Demand for Malaysia properties set to weaken: Moody's

Commercial and residential buildings seen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Commercial and residential buildings seen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Demand for residential properties in Malaysia is set to drop further this year due to cooling measures and weaker buyer sentiment, Moody's Investors Service said in its latest quarterly report on Southeast Asia economies.

"We expect the anticipation of higher mortgage rates in 2015 and the implementation of a 6 per cent goods and service tax in April to dampen sales in 2015 as buyers take a wait-and-see approach," said Ms Jacintha Poh, a Moody's assistant vice president.

The assessment came as part of the rating agency's latest edition of Inside ASEAN, a publication looking at the region's major credit trends.

Amid the slowdown, developers focusing on popular Malaysian cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang and Selangor are likely to face more headwinds in moving their units, which are typically priced above RM1 million and are marketed to high-income households or foreign investors, Ms Poh added.

Nonetheless, the five biggest listed property developers in Malaysia will remain resilient in 2015 in terms of revenue, Moody's noted. These include Sunway Group, SP Setia, UEM Sunrise, IJM Land and Mah Sing Group.