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First-time buyers will lead Sabah recovery in 2021 and beyond

By Juwai, 27 October 2020

Property agents expect Sabah residential prices and rents to trail national trends with first-time buyers boosting transactions.

Juwai IQI’s Sabah Residential Property Index – Q4 2020 is the first industry report based on the market knowledge of more than 340 real estate agents to track industry expectations for prices, rentals, and market activity in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. The results of the survey will provide invaluable insights about Sabah’s property market for buyers, sellers and developers.


Here are some highlights of the report:

  • Agents expect a V-shaped recovery in the property market with a sharp uptick in 2021 and recovery to continue in 2022 and beyond. 
  • Coronavirus and economic difficulties have provided first-time buyers and investors with an unprecedented opportunity to acquire property at prices that may be discounted or along with developer perks that provide added value.
  • First-time buyers accounted for 39% of new home purchases in the third quarter of this year compared to 28% in the first quarter.
  • Sixty-three (63) per cent of Sabah real estate agents expect first-time local buyers to complete a higher number of transactions in the year to come which is higher than the national expectation with 58.7% of agents forecasting similar growth nationally.
  • Agent consensus is that Sabah prices will fall -7.4% over the next year, before bouncing back 9.4% in 2022
  • Sabah rents are expected to fall -7.4%, more than twice as far as are rents nationwide (-4.8%) over the next year, and upon recovery to gain back less of their lost ground. 
  • The real estate industry is much more concerned about the possibility of a lockdown in Sabah than nationally.
Note: To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the government has banned interstate travel to and from Sabah beginning 12 October 2020 until 25 October 2020. Malaysians are currently barred from leaving the country and tourists and foreigners are restricted from entering the country until 31 December 2020. 

For more Malaysia property surveies and indexes, check out: