Reality bites when you want to buy a house, says expert

According to a recent PropertyGuru Malaysia survey, 92% of Malaysians prefer to own a home rather than rent. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Although the majority of Malaysians may prefer to own a home rather than rent, property expert Ernest Cheong warns that this will be difficult due to the high price of houses.

Speaking to FMT, he said this was a worldwide phenomenon evident in countries such as Japan.

“Sure, a lot of people want to buy a house, but the reality is that most simply cannot afford it.”

He said he regretted that many groups were still trying to push people to buy homes with various short-term incentives.

“In Japan, many young people have come to realise that they will never be able to afford a home, and it’s fine.”

Cheong was commenting on a PropertyGuru Malaysia survey which found that 92% of Malaysians preferred to own a home instead of rent.

He had previously advocated renting homes over buying, given the high price of houses, the rising cost of living, and the greater flexibility that comes with renting.

Meanwhile, Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) CEO Paul Selvaraj said there was nothing wrong with renting for those who couldn’t afford a home.

“People must discard the mentality that renting is inferior to buying a home. It’s the same thing with cars.

“People look down on buying a second-hand car and want a brand new one.”

Selvaraj said people must look at the purpose of a home or car, and not be obsessed with whether they owned it or whether it was new.

“The most important thing is that you have a roof over your head and that your car takes you from one point to another.”

He said naturally, everyone wanted the best, whether in buying a home or a new car, but cautioned people to balance their wants with their financial capability.

He said it was important for people to take stock of what they were earning and commit to planning their finances.

“There are schemes which make owning a home or new car easier, but you have to look at the long term. Can you really afford it?

“You must take into account your salary, expenses, future salary and expenses, and of course savings.”

The PropertyGuru survey noted that despite the rising cost of living, higher loan rejection rates and price unaffordability, many Malaysians still made home ownership a key lifestyle aspiration.

The survey also revealed that even those presently renting aspired to one day buy a home.

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