In view of the rapidly declining ringgit, many are rushing to convert their currencies or depositing them into investments, while others can only stand back and watch as the ringgit drops to a low rivaled only by the 1997 economic crisis. Does this mean another impending economic, and potentially political, crisis is upon us?
I am neither a financial or political analyst, nor a property expert or even investor; I am just a normal person with a normal job trying to earn a living and put aside some savings every month. Even that (the savings part, I mean) is becoming a struggle, not only because of the GST and worsening ringgit, which sees my long-awaited overseas holiday plans slowly dwindling, but also brings up concerns about property ownership and affordability in the not-so-distant future.
In a city where the average apartment costs upwards of RM300,000 in the suburbs, it’s not hard to wonder how a working adult with less than 5 years of working experience would be able to afford a home without getting into a whole lot of debt, if they aren’t already in it (think student loans, car loans, credit card bills, etc). Property prices are going steadily upwards, with little regard to the lack of salary increment among the regular working class. There is no denying that there are plenty of more affordable options further away from the city, or in other states, but what you save in terms of housing price is overshadowed by less job opportunities, and longer and more expensive commutes.
On the other hand, buying a home further away now may still prove to be a good choice in the future. Take, for example, areas like Puchong or Mutiara Damansara, which seemed to be out-of-the-way places 15 years ago, but are now bustling townships that see thriving business and soaring property prices. The places that people expressed doubt and cynicism back then have now become the target of homebuyers and investors trying to have a piece of the property pie, however small that piece may be.
Therefore, while the ringgit’s fate has yet to be decided, you can be sure of the real estate spillover effect, as existing areas expand until they no longer have enough land to do so, and the surrounding areas become ‘related’ just by virtue of sheer proximity. (Yes, I’m looking at you, North Kiara a.k.a Segambut.)
So, maybe I can forget about buying a condominium in Mont Kiara, but take a look at somewhere with an upcoming LRT station not too many stations away from the city. If you’re lucky, that 750 sq ft condominium unit in Bukit Jalil may turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever bought – right next to that pile of US dollars you exchanged in September last year.
*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of the website or compan