Wed, 01 Jul 2015
From:
By WATARU SUZUKI
JAKARTA -- Indonesian property developer Ciputra Development is planning to reduce its property sales target for the year as the national economic slowdown continues to erode demand.

"We thought this year [would] be better, but investment has been weak," Ciputra director Harun Hajadi told reporters on Tuesday.

In August, Ciputra is likely to reduce its property sales target for 2015 from 10.96 trillion rupiah ($770 million), a 27% increase from 2014.

The company has not quantified the likely reduction yet. Sales up to May stood at 3.23 trillion rupiah -- only 30% of the target for the year, and this followed on from a 3% fall in overall sales in 2014.

Indonesian property prices had been increasing in recent years, but developers encountered weak demand last year amid political uncertainty arising from national presidential elections.

Hajadi attributes this year's weak appetite to the slowdown in economic growth, which slumped to 4.7% year on year in the first quarter. He said property investors, most of whom have high income levels, "prefer to keep their money in cash." He noted that banks have also become more judicious with their lending.

Hajadi is among executives who take the view that the central bank's recent policy to ease down-payment regulations for home buyers to stimulate economic growth will not have a significant impact on the property market.

"The question is not about affordability," said Artadinata Djangkar, a director of Ciputra Property, a listed subsidiary of Ciputra Development. "People with the money do not want to buy."

The performance figures need interpretation. Property sales are not immediately recorded as revenue since many buyers pay in installments. Ciputra actually posted an increase in revenue and net profit for 2014 despite weaker property sales.

While the result was helped by mall and hotel operations, property sales remain widely regarded as the main indicator of the company's future performance.

Ciputra is developing projects in more than 30 cities across the archipelago, ranging from houses to high-rise apartments. The company remains optimistic about the Indonesian property market's long-term prospects; land prices also remain well below those in Thailand, for example.





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