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Seeking Property Market Vaccine Solutions

The race against time continues in finding a cure in the fight against Covid 19, so too the need to find a vaccine for an already badly beleaguered property market, plagued with past problems and further compounded by the pandemic

“Is The Housing and Property Sector At A Crossroad? Is The Worst Over Or Is It In A Crisis? What Next?” Bent on finding vaccine solutions for a property market in the doldrums, this was the main topic being discussed at the 2020 National Housing and Property Summit recently organised by KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific and co-organised by the International Federation of Real Estate (FIABCI).

From addressing the root issue of low income, imbalance in supply and changing demands to addressing poor construction quality and a limited local population – vaccine solutions in government policies, stimulus packages and even a mindset swap are crucial. The need to readdress previous policies and non-intended negative consequences of improperly planned rural to urban workforce migration without proper job planning and housing considerations were also debated.

Tan Sri Michael Yeoh, President of KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific asserts that should real estate, being linked with over 100 ancillary supporting industries decline, this will invariably impact the wider economy and other sectors. Hence, vaccine solutions are vital now.

Addressing solutions in the three “I’s” — “Innovation, Investment and Incentives”, real estate needs to embrace innovation in the virtual game plan of technology encompassing Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, robotics and virtual apps, etc. New property technology he adds will impact the industry moving forward, which needs local business and foreign investments for property to be revitalised as a key sector and economic driver backed also by Government incentives.

“The three “S’s” of ‘Sustainability, Security and Smart’ cities are key. Sustainability in property is essential as buyers emphasise sustainable and clean environments. Security is important for people’s safety and increasingly, smart cities the world over are making city living more exciting.”

“The Government needs to ensure growth of the property sector so developers and buyers have sufficient access to funding and end financing, etc. The private sector needs faster approvals, less bureaucracies and absolute clarity plus consistency in policy formation and implementations to rebuild and reignite the country’s growth,” he elaborates.

Zuraida Kamaruddin, Minister of Housing and Local Government shares that now, “not only is profit affected, but also the current construction industry process due to the pandemic”.

“The Ministry of Works through its Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) is involved in constructing, banking and monitoring the construction sector’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), strategic enforcement and synergy. There has posed a dent in this sector as in order to contain the virus, workers’ testing and a relook at how things are done are required,” she reiterates.

What was once viewed as troublesome changes, has now become norm. Th extension of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) fortunately, has not undone the industry, she observes with 85% of projects being resumed in accordance to approximately 4,370 projects including 270 property projects.

“Over 7,590 construction sites have been inspected. Developers should stand with their workers in this test,” she reiterates, noting though disruption of the supply chain for raw materials is inevitable, the processes whereby materials are sourced from could provide fresh opportunities for export and a chance to better the market.

“The crisis has forced us to think-outof-the-box — to consider means and ways to reduce reliance on past forces. Though we have yet to see examples of this implemented in our work processes, solutions should align with adaptation to technology to provide and design tools, plus manage construction projects combined with strategic planning including the disruption of technology.

“The Government supports industries and private workers to encourage this industry to become 4.0 ready by implementing the working and maintenance of things during these trying times,” she affirms.

“Our buildings need to be designed to be Covid-19 proof. They cannot design without those rules which is special as substitute so developers need to explore how things are done,” she says of the future solutions which need to also account for construction costs and social distancing requirements.

The vaccine for Malaysia entails that the industry starts devising solutions for property, technology and innovation for both the public and private sectors to thrive. The Ministry is facilitating the Rent-To-Own (RTO) scheme in hopes that banks will eventually grant access for loans. It is managing big data to ascertain the right projects, types and housing prices to enhance for new developments.

“The new Covid-19 law proposed to Parliament is another booster for developers affected by the lockdown to give them some breather in granting leeway or exceptions linked to housing delivery.”

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