their plan to buy a home now beginning to explore both primary and secondary markets again. Fernandez said there is huge pent-up demand for affordable homes and he hoped the government will address the segment effectively via the National Housing Policy and the 2019 Budget.

“More facilitating polices and measures are needed. There is also a need for greater involvement of all stakeholders, including property developers and consumers, towards ensuring that young Malaysians can afford a roof over their heads.”

Fernandez said Malaysia is caught in a unique scenario of oversupply in certain property segments but an overall shortage of homes and a growing demand that cannot be met due to affordability issues. He cautioned that decisive action is needed within the year to leverage the current optimism among Malaysians.

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