Study: House prices near MRT stations too high due to poor planning

The MRT was built with the hope of connecting the B40 and M40 groups to the city and commercial areas.

PETALING JAYA: Poor planning of station locations for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang mass rapid transit (MRT) has made prices of houses within a 1km radius of these stations unaffordable to both the bottom 40% (B40) and middle 40% (M40) groups, a study shows.

The study by the Centre for Governance and Political Studies revealed that while the MRT was built with the hope of connecting these two groups to the city and commercial areas, properties in the vicinity of the train network were beyond their reach, as the MRT stations were located in affluent neighbourhoods.

It cited the example of how properties within 1km from the Pusat Bandar Damansara MRT station were the most expensive, at a median pricing of RM4 million, which can only be owned by expatriates and 1% of Malaysians.

“When the price per square foot for properties within 1km of each of the 31 stations along the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line is evaluated, we find that that there are no properties within reach of the B40 group.

“Only properties in eight out of 31 stops, all headed towards the Kajang MRT, can be categorised as affordable for the M40 group,” Centre for Governance and Political Studies director of strategy and alliance Zaidel Baharuddin said today.

The data was collected from 5,200 households located along each stop of the MRT SBK line. The study also took into account the household income of those who live within the area.

He said the median pricing of properties within 1km from the Sungai Buloh and Taman Mutiara MRT stations was equally high, which was unusual as the neighbourhood was not naturally a high-end one owing to its distance from the city.

“However, new developments in the area are seeing properties such as double-storey link houses and bungalows which are out of reach for the B40 and M40 groups,” he said.

The study found that housing areas within 1km of the Taman Suntex MRT station until the Sungai Buloh MRT station, excluding the Kampung Selamat station, did not have properties priced RM400,000 and below which were affordable to the M40 group.

“Only several housing areas within a 1km radius of the Kajang Stadium, Batu 11 Cheras, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Sri Raya, Taman Connaught, Taman Pertama and Maluri MRT stations can be afforded by the M40 group.

“Property developments from the Sungai Buloh MRT to the Bandar Utama MRT are classified as beyond the reach of this group,” he said.

Zaidel said if one were to consider the size and the price of housing, only several properties within 1km of the stations could be owned by couples and families.

Even with the assumption that a small family would need a house between the sizes of 1,000 and 1,500 square feet to live comfortably, it said, only properties in several MRT stops fulfilled such criteria.

“While there are affordable housing with a floor area of 700 square feet, we are of the view these are only suitable for those who are not married,” he said.

“If this study is an early indicator of the failure to plan public transportation in Malaysia, there is still room to fix this,” he added.