Property prices in Kota Kinabalu (KK) have now matched those in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
According to HwangDBS Vickers Research, there is strength seen in KK with new condo launches hitting RM600-RM900 per sq ft and some breaching the RM1,000 per sq ft mark.
The research house which recently conducted a site visit there noted that the peak pricing in the secondary market was RM1,400-RM1,800 per sq ft.
It said in a client note that demand was driven by strong monies made from the plantation sector despite softer crude palm oil prices, improving household income and to a certain extent non-locals.
“The value of property transactions in Sabah had more than doubled over eight years to a record RM4.4bil in 2011 (3% of Malaysia's total).
“Transaction volume has also surpassed 10,000 per annum since 2008, with 2011 chalking an average transacted price of RM429,000 (about 34% higher than Malaysia's average of RM319,000),” the research house added.
Other factors which have contributed to the increase include continued rising urbanisation as greater KK hosts 20% of Sabah's total population of 3.1 million people.
HwangDBS also noted that despite the rise, rental yields were still “relatively attractive” at 4%-5% for terrace houses and 5%-6% for condos.
“Launches in greater KK also saw healthy take-ups, for example the Lido Four Seasons Residences in Penampang (leasehold; 90% take-up; average selling prices (ASP): RM360per sq ft), Taman Rimba phase 2 terrace houses in Bandar Sierra, Menggatal (56% at RM400,000 per unit), and Loft C at KK Times Square phase 2 in town (50% with ASP at RM900 per sq ft),” it said.
The research firm also noted that there was a new trend where condos were becoming more popular with their variety of facilities and because they were more affordable than landed properties which had appreciated significantly in the secondary market.