By TANIA LAM
KUCHING: A common observation made by Kuchingites as they drive around their hometown is that there are new commercial developments at every turn.
However, it is also glaringly noticeable that while new shoplots are sprouting frequently, the older ones are not necessarily fully occupied.
When members of the public (some of whom are involved in real estate) were approached for their insight, considerable justifications for this situation were made.
Real estate negotiator Alistair Ting Peng Ann of Kozin Real Estate Sdn Bhd said that there was an oversupply of commercial properties.
“The market is slow. These commercial shoplots are not easy to sell, especially the more expensive ones,” he told New Sarawak Tribune.
“Developers sometimes build without considering the future, and they select locations far from residential zones. Location is very important,” Ting added.
He commented that people were now more hesitant in purchasing properties as they could easily cost more than RM1 million these days.
Lorna Chong Ai Ming, a law student, gave her two cents on the matter as well.
“It seems most construction companies just want to build and make profit but they don’t necessarily think of the buying power of the population.”
She also compared City Square and iCom Square, two commercial centres located relatively close to one another but with drastic differences in their occupancies.
City Square has more vacant lots while iCom Square boasts a vibrant scene.
“City Square tends to be frequented by blue collar workers from the nearby industrial area of Pending, they don’t necessarily have high spending capacity,” she commented.
However, she noted that iCom Square was frequented by many white collar workers from offices within the vicinity such as Crowe Horwarth and United Overseas Bank Malaysia, to name a few.
“These patrons have a greater spending power, thus enticing more tenants to rent at iCom Square,” said Chong.
An IQI real estate negotiator Brandon Chew Wui Pin affirmed that there was a definite oversupply of commercial properties in Kuching, and it would take some time for the local market to digest them.
“Unless the development is in a very prime location, commercial properties usually take about three to six months to rent out. Some even take a year,” he said.
“The commercial property market is also taking quite a hit now, especially with all these e-Commerce options such as Lazada and Shopee,” Chew said.