After the first quarter of the year, both developers and investors have seen the market pick up steam with talks of cautiously optimistic growth hedged by speculation of a property bubble, strong headwinds from the Eurozone and a soft market from other Asian trading partners. Prof Joe Choo looks at the feng shui aspects of the market to bring us a fresh perspective of property market trading.
From a feng shui perspective, every year is made up by 2 Chinese words, namely ‘stem’ (天干) and ‘root’（地支). The ‘stem’ of the year 2012 is ‘ren’ (yang water 壬) while the root is ‘chen’ (yang earth 辰). When the ‘stem’ and ‘root’ are put together, the sound produced is water which denotes the north direction. In the 5 elements production cycle, water produces wood, denoted by the east and the southeast. Therefore the eastern and northern parts of Malaysia are the attractive points for investment this year.
Where Malaysia is Concerned
Malaysia is made up of the East and Peninsular Malaysia and we may look at this two land masses as a whole picture with a compass in the centre to define the 8 sectors (see picture 1). The eastern part of Malaysia is Sabah and Sarawak with rapid property development and demand far outstripping expectations.
Now let’s look at Peninsular Malaysia, although the east and southeast sectors such as Kelantan and Terengganu are performing well, it is dependent on socio-political factors and those outside these states do not see much potential in them.
Even though the Klang Valley is located on the western side of Peninsular Malaysia, it is still the financial district and the most vibrant area. However, a closer inspection would show that key property developers are entering the eastern part of Klang Valley, such as Seri Kembangan, Kajang and Semenyih (see picture 2) with those booming areas rich in relatively cheap land value, yet with the infrastructure links to the city centre and KLIA making them high growth areas in Klang Valley.
The North & The South
The north, which represents water in feng shui will continue to grow especially Penang. With some manufacturers that had previously restructured or relocated in 2010 regaining their footing, the time is right for a stronger local economic outlook. Add to that the fact that Penang is much sought-after by Indonesians and Japanese as their retirement vista and the property market is ripe for the picking up North.
At the opposite end of the peninsula is Johor, represented by fire which is produced by wood, perhaps not a coincidence as to why today’s hottest property market is in Iskandar Malaysia, right in Johor Baru itself. In fact, with this mega-project, Johor has possibly overtaken Penang as the second highest growth area after the Klang Valley in Peninsular Malaysia.
While there was talk a few years back, we can see the actions now. Back in 2010, there was a minor boom in Johor due to the economic crisis in Singapore. Locals who worked in Singapore were forced to return home in 2010 and despite unemployment, these people had enough savings to start up small businesses that have benefited the property market since then.
Recent movements by the Singaporean government to impose a 13% stamp duty on foreigners who purchase any properties have also added to the charm of investors divesting their investments abroad. As the nearest property market to Singapore is Malaysia, and Johor being the geographical neighbour of the island nation, it stands to gain the most from this ruling and the current sentiment of an exciting and high growth market prevails
What to Expect
As the property market is driven by the market and external forces, Malaysia’s strong fundamentals, with strong controls and regulations by the relevant authorities, pave the way for land and property prices that were mostly unaffected from the recent global financial crisis. Provided that the needs of investors and customers are met, the Malaysia property market outlook in 2012 should remain attractive and will gain a healthy flow of investment options both local and foreign.
Prof Joe Choo was elected the President of the Malaysian Institute of Geomancy Sciences (“MINGS”) in 2008, a post which she currently holds. She was recently awarded a professorship by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. She acts as consultant to various development projects and is frequently invited as speaker at many government and private property functions. Joe also conducts classes for the Persatuan Architect Malaysia (“PAM”) and the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (“MIEA”).