Info & Guides

13 March 2017
Office market — not all doom and gloom
Office market — not all doom and gloom

DESPITE the current soft commercial office market, Khong & Jaafar Sdn Bhd managing director Elvin Fernandez believes that there are office units that still offer good rental yields.

“The office market in the Klang Valley, in general, has an overall supply of 122.37 million sq ft of office space, of which vacant office space accounts for 29.5 million sq ft.

“Thus, the occupancy rate is 75.89% as reported by the National Property Information Centre, as at 3Q2016. However, just because the office market is in an overall oversupplied state, it does not mean that all is bad. There will always be office buildings that are attractive investments because they may be in a specific location or have an MSC or green status [for the building],” Fernandez told

Fernandez was one of the panellists for the Multi-Million Dollar Deal Forum held at the Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention (MAREC‘17) together with Savills Malaysia executive chairman Datuk Christopher Boyd and JLL Malaysia Property Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd country head and managing director YY Lau. The session was moderated by Zerin Properties group CEO and founder Previndran Singhe. The forum was held on the first day of the two-day convention last week.

“Some buildings have long-term tenants [and some are blue chip tenants] and with fixed step-up rents. Such buildings are more attractive from an investment point of view and usually command higher net yields [forward yields] and, therefore, higher values psf,” Fernandez shared during the forum.

“A good grade A office building may, for instance, command about RM1,000 psf based on the total net lettable area, and for buildings [with long-term tenants and fixed step-up rents], the rents could be anything between RM1,000 psf and RM1,500 psf,” he said, adding that these are the offices that investors should focus on.

JLL’s Lau agreed that offices which can command decent rental yields are still available. In addition, she said that investors could buy old offices and add value to them by refurbishing them.

Another sector investors could pay more attention to in the next two years could be industrial properties and buildings in transit-oriented developments as they could bring good returns, Lau said.

During the forum, Lau also lamented the lack of real estate data in Malaysia. She said there is a need for more statistics in the real estate industry so that the correct information could be conveyed to both sellers and buyers.

“Sometimes, clients ask me, what is the price differential for a building in Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang? We don’t seem to be able to give them such information because we lack such statistics unlike Singapore,” she shared.

Meanwhile, Boyd said he sees a trend for more joint ventures for residential developments especially large developments that need more capital to develop.

“Landbanking is going to be a thing of the past. Developers with good reputation will be matched with landowners. It all comes down to financial engineering,” he noted.

The two-day annual convention was organised by The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents.