Reputable Property Developers Expected to Withstand the Effects of COVID-19

A developer's reputation is and will always be an important consideration when making any real estate purchase. Knight Frank Malaysia managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam was quoted by a business daily, The Edge on 14 July, as saying that there have been active bookings of rightly positioned residential products of reputable developers in city fringes and popular upcoming suburbs.

Knight Frank also predicts that the pandemic may have brought about a shift in buyers' preference to landed and low density developments, which are more spacious. It's latest Real Estate Highlights for 1H2020 also stated that there is more preference for properties with an extra room to serve as a home office.

This is hardly surprising as most Malaysians, apart from the front liners, were subject to the movement control order (MCO). During this time, many had to work from home. The line between home and office was blurred for about 3 months. Our hygiene habits changed along with our lifestyle.

As such, Knight Frank expects buyers to opt for properties with higher level of maintenance and management service in terms of hygiene and cleanliness. The report further stated that some buyers may prefer smart homes that come with high-speed internet (WiFi) and better ventilation as well as lighting.

The real estate industry in Malaysia has traditionally not been very adaptive to buyer sentiment changes. One main reason is that the planning and strategising of any new project requires about two to three years. This timeline excludes the government approval process and possible revisions to the building plans where necessary.

So it remains to be seen if there will be a permanent change in the market offerings from developers based on current buyer sentiments.

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