Developers driven by market trends


FOLLOWING a tough year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many developers had to learn the hard way on how to boost sales and sustain their business.

Today, many property players are focusing on digitalisation, affordable properties and churning out products that are catered towards customer needs.

LBS Bina Group Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Hock San says the company will focus its efforts on generating organic growth through digital transformation.

“Digitalisation will accord us operational efficiencies while enabling us to ensure the health and wellbeing of our people, ” he says in the group’s 2020 annual report.

“We will also continue to explore ways in which we can enhance the sales experience for our customers by translating the physical viewing experience onto our virtual platforms.

“Digitalisation will feature strongly as we turn to virtual property fairs and online sales to close deals.”

Lim adds that the company will continue to ramp up efforts to strengthen product quality, enhance digitalisation and operational efficiencies, as well as optimise its resources and exercise strict capital management.

“As a group, we intend to remain flexible and adaptable so that we remain relevant to our stakeholders in the new normal.

“As we venture forth, I am confident that LBS will deliver another resilient performance in 2021 as we take prudent, careful steps forward while at the same embracing innovative, practical measures.”

Lim says the group’s current projects continue to be profitable, even as it leverages on the elements of affordability and accessibility.

“One of our key points of focus in 2021 will be our Cameron Highlands project that we are confident will sell well.

“The group also has several new projects in the pipeline which include Sri Kembangan and Bukit Jalil.

“As with all our projects, we always monitor the market to carefully gauge when would be the best time to launch our offerings.”

Lim goes on to emphasise that quality remains another important aspect for LBS, as the company strives to uphold high standards throughout its operations by closely monitoring quality-related activities.

“The use of the IBS methodology helps us to achieve this via its offer of shorter construction periods, reduced overall costs, reduced manpower requirements and the production of higher quality components, among others.

“We also have specially designated teams to execute maintenance checks at our properties before they are released for sale.

“As part of our commitment to ensuring higher standards of customer service, we are looking to establish an online customer service presence that will make it easier for customers to provide feedback and voice their concerns, ” he says.

Tropicana Corp Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai, meanwhile, says the group’s mid-term plan is to continue its customer-centric drive, recognising the needs of its purchasers and providing an easy avenue for them to own Tropicana-exclusive properties.

“Our earlier Tropicana 10-TEN campaign and our current Tropicana 100 sales campaign demonstrated our commitment to support property purchasers by providing superb deals backed by 100% financing from local banks.

“The recent stimulus package provided by the Malaysian government, especially the reintroduction of the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) 2020 and the real property gains tax exemption unveiled in the short-term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) will also help stimulate the market, ” he says in the group’s 2020 annual report.

To capitalise on this, Lim says the Tropicana 100 sales campaign will help to secure more opportunities for the company in 2021.

“Long-term, we aim to unlock 2,144 acres of landbank across Malaysia with a gross development value of over RM77bil.

“In the coming years, we can explore the possibilities of expanding Tropicana’s foothold in South-East Asia and Australia.

“We are taking our time to assess the right business opportunities at the right valuations that will significantly contribute to our key earnings and sustain our long-term growth.”

UEM Sunrise Bhd chairman Datuk Noorazman Abdul Aziz says the company will continue to leverage on digital capabilities to supplement more robust consumer engagements, as well as offer attainable homes that meet the needs and wants of buyers.

He assures that this will be complemented with better financing options and flexible opportunities to rent as a prelude to ownership.

“Rest assured, our goals remain unchanged as we continue to pursue our strategic growth in line with UEMS 2025 and cement our position as one of Malaysia’s leading property developers, ” he says in the company’s 2020 annual report.

In May 2020, UEM Sunrise commissioned and approved UEMS 2025, a five-year strategy to transform the developer into a balanced real estate company with sustainable returns.

Noorazman says the outlook for 2021 generally remains more positive, with recovery expected in the second half of the year

“With vaccine rollouts underway, in addition to the easing of containment measures and implementation of policy support in a few of the larger global economies, consumer demand and gross domestic product is expected to return to positive growth.”

However, Noorazman says lingering caution remains, with high uncertainty surrounding the progress and success of the national immunisation programme, the possibility of a rise in infections and the continuation of the MCO.

“The rising number of business insolvencies resulting in loss of income and rising unemployment rates could also give way to more cautious consumer spending.

“In 2020, Malaysia’s unemployment rate was at an all-time high of 4.5%.”

In view of the prevailing economic and challenging market conditions, Noorazman says he welcomed the Malaysian government’s decision to re-introduce the HOC.

The HOC was initially kicked off in January 2019 to address the overhang problem in the country.

The campaign, which was initially intended for six months, was extended for a full year.

It proved successful, having generated sales totalling RM23.2bil in 2019, surpassing the government’s initial target of RM17bil.

The government reintroduced the HOC in June last year under Penjana to boost the property market after it was adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March, during the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association’s briefing on the property market for 2021, its president Datuk Soam Heng Choon revealed that since the HOC was reintroduced last June, a total of 34,354 residential units valued at RM25.65bil had been sold as at Feb 28,2021.

If not for MCO 2.0 in January this year, Soam says sales would definitely have been a lot higher.

“Because of the MCO, we lost out on two months of potential sales, ” he said during the briefing back in March.

The HOC is scheduled to conclude at the end of this month.

However, property players and even some politicians have urged that the campaign be extended until the end of the year.

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