Middle Class Housing

Maria (not her real name) went shopping for a house. Nothing fancy, just a decent middle class home to meet the needs of her family of four. With two working adults in the family,she figured they could afford a house costing RM 700,000.
A double-storey link house in the suburbs was what she had in mind. It would take her and hubby about 30 minutes to commute to their place of work. The children could go to the neighborhood school. A baby sitter could be arranged for after school hours until the parents got home.
So every weekend they would bundle into their car and go house hunting. Here is what they found out:

1) You can find a landed 2 storey house in the region of RM700,000
2) The houses are located a good distance  away from any big city.There are small towns located nearby
3) The sizes of these houses are 20×70 or smaller
4) The conditions of these houses are not always good
5) The surroundings are not always pleasant
6) There is insufficient space to store things ie books,toys,bicycles,suitcases etc.
7) Just not suitable for  a middle class family

The typical houses had 3 bedrooms and 2 bath rooms on the top floor. There is usually one bedroom and bathroom  on the ground floors with hardly a patch of land to call a garden.
In Maria’s words, “In few of the newer houses I looked at, the bedroom downstairs was the size of a broom closet without space to place a bed. Where should my relatives or friends stay when they visit? I can’t make my mother-in-law sleep on the couch when she visits!
As for the bathrooms,there is hardly room to move  in it. The kitchen is small and narrow and just not big enough for a family.”

I have met others who share Maria’s lamentations. So what do they do?  Well, Maria decided to move even further away from her place of work in order to afford living in a decent sized house.”If I am going to spend my hard earned money paying for a house for the next 25 years, I should be happy and comfortable with my choice”. She does not see a way out of the long commute and the fact that she will hardly see her kids except on weekends.

She accepts things as they are.

My question to you is do you accept this? Is your life about making long commutes in order to own a home and decorate it as you please? Is the middle class being short changed by property developers and the government that does not regulate the housing needs of the people enough?

I would like to see decent housing for all levels of society. I understand that property developers are in the business  to make money but there is a fine line between running a business  and being greedy. Government regulation is needed not just for low income housing but also for the middle class. Really it is a win-win situation for all, not just for property developers.


Can You Afford Not to Buy a Property?

I was at a Chinese New Year Party recently when a young man of about 30 years old named Paul asked me about property prices. He wanted to know if they are going down any time soon. I gave him a truthful answer that is I have actually seen property prices lowering due to various reasons. However, in some areas in, the Klang Valley prices of landed property has not been affected by the doom and gloom that we read and hear about.
He lamented that young people like him would never be able to afford to buy a house today. He was a university graduate, working for a few years in a multinational company and got to travel a bit with his work. On week-ends he conducts martial arts classes because that is his passion. Besides, the money is good too!
He is a good Asian son who still lives with his parents and recently took them on a holiday abroad. There was no sign of a girlfriend. My guess is he is happy with his present lifestyle and living arrangements. He is comfortable and does not need to think of much besides his work and hobby. As long as this is the way you think, then you will not own a property.
However, if you consider the following, then you may not be satisfied:
  1. Will I be contend staying with my parents for the rest of my life?
  2. Will I stay with my parents after I get married? Will my spouse agree to that arrangement?
  3. When my parents pass on, what will happen? If the property is sold or shared between my siblings what will I do?
  4. Am I happy to stay in a rented house for the rest of my life?what happens if my landlord increase the rental or chooses to sell the property? Will I be able to find another house to rent in the same location? At what price?
The reality is owning a roof over your head is not a luxury regardless of what people may tell you. You need to buy a property (house/apartment) no matter how small because a roof over your head is an absolute necessity. Granted you may not want to live on your own right now but it is still yours to do as you please, when you please. No one can take that away from you, unless you fail to make mortgage payments.
The price of property is dependent on location, size, landed or not. History has proven that the value of property increases over time simply because land is scarce and building costs rise over time.
So bite the bullet, invest some time and money in choosing the best property for you and just do it. Otherwise you might find that your money has been spent and you do not own a property simply because you were waiting for the right time. The right time, young man, is now.