My friend visited me the other day from Penang. Born, schooled, got married and working in Penang. A pure Penangite. She went shopping and at 545pm, she travelled from city centre back to my condo in Damansara Damai within 40 minutes. There were some slow jams here and there. When she arrived, I asked her how was the journey. She said, ‘wah so far.’ My face changed because in Penang previously, despite the fact that my friend’s company located just 4.5km away from her house, she needs 30 minutes driving to reach her office. Today, in KL, despite the distance of my home to office being 22km, the duration was just slightly more and she said, ‘it’s far?’
It’s time we become a little more international. In many of the developed countries and even including those ‘most liveable cities,’ the people are staying ever further away due to prices. they are definitely not going to stay in a cramped tiny little home just so that they could stay within the city. Sorry, not even the fringes. It would be the suburbs. Google this word to understand more.
If we think objectively, is the distance more important than the duration? I have friends who stay in Cheras needing over 45 minutes to arrive at office. (peak hour) This is despite the distance being just 8.5km. In my previous home, Kelana Puteri, the distance was 18km but I typically arrive home in 45 minutes. I must leave my home before 7am everyday though or I will be late for office. To me, duration is much more important than distance. Yes, it is true, during non-jam periods, the distance becomes important but I work 5 days every week while I only go out shopping once every weekend. I would take duration as more important anytime.
Another reason why duration is more important is because when you buy a new property, the further the distance, the price is lower compared to one which is nearer. Thus properties within a 5km radius from city centre is typically more expensive than those which are within a 15km radius. Properties outside the 15km radius would be even cheaper unless it is some sort of integrated townships with easy access to public transports and malls etc. The difference in price can be easily a few hundred thousand ringgit for the same sized home. When we think objectively, the 15km difference is a mere 15 minute difference, or lesser. I have no issues to pay much lower and drive 15 minutes more. After just 2 weeks, I would not even feel it anymore. For some areas, the difference may be even higher because of price per sq ft calculation.
Personally, I will always choose duration and not the distance. To my Penangite friend, it is true that the distance seemed far but the duration showed that it is really not. Then again, anywhere more than half an hour is considered ‘extremely far’ for any Penangite. So, I think I must understand her comment. In Penang, there are a few hotspots too, as per the locals. I do not subscribe to those views. That’s why residents in Tanjung Tokong would forever say those who stay in Sungai Ara are living in a faraway place. I benefited much from looking at property investment based on ‘duration’ and not ‘distance’ and I will continue to do so. Do join me if you think I make sense. 🙂
written on 13 June 2014 updated on 6 Apr 2016
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