- Home ownership still a dream for Malaysians as prices remain beyond reach
Home ownership is still beyond the reach of many Malaysians mainly because of the price as shoppers discovered at a property fair organised by Selangor's PKNS in Shah Alam yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, March 1, 2015.
At a property fair in the SACC mall, in the heart of Shah Alam, shoppers’ faces were grim as they milled around the miniature displays of houses, each with a price tag ranging from around RM300,000 to RM1.4 million.
“It’s unreasonable,” said Roslan Mat Sarji, 47, as he studied the glossy pamphlets prepared by the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), the fair’s organiser.
“I’m helping my son look for a house, but the ones on offer here are all out of our range. We can’t afford this.”
Beside him, his wife was filling up a form and, with a sigh, ticked a box indicating that their budget was below RM250,000.“At this rate, we will have to live in the kampung forever. Who can actually afford to buy a house in the city in this day and age?”
A few metres away, a group of children giggled, oblivious to their parents’ dismay as a lanky, grinning clown hired by PKNS handed out animal-shaped balloons by the dozen.
The couple’s sentiments were a common theme at the fair yesterday, which saw a steady stream of shoppers approach the smiling salesmen for more information on the houses on sale, only to balk at the prices mentioned.
Moody’s Investors Service said in a report earlier this month that demand for residential properties in Malaysia is expected to slow down this year amidst higher mortgage rates and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).
But while the demand for property continues to decline, it was apparent from the fair yesterday that Malaysians still needed homes to own and live in – they were just unable to afford them.
“Many come and ask about the properties, but the moment we mention the prices of the houses on offer, their faces change and they say they will just wait and see,” one PKNS salesmen who declined to be named told The Malaysian Insider.
“You can see many people coming today, but we’ve actually only sold five units since the fair was launched yesterday.”
The property fair runs untilMarch 8.
Despite the luxurious apartments, semi-detached houses and townhouses on display, most shoppers gravitated towards the information boards detailing PKNS’s affordable housing project, called the Selangorku Idaman PKNS.
Many were snapping pictures of the prices, which ranged from RM42,000 and RM250,000, but were disappointed to learn that they would have to apply to the Selangor Housing and Property Board if they wished to purchase it.
Abdul Rasid Mohd Yusof, 57, said his children would have to rely on such housing projects if they were to fulfil their dream of owning a house, as they were earning under RM3,000 a month.
“Both my children got married last year, and they are now paying rent every month. I’m helping them to look for houses, but with their salary, the only way they can survive is to buy a house that costs below RM200,000 and take on part-time jobs.
“I’ve been surveying the houses around Shah Alam since last year, but when I see the houses in Puncak Alam, Setia Alam, I just gulp. The cheapest is RM400,000!” said Rasid.
He said he wasn’t picky about what type of house to purchase, as long as his children stopped “wasting money” on rent when they could be paying for their own homes.
However, cheaper houses in the outskirts of the city were out of the question for Rasid, as the extra money saved would only go towards travelling expenses, such as fuel and toll.
Meanwhile, S.T. Rajah, 60, and his wife werehelping their daughter look for a home to purchase in Selangor as she had been living in a rented house for years.
“I just want to make sure she is secure and has her own property before we are gone. She’s a single mother and we are worried. But we’ve been searching and prices are so high around Selangor, and I doubt they will come down,” he said.
“The government needs to prevent the wealthy investors from gobbling up all the affordable houses, and give a chance for us ordinary Malaysians to buy a house for us to live in.”
In its latest edition of its quarterly report, Inside Asean, Moody’s said it expected residential projects in popular and more developed areas like Selangor, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor – where units are usually priced above RM1 million – to face the greatest challenge in achieving their sales targets.
Meanwhile, deputy director-general of the Valuation and Property Services Department Faizan Abdul Rahman said houses priced below RM500,000 would be the highlight of the housing market this year, while the high-end housing market priced above RM1 million would likely wane, English-language daily TheSun reported on February 5. – March 1, 2015.
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