KUALA LUMPUR: Most property consultants are cautiously optimistic about the market this year, said Henry Butcher Real Estate Sdn Bhd COO Tang Chee Meng.

“We see the residential property market still growing but probably at a slower pace in view of the many internal and external challenges which the country is facing,“ he said during a panel discussion entitled “Economic and Property Market Outlook: What to Expect in 2024” at the 2024 Malaysian Housing, Urban Development and Property Summit yesterday.

He added that external factors include the Israel-Hamas war, the Ukraine-Russia war as well as China’s slow economic recovery.

Tang said the Chinese economic recovery “is not happening fast enough”, which has left an air of uncertainty regarding Malaysia’s economy.

Touching on the residential property segment, he said there is a mismatch of demand and supply.

He emphasised that it is imperative for property developers to consider important factors, in order to ensure that their products remain marketable and competitive as well as do not contribute to the local oversupply issue.

Tang urged developers to focus on pioneering innovative designs that will set their projects apart from those in the local market, and pointed out that based on the current trend, most Malaysians or potential buyers have started working from home. Thus, he urged developers to consider the needs of buyers by incorporating facilities to support their lifestyle and provide convenience.

“A lot of people have started to work from home, so infrastructure such as internet connectivity has to be (built in into the offerings) to allow people to work from home comfortably without interruptions.

“Owning electrical vehicles (EV) has become a trend. Developers should consider including EV charging facilities into homes,“ said Tang.

Furthermore, he noted that there is a growing shift towards smart homes which developers should look more closely into. Smart homes offer buyers a setup whereby they will be able to control appliances and devices remotely.

On office space, Tang said reports show that occupancy rates surprisingly increased last year, driven by recovery in business confidence and sentiments.

However, Tang saiid the location of office space plays an important role in terms of performance in the property market. Therefore, not all offices are expected to perform similarly.

“There was not a lot of increase in terms of office space in Terengganu, I expected it to do quite well in maintaining its office space occupancy.

“However, in Klang Valley, there is clearly and oversupply of office space ... this will definitely bring down the occupancy rates this year,“ he added.

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