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Property market comes to a standstill





KUALA LUMPUR: The next few months look bleak for homeowners thinking of selling their properties in Bukit Antarabangsa after Saturday's landslide.

Real estate agencies foresee a major depreciation in property value in the area, with public perception skewed against the posh neighbourhood.

Zerin Properties group chief executive officer Previndran Singhe said the landslide had brought the market to a standstill.

"At the moment, I don't think the properties have any value at all. Even if it drops to RM10,000, people just won't buy because they value their lives more," he said yesterday.

Previndran said, however, such negativity won't last long, pointing out that was what happened after the Highland Towers tragedy in 1993.

"Two or three years after the Highland Towers tragedy, people forgot about it and things carried on as normal.

"Once people realise that there are different parts of Bukit Antarabangsa which are not affected by the landslide, I think it (the market) will pick up."

Previndran said a voluntary exodus by residents in the area was unlikely.

"Just look at places like LA (Los Angeles, USA), San Francisco... people like these areas (the two cities are earthquake-prone). So, if there is going to be an exodus, it will only happen if the government forces it."

DTZ Malaysia executive director Brian Koh agreed that perception would be the biggest hurdle in moving property sales in the area.

"There will be a problem finding buyers because the area is perceived as too risky.

"Their values will be badly affected. I foresee a depreciation of between 20 and 30 per cent, possibly even higher.

"Selling will be difficult over the next 12 months, and the situation is compounded by the prevailing economic conditions.

"When it does (rebound), it will happen on its own or economic factors such as inflation."

Koh stressed, however, that the landslide's immediate effect would extend to all hillside developments nationwide.

"Any hillside development will be perceived negatively by the public."

On another matter, the General Insurance Association of Malaysia said only residents who bought insurance policies that covered landslides would be able to claim compensation.

This was stated by the association's executive director, Lim Chia Fook, yesterday.

"Insurance claims by residents affected by the landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa will depend on the cover they bought for their properties," said Lim.

He was unable to provide the total amount of expected claims, saying these were only trickling in now.




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