News: Utilising Data in the Malaysian Real Estate Landscape

May 17, 2018

NSW Property states that data analytics is transforming how property is created, built and maintained around the world. It enables the property industry and cities to better understand customers, tenants and users, to better plan, design, build and maintain our cities.

The big data buzzword is paving its way within the local real estate industry as global cities are beginning to use technology to collect data to plan and create buildings and public spaces that meet the needs of the community.

Seeing this, a much-needed exposure on ways to utilise data in building demand-driven real estate saw the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) Institute organising a Developers Sales & Marketing Conference at Nexus Connexion recently.

The event was held to discuss and share some of the hot topics in the industry today, such as the issue of mismatch between products vs buyer needs and how to utilise National Property Information Center (NAPIC) research data to know which property products should be developed, strategies on clearing existing property stock in the challenging market conditions as well as the techniques and approach for effective property sales.

The conference boasted a line of honourable speakers such as Sr. Md Badrul Hisham b. Awang from NAPIC, Datuk Christopher Boyd from Savills Malaysia, Bjorn Sprengers from Property Guru Group, Abdul Jami Shaik from Sime Darby Property as well as Tracy Pan of Maybank – among others.

The event kicked off with real estate experts sharing insights as well as the outlook on the market followed by sharing of how data has played a crucial role in what techniques and approaches are being taken by some developers who are selling well.

Sprengers explained how digital integration an ecosystem by itself today. For PropertyGuru, everything we do know is rooted in a mission or our brand promised. It is very important to understand what that means because of the daytime lead generation we gather can be useful for the consumers or buyers.

He also stressed on how important it is to leverage on data and technology for better targeting as it converts more leads into sales.

On the other hand, Tan Sri Eddy Chen, former president of the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (REHDA) said that in this era of big data, we would like to see data being collated in such a way that is useful and helpful. It is not rocket science to get all these things together and package them all together into timely and accurate information, which developers can rely on to build all-round products and probably avoid the never-ending overbuilding in the wrong location.

During his speech, he stressed that there are too many low-cost dwellings are being constructed across Malaysia.
“We are building everywhere — those affordable houses in the range of RM300,000 to RM500,000. On top of that, a quota for affordable housing is being imposed on developers’ projects.”

“So where is the lack of affordable housing now?” asked the REHDA Institute trustee.

“I would say that the overbuilding in the affordable housing category is quite severe,” he said.

He added that this “severe” overbuilding of affordable homes is due to many developers venturing into this segment amidst high loan rejection rates, with the situation worsened by the dearth of crucial statistics on the property market.

Meanwhile, CBRE-WTW Managing Director Foo Gee Jen is urging Malaysians to rent given the high cost of purchasing residential properties based on the various data he has gathered. Hence, he advises people to try rent-to-own and build-to-rent schemes or co-living and retirement living, whichever suits them.

“Income and house price mismatch requires long-term correction in the market and in the economy as a whole. Renting takes up lower financial commitment and presents as an easier and immediate access to accommodation,” he said during the conference.

Foo noted that this can help solve property underutilisation as unoccupied units can be repositioned for such purpose, like turning vacant commercial units into rental apartments.

“Renting is a sensible option in a soft market as rental yield becomes more attractive when capital gain is slow in a fatigue market,” he explained.

In addition, offering more rental homes is a quicker solution to Malaysia’s accommodation needs, as the country population of 32 million last year grew by 1.3 percent, which works out to about 390,000 persons born each year. This means about need 97,500 new houses are needed per annum, up from the 94,198 units built in 2017.

“It could be time to move away from the Asian mindset on home ownership” as the priority is to have a roof above one’s head either owned or rented,” said Foo.

Image courtesy of Rehda Institute

This article was edited by the editorial team of PropertyGuru. To contact them about this or other stories email

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Shaiful Safar
Real Estate Negotiator
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True Vest Property Consultants Sdn. Bhd.
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