Sunday, April 22, 2012

Will Property Bubble Burst in Penang Island?

People talked about property bubble burst in Penang Island 2 years ago. Some said it had already the peak and today the history repeats itself. People is still saying the same thing, the property in Penang Island is already peak and going to burst soon. So, how true is this?

You get all kind of answers depending on who you ask. :D Generally, these are the answers that you can get:

Yes, It Will Burst Soon

  • It is about supply and demand. The supply has already more than demand. You can do your own research especially at night especially for those luxury houses that has already obtained the OC. Try to count how many of the houses have their lights on. You will only see < 30% occupied on majority of the ready house development. Thus, it is going to burst soon.
[My Comment]: This makes sense but the location is the key here. Not all location have the similar symptoms and it also depends on when you do the research. A ready housing development takes 1 to 2 years to have > 80% occupations. Probably 1.5 years is a good time for you to such research. 

  • I just don’t afford to buy and I hope it will burst soon. So, I am waiting for that moment and tell everyone that the property is going to burst soon.
[My Comment]:  I guess just need to ignore this because no supporting data. Many people are telling that property bubble will burst and in reality is they “hope” it will be burst. Not a smart argument anyway.

No, It Will Not Burst
  • The property is in good shape. Generally property in Malaysia or even in Penang Island is still a lot more cheaper than our neighbor countries. Thus, it will not burst anytime soon because we have a lot of foreign investors.
[My Comment]: About 30% are foreigner investor including those Malaysian who worked out of the country. This is what the most developers told me. However, assuming if you do your own research and found out that only 30% of houses being occupied. So where does the 40% go? Yes, speculation but it still doesn’t mean the bubble will burst.

  • Penang property was undervalued in 5 years ago and  it was not appreciating as it supposed to be. Therefore, the recent past few years rapid appreciation was just catch up with the past. So, it will not burst.
[My Comment]: Yes, it makes sense but it also depends on how long the appreciation goes. If it still continue appreciate like crazy, it may burst. However, you have seen government and the banker have taken steps to control the peak by slowing it down. When it is slowing down, the burst won’t happen.

What Should I Do Now?

I know you desperate to know the answer but from my comments above, you can kind of can guess that I”m more bias towards to say there will not burst in Penang property market. In my opinion, when the supply more than demand, it will not burst but it will only be stable down for probably 2 - 3 years. This is because most investors including speculators are rich (I believe) and they will not easily to let go to sell at lower price. After the property market correction, it will then catch up again.

However from a personal finance perspective, you should always plan for the worst. You should always assume the property bubble is going to burst. Let’s say if you’re buying a $1M house, you should expecting of losing of 35%  (based on the US sub-prime crisis data – refer here: worldwide house price trend till 2010).  So, if you afford to lose $350K, then you can go for it.

P/S: If you interested on looking at the average transaction property market in other states of Malaysia, you can refer to here.


LCF Personal Finance said...

Good points Champdog - we do see very few lit up units at, say, Gurney Paragon and Straits Quay area - but then again as you stated, probably need 1-2 years to make better judgement on this.

So what was the inspiration for this post? Looking for investment properties or just back from a mamak stall session on this topic? :)

ChampDog said...

I've already bought a new property last year. Not Gurney Paragon, not Straits Quay because those are too high end for me. lol!

Just to share some thought because people has been taking about the Penang property has already reached the peak especially this year.

Mt. said...

1. make sure property can be 'completed'.

2. 350k is not a real lost, if you are NOT selling within that time frame, its barely a factor. what really matter is cash flow management to avoid foreclosure if your plan is more than 5 -10 years, ie. stays there or wait that long for capital gain

3. talking about penang island is as useless, all you should really care about is your particular property. How far is it from down town, main attraction area etc. When slow down comes, the first wave hits is always recreation etc etc then lastly the heart of the city center.


if you can make a 6-10% pre completion profit, sell it ! Then eye for another one ... don't forget this is not your 1st property, emotion value should not be that much a factor anymore.

property value is far from peak, an adjustment is un-avoidable due to political and regional effects. Sabah Sarawak will regain property trend in no time after election ... and as for penang, not that much effect really relatively.

ChampDog said...

1. In other words, make sure the developer is reliable.

2. Yes, good point that is not the real lost and cash flow mangement is the key.But you may not know when you need to the money. The worst case still to plan for the worst.

3. Talking about Penang island specifically is because the property prize there is 2X,3X higher than in the Penang mainland across the bridge. So when the slow dwn comes, will it hit the Island first or the mainland?

Alvin Lim said...

I've been telling people in KL the same will not burst. A lot of people are saying it will, but more like hoping it will.

True....buyers might not be able to pull it off once they start to pay the loan, etc..but a large percentage of the buyers are foreign investors with very strong holding power. It's not so easy to make them sell at a loss :)

Price drop, maybe, but not burst. And it also depends on which location.

Still.............even now i want to find property in KL.........i have no idea where to buy. Just too exp now.

ChampDog said...

Your large percentage here is exactly how much? >50%? Just curious. I don't have the data but giving impression is 30% or lesser.

KL, hmmm... So how? Still need at least have one for own staying.

kampunginvestor said...

If the property market burst, the prices of the property won't drop like 50%! At most you can get a 15 to 20% discount. There will be more desperate people when times are bad. If you are lucky, you might just get one that is super cheap in price.

Just my 2 cents! If it rains, please prepare an umbrella before it does rain! ;)

ChampDog said...

Even now but not the entire market, some properties are sold with 20% discount too if you're lucky or know how to do your research but that is usually very rare case.

A friend of mine bought a house with ~15% lower than market value because of the owner very pissed off with her neighbour. The onwer is very rich and she only have one intention - just doesn't want to see her neighbour anymore and do not mind to sell her house cheaper. lol!

Penang property said...

There are a lot of money in Penang Property and most of them are from buyers with pretty strong holding power - the fact that rental yield is low but the take up rate is still pretty decent.

I think if you are buying for own stay then it's ok for go ahead rather than waiting for the burst. Down the road, any appreciation or depreciation doesn't really matter as you never be able to predict what the future is.

ChampDog said...

Thanks for the comment. Sometimes when you buy for your own, you need to worry too whether your neighbors are like you or they buy merely for investment. You don't want to buy a property and after you move in, nobody is there.

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