Rent? No, it’s right time to buy properties, says Henry Butcher

Lim-Eng-Chong-housePETALING JAYA: A real estate company says it disagrees with the view of a veteran property expert that it isn’t the right time for people to buy properties in the Klang Valley.

Speaking to FMT, Henry Butcher Malaysia director Lim Eng Chong said buying property was “all about timing” and buying the “right” property.

He was commenting on remarks made by chartered surveyor Ernest Cheong earlier that renting might now be a more viable option, given the oversupply and prices of properties and the rising cost of living.

But Lim said the property market had softened “enough” that people should start to consider buying the right property for themselves.

“When you buy a property and pay the instalments over 30 years, at the end of it you will have an asset but if you rent you have nothing, and the ringgit you may have saved in the bank from renting instead of buying would have lost much of its value over the years.”

He added that since 30 years ago, property prices had gone up multiple-fold and that in the next 30 years, it was likely that properties purchased now would increase in value multiple-fold too, barring major catastrophic political or economic disasters.

Lim said although there was an oversupply of properties now, this would “normalise” in one to two years.

He said from Henry Butcher Malaysia’s research, there were fewer property launches this year compared with previous years.

On top of this, he said, prices were dropping.

“If you look at the average prices of new launches two years ago, you would find that the average price for houses was around RM600 to RM700 per square feet for apartments. “

But now, Lim said, prices had dropped to RM500 per square feet.

He added that the government’s move to develop more affordable housing projects – which he said was laudable – would add more pressure on developers and property owners to further lower the prices of their properties.

“So I disagree that it isn’t the right time to buy properties. In fact I think people should seriously start considering looking for the right property for themselves. Take your time, but when the right product comes along, don’t miss the opportunity.”

He said his own house which he bought 30 years ago had appreciated more than three-fold, while his next-door neighbour, who had bought his house during the recession, had seen his property appreciate by more than four times.