I was in Penang this weekend with my family. When I was driving past a huge billboard, my mother asked, ‘only RM700,000 for a double-storey landed home in Penang?’ She asked because my condo in Sungai Ara was sold was RM645,000 2 years ago. How could a landed property within Penang be only slightly more expensive? I replied, ‘That’s Balik Pulau.’ I told her that Balik Pulau is considered a secondary choice for Penangites because of the distance as well as the development. No malls, no trendy cafes, no proper entertainment outlets and not a preferred residential area since the day I first arrived in Penang back in 1998.
Even though I love Sungai Ara, but I think Sungai Ara suffered from the same stereotype too. Yes, I definitely prefer Sungai Ara even over areas such as Tanjung Tokong (hey, I have a condo here too) and Gurney or Georgetown. Perhaps Gelugor and Greenlane have their advantages but both places are by far more expensive than Sungai Ara or Balik Pulau which brings us back to the question of affordability versus size and location. Coming back to Balik Pulau, there’s not much happening there apart from the best durians in Penang as well as cheap laksa and “ais-kacang.’ She nodded her head in agreement. I do not think she wanted me to buy and stay in Balik Pulau.
Has Balik Pulau been forgotten? Well, all the news about the mainland of Penang seemed to point to that direction. When it’s island vs mainland, somehow the island does not really include Balik Pulau. Just look at the prices of the landed properties in mainland versus Balik Pulau today. Hey, the differences are actually negligible and some projects in the mainland, especially those by famous developers are already priced higher than the one my mother asked me about. WHY? Second bridge, Penang Transportation Master Plan (PTMP), IKEA (though it’s 2018 or further) and many others. Basically, the focus is on affordability in mainland versus island without including Balik Pulau.
Personally, for those who really do need a decent landed property home and is working in the Bayan Lepas Industrial area, I do think Balik Pulau remains a viable choice where landed and affordability is concerned. Please do not say it’s far because it’s definitely not further than crossing the Penang Bridge 2, ok. In terms of choices, just drive there during the weekends, view a few and enjoy a bowl of ice-kachang. Perhaps it might just be that home sweet home that you are looking for, without burning your wallet too much. Happy property searching in “Back Island.”
written on 2 Feb 2016
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