BUYING HERITAGE SHOPHOUSES IN MALAYSIA
Asian Property Review chats with KL See, director of Metro Homes Sdn Bhd who is also the deputy president of the Malaysian Institute of Professional Estate Agents and Consultants (MIPEAC) on the investability of shophouses in Malaysia.
1. Define heritage shophouses in Malaysia.
A heritage shophouse or building is defined under the National Heritage Act 2005 (ACT 645) as a building or groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science.
2. Given that conservation or heritage shophouses are a limited asset class, do you think its price will hold steady and even increase over the years despite negative factors such as oversupply of new shophouses or sluggish economic conditions?
Yes, the price will hold steady and a marginal increase over the years is expected because of its limited availability. But overall, such shophouses are still subject to town planning laws, etc. For example, rules such as traffic flow, parking requirements will affect the entire area which may contain heritage shophouses. But these external factors will not have a major impact on heritage shophouses.
3. Is it the right time now to buy heritage shophouses in Malaysia? If yes, which are the preferred areas?
Yes, it is always the right time to buy heritage shophouses in Malaysia due to their limited supply. Most of the time, the unit is sold even before it reaches the market as there is always a group of investor ready to buy it.
Penang, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur are popular locations but Ipoh is now the new destination for tourists – be they locals or foreigners.
4. Who are mainly the buyers and why do they prefer heritage shophouses?
The buyers are mainly locals who are already operating a business in a heritage shophouse or are planning to do so. Foreigners who buy are those who appreciate the value of heritage shophouses although in some cases, they might be put off by the cost of conservation or renovation.