KUCHING: Demand for residential houses in Miri has increased sharply over the years with annual take-up rate rising to more than 1,000 units currently, including low-cost houses.
The strong growth is a far cry from less than 100 houses completed a year in the 1970s, according to leading property consultant CH Williams, Talhar, Wong & Yeo Sdn Bhd’s (WTWY) managing director Robert Ting.
“Prices of houses had increased at least 60 per cent over the last decade, and in some cases, even doubled or tripled over the past 10 to 15 years,” he said in an interview in conjunction with Miri City Day.
The demand for housing is in tandem with population growth, he added. Based on figures compiled by WTWY Research, Miri division’s population would reach close to 440,000 in 2020 and hit 530,600 by 2030 from 364,500 in 2010.
The increased demand for residential housing and consequently modern conveniences has led to various township developments.
Ting said Bandar Baru Permyjaya launched in November 1995 was by far the largest integrated township to be developed in a single location in Miri.
When fully developed, the new township is expected to have more than 20,000 houses,1,000 shops and 800 units of industrial buildings.
Ting said Miri’s overall property market in 2013 was stable as shown by encouraging transaction activities despite an increase in house prices, stricter housing loan requirements implemented by Bank Negara and the declining real purchasing power of households.
“Shop offices’ transaction volume and prices were up due to higher demand and corresponding increased supply. Buyers also find shop offices attractive investments on an after-tax basis.
“Industrial transaction volume and prices are also up as there is currently a limited supply of industrial units,” added Ting. He said demand remained stable this year.
He added since the first Grand Old Lady Tower or better known as oil ridge was set up in Canada Hill, the oil and gas industry had been one of the driving forces behind property development in Miri. Other catalysts that boost property sales are the thriving timber and oil palm industries.
“Miri is one of the major towns directly having impact with palm oil industry as more than 60 per cent of oil palm estates in Sarawak are located within the middle belt of Bintulu-Miri zone.
“Currently there are about 1.16 million hectares of oil palmestates. This will continue to grow as there are potentially another 1.5 million to two million hectares of land to be opened up for oil palm cultivation in Sarawak,” said Ting.
Going forward, the managing director said property developers would face many challenges, such as regulatory policies, securing land banks, rising land and development costs.
“Therefore, developers who look into research and development to keep costs at reasonable level, maintain quality of their products and having large land banks would be in a strong bargaining position and having a competitive edge in times to come,” he concluded.