PETALING JAYA: For many young people, continuing to live with their family instead of starting their own home is probably the last option, but a veteran property expert says this could actually be their best bet.
Speaking to FMT, Ernest Cheong said it was becoming increasingly difficult for young people to own their own home.
For those whose salaries were below RM2,500 a month, he added, it would be impossible to live in the city centre.
“The first choice is to buy your own house, which is impossible. The second option is to rent, but you will use almost half your salary just to pay the rent.
“The final option is to live with your family. This would be best. Then the burden of rent is off your shoulders.”
Provided, he added, that the parents were staying in the city.
“The fourth option would be to ‘balik kampung’ to where your parents’ house is if they are not in the city.”
Cheong said this option was in fact even better as the cost of living outside Kuala Lumpur would be lower.
He said people could still make a living in villages by farming or gardening, if the option was available, which was better than having to struggle in the city.
Cheong’s opinion appeared to resonate with several young people FMT spoke to who still live with their parents or have moved in with their in-laws.
Nadia Harun Arsha, 28, moved into her in-laws’ home immediately after getting married three years ago.
The marketing executive said it was a relief to live with family members instead of renting a house as it enabled her to save more money.
She said she had been saving to make a downpayment on a house at some point in the future.
“I have looked around for a new house, but the prices are high and it’s impossible to buy one.
“By staying with my in-laws, I only have to pay a bit. I am in charge of the kitchen, so it’s my duty to do the grocery shopping while my mother-in-law settles the bills.”
She said getting to work was no problem either, as her in-laws’ house was near her office.
Newly-wed Mohd Faisal Kamaruddin lives with his wife’s parents in Kota Damansara.
The 27-year-old said he had initially refused their offer, but that they had insisted.
“They said it’s better if I move in with them and help pay for utilities and food instead of wasting money on rent, since they had their own house.
“They said to stay with them, at least until I could save up enough for the downpayment on my own house.”
Faisal said living with his in-laws was awkward at first, but he eventually became used to it.
“It also helped me learn responsibility, because I help buy groceries for my wife and her family.
“Even though I’m paying for food and part of the utilities and internet, I’m still paying a lot less than if I were to rent a house.”
Not just the newly-weds
Newly-weds were not the only ones to express relief over living with family members.
Zahara Aisyah Amir, 25, said she was still staying with her parents in Shah Alam.
She told FMT she was lucky to have parents who lived in the city as she did not have to rent a house or room.
“I don’t think I could afford to rent a house near my office which is in Kuala Lumpur, as the rental must be high. My salary alone would not be enough to cover that.
“Even though I am staying in Shah Alam and have to go back and forth to the office and face the massive traffic jam every day, it is tolerable because I only have to spend money on fuel.”
Zahara said her savings were only a quarter of her salary and would not be enough to cover rental if she was not staying with her parents.
Amir Asyraf, 30, also lives with his parents as it is impossible for him to rent a house.
His workplace is 50 minutes away from home, but he would rather face the journey every day than rent a place near his office.
Earlier this month, Khazanah Research Institute’s director of research Suraya Ismail said renting a home was not an inferior choice.
She had added, however, that rental must be affordable, noting that it was very difficult to rent in Kuala Lumpur and certain hotspots in Selangor.
Jones Lang Wootton executive director Prem Kumar, meanwhile, had said the renting option offered more flexibility, and that owning a property at a young age would eat into a person’s disposable income.