Although protection surrounding the property industry in Sarawak is causing slow progress, the overall outlook remains positive according to a recent report by the Borneo Post. The sales manager of Regal Advantage Sdn Bhd, Georg Liang, has been reported to have said that in comparison to other Malaysian states, Sarawak’s property market was growing slowly, but because of legislation which permits property sales in the state to Sarawakians only, the market is much more stable than in the rest of the country.
“Sarawak’s property market is a huge one with so many high value pockets as well as high demand from not only within Malaysia but also abroad. Government programmes as well as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) are additional catalysts to further increase the demand for residential properties in the state to the point where the supply cannot meet the demand,” Liang said during an interview.
Furthermore, as home buyers look for properties in more vibrant areas, the demand for property is spreading away from being centred in the Kuching area to more widespread catchment areas such as Kota Samarahan and Serian. Liang explained that currently, there is not enough residential property to meet the buyers’ demand in Kuching as well as the rest of Sarawak. Consequently, many properties are being booked early, sometimes even before the units are officially launched.
“Sarawak is a versatile state with lush greeneries and a very hospitable population. A lot of people from West Malaysia or even overseas fall in love with Sarawak after being here for a few days. They purchase properties not only as investment but also as a place of retirement. The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) is pretty popular in the state. Adding to that, with government projects such as the SCORE taking the limelight, it furthers demand as foreign workers want a place here hence boosting the demand for residential properties nearby the projects. For example, at Tanjung Manis, due to the SCORE project there the demand for residential properties in Sibu is increasing at a brisk pace,” Liang added. Although there is a steady growth in demand, there are some important factors which are restricting the steady growth, in particular, the MM2H (Malaysia, my second home) programme.
“In other states, foreigners can get 10 years free visa while in Sarawak we only offer a five plus five year deal. It makes it a little more unattractive for foreigners to come in on a social pass that is available from the MM2H programme,” explained Liang.
He noted that it was of interest that Sarawak is currently undergoing an increased demand from domestic buyers. He explained that there is a large amount of wealthy businessman involved mostly in timber and plantation activities in areas such as Bintulu which have contributed to the demand for properties, since these individuals are likely to buy residential properties for investment purposes.
“The existence of a large domestic demand has been created by the rising higher standard of living of the public and the relative stability of the local market conditions that are conducive especially when it come to the residential market demand,” he said.