BMI View : Malaysia's location in South E ast Asia and its welcoming attitude to foreign investment are major attractions to overseas investors. The real estate market is affected at present by slower economic growth, but the medium- term prospects are good. An expanding service sector as well as rising i ncomes and improving trade indicate a more positive outlook for all three sub- markets we cover.
Following a strong 6.0% GDP growth in 2014, the economy has been facing some challenges in 2015 and growth is expected to be lower, at 4.7%. This trend is expected to continue in 2016, with GDP growth predicted at 4.5%. This is partly explained by the impact of tighter monetary policy and rising interest rates on domestic demand and partly by a weaker external sector. With exports equating to about 90% of GDP, the economy is vulnerable to the economic slowdown in key export destinations such as China. However, despite the slower overall growth in the next 12 months, in the medium term the steady pace of economic expansion combined with robust domestic consumption and improving trade, particularly with the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should have a positive impact on the economy, including the commercial real estate sector.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital, continues to be the centre for Malaysia's industrial and service sectors, hosting the bulk of office and industrial property in the country. Johor Bahru, at the border with Singapore is benefiting from cross-over demand particularly for ilower grade office space and manufacturing and logistics property. Kota Kinabalu has seen some significant growth in its tertiary sector in recent years, raising demand for office space. Growing urbanisation and tourist arrivals also boost demand for retail space, with several malls in the pipeline.
In the office market, the impact of slower GDP growth has been felt in 2015. Demand for office space has remained stable and the overall vacancy rate in Kuala Lumpur has risen. The market has seen a substantial increase in the new supply of space, and some 450,000sq m of new space will have been delivered to the market by the end of 2015, with more space scheduled for completion in 2016. The impact of this rise in availability is likely to be a further rise in the vacancy rate in 2016. Oversupply, in turn, means there is little chance of rental growth in 2016. The supply situation is less critical outside Kuala Lumpur. Cities such as Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu have seen little by way of new construction activity in 2015, and with demand remaining relatively stable, we expect rental values in both cities to remain unchanged in 2016.
Malaysia's retail real estate sector is likely to face a more challenging environment in the short term due to a weaker economy in 2016 and the increase in tax on goods and services. However, the medium-to-long-term outlook is bright as consumers adjust to the new tax, and spending levels continue to be driven by a young, affluent and increasingly urban population. The retail landscape has changed significantly over the last decade and there are plenty of growth opportunities on the horizon. Strong international interest combined with a lack of high quality retail space is spurring new development, with several projects currently under development.
In the industrial market, 2015 saw a slowdown in occupier demand, in part a reflection of weaker trade. There has been little new supply and the market is suffering from a lack of premium quality space. That said, the outlook for trade and production is set to improve and we expect higher levels of occupier demand from 2016 onwards. Growth opportunities should continue to exist in light of increasing inward investment from Singapore, particularly in the Isakandar special economic corridor around the city of Johor Bahru.
Although the scope for rental growth in the commercial property sector in 2016 is limited, stable yields combined with a more positive medium-term outlook for the sector in general should continue to attract investors. New developments in Kuala Lumpur will provide fresh investment grade stock, while in markets such as Kota Kinabalu the growth of services, urbanisation and tourism should create good investment opportunities in the office and industrial sectors.
The Malaysia Real Estate Report features BMI Research's market assessment and independent forecasts of major construction projects in the residential and commercial markets, plus rental prices and yields in major cities. The report critically analyses the prospects for real estate within the broader economic and financial context - both domestic and global - via our econometrically-modelled and clearly explained banking and economic forecasts and follows this through to evaluate the implications for REITs.
BMI's Malaysia Real Estate Report provides industry professionals and strategists, sector analysts, business investors, trade associations and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the real estate industry in Malaysia.
- Benchmark BMI's independent real estate industry forecasts for Malaysia to test other views - a key input for successful budgeting and strategic business planning in the Malaysian real estate market.
- Target business opportunities and risks in Malaysia through our reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments.
- Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our company profiles (inc. SWOTs, KPIs and latest activity).
BMI Industry View
Summary of BMI’s key industry forecasts, views and trend analysis covering real estate and construction, regulatory changes, major investments and projects and significant national and multinational company developments.
Industry SWOT Analysis
Analysis of the major Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within the real estate sector and within the broader political, financial, economic and business environment.
Industry Forecasts Outlook
Historic data series (2010-2013) and forecasts to end-2019 for the domestic real estate industry and for the local and global finance industry.
- Real Estate: Office, retail and industrial real estate yields for all major cities (%); short term forecasts on minimum and maximum real estate rental prices by sub-sector (USD per square metre and local currency per square metre).
- Construction: Industry value (USDbn); contribution to GDP (%); employment (‘000); real growth (%).
- economy: Economic growth (%); nominal GDP (USDbn); unemployment (%); interest rates (%); exchange rate (against USD).
BMI’s Real Estate Risk Reward Index
BMI’s Risk Reward Indices provide investors (real estate vendors, construction companies and financial investors) looking for opportunities in the region with a clear country comparative assessment of a market’s risks and potential rewards. Each of the country markets are scored using a sophisticated model that includes more than 40 industry, economic and demographic data points to provide an indices of highest to lowest appeal to investors, with each position explained.
Overview of the real estate sector, including analysis of existing/planned real estate developments and emerging industry trends in the office, industrial and commercial sectors
Features detailed city-level data and analysis on rental prices, yields, contract terms and real estate availability with separate chapters covering the office, retail and industrial sub-sectors.
Examines the competitive positioning and short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape to generate Company SWOT analyses. The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.
*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.