On Malaysian House Price Growth: The Effects of Market Sentiments

  • Calvin W. H. Cheong Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus
  • Lisa L. H. Ngui Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus
  • Shella Georgina Beatrice Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus


This paper examines the factors that drive the recent exponential growth in Malaysian house prices. We first construct a sentiment index for the housing market in Malaysia guided by the methods employed by Baker and Wurgler (2006). Preliminary analyses of our bias-free sentiment index indicate a strong correlation with overall market confidence which attests to the reliability of our index. The results also show contemporaneous sentiment to strongly influence future housing market returns especially in the short-term. Contrary to the literature, our results suggest that it is property developer behaviour that drive sentiments and property prices. The study contributes to the literature by providing an easily generalizable method of constructing a housing market sentiment index in other countries that holistically accounts for essential housing market elements that are otherwise ignored in confidence indices. This study also contributes to practice as it provides evidence to policy-makers who wish to cool property markets may want to design interventions that are targeted at property developers instead of home-buyers or speculators.

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