Citibank optimistic on housing loans

By BUSINESS TIMES

CITIBANK Bhd, which launched the country’s first one-stop property portal for home buyers yesterday, aims to achieve a 10-12 per cent market share of new home loan approvals in Malaysia this year, an official said.

“We’re projecting a slightly higher growth than last year, in view of the competitive market,” said Adrian Soon, head of the bank’s mortgage business.

He said demand for residential properties is expected to stay buoyant, especially with sales at prime locations remaining strong with support from local and foreign buyers.

He believes the Malaysian housing sector has further potential for growth this year.

He said Citibank is targeting a 5-6 per cent growth in market share of home loans outstanding in 2007, which is similar to the kind of growth seen last year.

Citibank currently has a market share of over 7 per cent in home loans outstanding, which makes it among the top five players in Malaysia, he added.

The bank designed the Citibank Property Portal to make it easier and faster for people to own a home, he said.

“It presents a first point of reference for property buyers, due to its speed and convenience,” he told reporters after the launch yesterday.

By logging on to www.citibank.com.my/propertyportal, users will have access to comprehensive property search, buying guides, property market research and latest home loan promotions, as well as conditional home loan approvals.

The list of properties available for sale range from recent launches and completed properties to auctioned properties.

The portals’ buying guide includes useful information on Employees Provident Fund guidelines for home purchases, second home purchases, foreign investment committee guidelines and cost of legal fees for sales and purchase agreement.

Roy Heong, Citibank’s head of consumer e-business, said the portal would be a relevant source of information for property buyers, given that there are now about 12 million Internet users in Malaysia.

“We believe that we’re delivering a property information gateway for everyone, particularly those who are looking to purchase a property,” he said.

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