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The Ringgit has suffered a slump at the beginning of the year furthering speculations about slowing down the property market. But experts say that the solution lies in local property investing. In contrast, foreign buyers may not be that enthusiastic. Read more to find out.

"Ringgit slump won’t affect property sector - Penang Rehda"

GEORGE TOWN - The drop in ringgit value at the start of this year due to the global oil price slump is not likely to affect the local property sector, Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Penang) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said.

Chan said now when the ringgit is weak; it is a good time for Malaysians to invest in local assets as it would not be affected by the exchange rate.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg today, the ringgit fell 1.1 per cent this week to 3.5550 a dollar as of 11.32am, the biggest loss in Asia.

Chan drew similarities to the 1997 Asian financial crisis when the ringgit similarly weakened to 4.88 a dollar before Putrajaya pegged it at 3.8.

During that period, Chan said local investors bought local assets instead of foreign assets. Today, he said, these investors have since reaped huge returns from their purchases.

Housing development committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo agreed that the falling ringgit would not affect the housing industry in Penang, especially with its current focus on building more affordable housing units priced below RM400,000.

Instead, Jagdeep said he believes the weakening ringgit would make it more attractive for foreign investors to buy properties here in Penang and Malaysia.

He also said the Penang state government is committed to providing affordable housing units, priced below RM400,000 on the island and RM250,000 on the mainland, for the state. - Malay Mail

"Foreigners unlikely to buy properties with ringgit fall, say developers"

The fall in the ringgit is unlikely to attract foreign buyers to snap up properties in Malaysia, said the Penang Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda).

Its chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said foreign buyers would exercise caution rather than buy properties in Malaysia right away just because the exchange rates favoured them.

He said foreign investors would wait until there was stability in the ringgit.

"Now there is no stability yet. If there are concerns that foreigner buyers will cause property prices to increase, I think we will not see that happen.

"We won't see an immediate effect like that since they are not coming in right away," he told the media at the Penang International Property conference in Penang today.

Chan said local buyers would still buy properties at the same value of the ringgit and would not be affected by any exchange rates.

According to Bloomberg, the ringgit fell to 3.5862, the lowest since July 2009, and has lost 2.4% this year. The fall of the currency follows the drop in oil prices, which puts pressure on the Malaysian government's fiscal deficit target.

Chan also said people looking for properties could still find homes selling at affordable prices under RM400,000 on Penang island and under RM250,000 on the mainland.

In Penang, the ceiling prices for affordable homes are set at RM400,000 and RM250,000 for the island and Seberang Prai respectively.

Meanwhile, local government exco Chow Kon Yeow was asked to comment on the high density issue in the state, which has been blamed for causing congestion.

It has been a major concern among residents and non-governmental organisations in recent years that certain areas on the island have had an increased density from 30 units per acre to 87 units per acre.

Chow said that the policy allowing higher density in certain areas was because the state wanted to ensure enough affordable homes to cater to buyers in Penang.

"For developers to be able to build affordable homes while keeping to the ceiling prices fixed by the state, the projects must also be made sustainable, and that is by building more units," he said.

He added that the higher density policy might not be a permanent policy once the state had enough affordable homes to go around.

It was reported that the Penang government planned to build about 50,000 affordable homes in the state, with nearly 20,000 to be built by the state-owned Penang Development Corporation (PDC) in Batu Kawan on the mainland and on Jalan SP Chelliah on the island. – January 9, 2015. - The Malaysian Insider, Looi Sue-Chern


Andy Ko, DH 고동한

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