As property prices soar, especially in and around major cities like Kuala Lumpur, people are opting to buy smaller units for their housing needs. This is especially true for working singles and couples, the millennials who are struggling to cope with the high cost of living in the city and increasing property prices. Apartments and condominiums are the properties of choice for these individuals who want independent living with manageable maintenance, and being able to proudly claim a property as their own.

According to Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) president Ar Chan Seong Aun, the traditional approach of housing in Malaysia, which is the dream of owning landed property or a terrace house, is no longer a mindset that is feasible in today’s economy. People have to start looking at multi-story residences, with small square feet, individual units and shared facilities, in order to lower cost. Smaller housing units are much more affordable, especially for first-time buyers with budgetary limitations.

It also makes sense to start small when you first start working and considering to buy property to call your own. Many people resort to taking out various loans for housing that they cannot afford, with some of them borrowing from relatives or using credit cards to cover the down payment, just to fulfill the norm (or mindset) of owning landed property after joining the workforce a certain number of years. Instead, consider the benefits of buying a small apartment unit when starting out, then once you are able to afford better residential options, the smaller unit can be used as an investment when trading up for a larger unit or landed property. Property is more than likely to increase in value over the years, so it’s a good idea to start with something within your means, and slowly upgrade your way up to suit different stages of life.

Advantages of small units:
• Easier to clean.
• Cheaper to paint, furnish, decorate and maintain.
• Shared facilities equals to more facilities.
• Household bills are less expensive.
• Save money by curbing impulse purchases (due to lack of space).

Disadvantages of small units:
• Limited space for expansion.
• Compulsory maintenance/amenities fees.
• Insufficient parking space.
• Less privacy/personal space.
• Subject to building rules and regulations, noisy neighbours.