(File pix) 7 in 10 Malaysians would consider buying a home in 2019 with new government initiatives. Archive image for illustration purposes only

HOME ownership is a boon to many. For those hoping to purchase a first home, it’s a buyer’s market.

If you are buying in the secondary market, there’s a good possibility that you would find something below the market as there are always people out there desperate to sell because they can no longer service their loan amid the current high cost of living.

But are potential first-timers willing to make the move and commit to a property purchase?

Social news company SAYS recently concluded a survey among 8,568 Malaysians to find out what they thought about buying a house this year.

The 2019 Malaysian Home Survey, which ran from December 27 last year to January 25, revealed that seven in 10 respondents would consider buying a house this year, thanks to the government’s initiatives.

However, one-third of them aren’t ready to change their lifestyles to afford a home.

P. Gunasegaran, who lives with his parents, said despite earning about RM4,000 a month, he doesn’t think he would be buying a house anytime soon.

“I am turning 28 this year, I do own a car and pay monthly instalment. After work I usually hang out with my friends and on weekends, we take long drives to Port Dickson or Ipoh.

“I don’t think I am ready to give up my lifestyle just to own a house. Even if someday I get married, it will take me a few years to buy a house as I don’t think my income would have increased that much,” he told NST Property.

The government initiatives (announced in the 2019 Budget) include waiver of stamp duty for first-time buyers who purchase a unit priced between RM300,001 and RM1 million in the first six months of the year.

The National Affordable Housing Council has also been pushing for more affordable homes with its “One Million Affordable Homes 2018-2028” project.

But are these initiatives enough to get people to buy?

Richard Tan, a marketing manager in Petaling Jaya, said the initiatives are attractive and if he could buy a house that costs between RM500,000 and RM700,000 in a prime location in Klang Valley, he would most probably put his money on the table.

“But these days where can you get a property in the price range that is close to the KLCC area, Bangsar or even Petaling Jaya? What you might get are properties further away from these prime areas, like Rawang, Semenyih, Shah Alam and Klang... I don’t want to live there. I’m currently renting a house in Petaling Jaya and just happy with the way things are right now,” he said.

UNAWARE ABOUT HOUSING PROMOTIONS

According to the survey report, while many Malaysians are hopeful about home ownership this year, 65 per cent of them are uninformed about deals and housing promotions.

The report said 65 per cent of Malaysians surveyed have not heard even of one ongoing housing promotion. This shows that the population is still largely unaware of any deals and offers available to them, it said.

Other findings of the survey:

1. One in five respondents said their major roadblock to home ownership is “worrying about making the wrong decision”.

2. Finances are another roadblock for potential buyers. About 23 per cent of respondents said they could not afford the down payment, while 13 per cent were unable to get the loan margin they desired.

3. Respondents found it hard to buy a house because they would be “unable to maintain their current lifestyle”.

4. The main reason Malaysians want to own a residential unit is not because of peer pressure. About 69 per cent of respondents want to have a house to be able to feel a sense of ownership.

5. Twenty-four cent of respondents said they want to leave something behind for their family.

6. Only two per cent said they want to own a home because they are being bugged by parents or friends.

7. Overall, most respondents still prefer landed property over high-rise buildings.

8. The top priority for respondents when buying a house is location and connectivity.

9. The focus is on having homes in not only central locations, but also well-connected ones.

10. They also look for a home with good design, security and amenities, as well as surrounding neighbourhood.

11. Of all the extra features respondents could have, 51 per cent of them choose wet kitchen.

12. They also like garden space (49 per cent), extra bathrooms (46 per cent), and high ceilings (45 per cent) over walk-in wardrobes (39 per cent).

The survey shows that finance is not the only thing that is holding Malaysians back from purchasing a house.

It is also due to their mindset and willingness to change.

While central locations can be convenient, these areas are also more congested and overpopulated. Homes that are slightly further away but are well-connected via highways may actually be more favourable for owners in the long run.

Potential buyers should take advantage of the 10 per cent discount that developers offer in a bid to reduce housing stock.

There are various schemes offered by developers to promote home ownership among Malaysians.

For example, Bank Negara has established a RM1 billion fund to help first-time buyers with a monthly income not more than RM2,300 to buy houses of up to RM150,000 with a low financing rate of 3.5 per cent.

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