The more aggressive selling is seen as a sign of ‘nervousness’ due to the effect of the sluggish property market and the Covid-19 pandemic

By S BIRRUNTHA

PROPERTY developers appear to have embarked on a marketing campaign spree to boost sales in the primary market as the real estate market continues to bear the brunt of rising Covid-19 cases and the ongoing inventory overhang.

Centre for Market Education CEO Dr Carmelo Ferlito views the more aggressive selling as a sign of “nervousness” due to the combined effect of the sluggish property market over the last few years and the aggravating Covid-19 pandemic.

“The reimplementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) may have also played a role in increasing such nervousness, so this trend will probably last until we have a clearer decision in politics and policy.

“The message we have now is we may go ahead with the lockdown and this is creating an anxiety in the economy,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) when contacted.

Ferlito added that banks remain prudent and evaluate on a case-by-case basis, in terms of accommodating to developers’ marketing campaigns.

He believes banks are under stress because of the past moratorium and they cannot be too aggressive with their lending activity in the current situation.

“I think this is actually good because let us not forget the high household debts in Malaysia, aggravated by the crisis,” he noted.

Ferlito added that developers have to face the market in the present situation, as further openness to lower prices could be of help, although this depends on a different number of factors.

He said alternatively, property developers may try to rent out units rather than selling them to push the sales in the market.

Putrajaya has extended the MCO across the nation till Feb 4 and may go to a total shutdown if infection numbers do not fall according to a recent communication from Euro- cham to its members, which has gone viral.

Economists have started revising lower their growth forecast for the local economy this year due to the MCO despite the rollout of vaccines which will begin by late next month onwards.

Property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd last week launched the “Home with Mah Sing” campaign which enables buyers to free for up to four years.

Under the campaign, various incentives and savings are offered, such as low booking fees from RM500, and free duty and legal fees to reduce the burden of home-ownership.

The campaign flagged off on Jan 11 and will run until March 29, 2021.

Mah Sing founder and group MD Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum, in its release, stated that depending on the project, this payment-free period comes into play during construction or upon vacant possession.

“All in all, we are optimistic about 2021 and hope that through our ‘Home with Mah Sing’ campaign, our customers will be able to take that step towards home-ownership this year,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Another property developer, LBS Bina Group Bhd, launched the #DudukRumah Deals 2.0 marketing campaign in conjunction with the reimplementation of MCO 2.0.

Under its campaign which will end on Jan 31, 2021, homebuyers can book selected LBS participating projects under the Home Ownership Campaign with just RM200 and enjoy free 1.0hp air conditioner.

Other highlights of the campaign include moving-in cash incentive for selected property, free memorandum of transfer, legal fees and disbursement fees on the sale and purchase agreement, and free legal fees and disbursement fees and stamp duty on loan agreements.

The #DudukRumah campaign has been rolled out via various digital platforms which include virtual showrooms, website, email and social media to reach out to potential buyers.

LBS group MD Tan Sri Lim Hock San stated in its release a couple of weeks ago that the group remained committed to supporting the government’s housing agenda and the campaign was launched to reduce the upfront payment and spending on home appliances.

The campaign was also launched by LBS during the initial MCO in April 2020, where the developer allowed purchasers to book a unit of LBS property with just RM200.

VPC Alliance (KL) Sdn Bhd MD James Wong expects to see a growing trend of developers using Internet marketing to reach out to buyers, especially during the MCO period.

He added that in this case, property developers and banks will play a complementary role to each other.

“Most buyers will require a loan to buy a property and for banks, lending to the property sector is the easiest and most convenient,” he told TMR.