PETALING JAYA: Prospective homeowners are reevaluating their priorities, showing willingness to forgo certain amenities in their quest for an affordable home, according to PropertyGuru’s Consumer Sentiment (CSS) Study H2 2023 report.
“This shift highlights a changing consumer preference where practicality and cost savings are prioritised when selecting a home,” said PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez.
According to Fernandez, the study shows that respondents, mainly older individuals and renters, are happy to forgo certain amenities such as gyms (49%), playgrounds (46%), jogging tracks or recreational spaces (45%) and balconies (43%) if it leads to a lower price tag of a house.
“On the other hand, certain amenities like parking spaces, functional kitchens, and second bathrooms are more preferred by respondents,” he said.
Furthermore, 35% of respondents expressed a willingness to modify their expectations and opt for more budget-friendly properties that fall within their financial capacity.
As a result, Fernandez said this has led developers to respond by constructing smaller units to align with prevailing market conditions, in order to lower down their prices.
Low affordability remains
The CSS report reaffirms that low housing affordability remains as a core issue that consumers face.
50% of the study’s respondents, particularly the younger and lower-income ones, still rely heavily on government assistance when it comes to home purchases.
Moreover, 46% of those surveyed have expressed persistent difficulties in securing funding for affordable housing initiatives.
“This struggle essentially undermines the main objective of the various affordable housing initiatives,” said Sheldon.
With Bank Negara Malaysia holding the overnight policy rate steady at 3% and inflation showing signs of moderation at 2%, the government now has an opportunity to undertake a thorough evaluation of existing and planned housing programmes and strategies, said the country manager.
“We are hoping for some good news from the progressive wage policy that will be tabled in Budget 2024, as it might be the support Malaysians need to bring them closer towards their homeownership dream,” he further added.
He said the issue of an unsustainable disparity in wealth is not exclusive to Malaysia, as it is a common challenge faced by many other countries.
Nonetheless, while the government is making efforts in the right direction, the real test lies in its ability to effectively implement these measures, he said.
Last month, economy minister Rafizi Ramli said data from the statistics department revealed that the median wage for employees was RM2,600, which is lower than the liveable wage of RM3,100.
He added that the median wage sits only a few hundred ringgit above the national poverty line of RM2,100.