I was having lunch with a few younger colleagues. Younger means they are 30 plus, married and has one kid. Or at least married. Haha. If I say young colleagues, then those are in their 20s. I have lots of those actually since millennials are now the majority. Gen-Xs are slowly retiring…. Anyway, one of them asked me whether she should get a second property since her household is pretty stable now in terms of income. My answer is, ‘Of course.’ She laughed because she expected me to answer that too. She stays in Nilai and works in KL city centre. Currently, She parks her car at the Salak Tinggi ERL station and takes it to KL Sental before changing from KL Sentral to Dang Wangi. She then said that when Greater Kuala Lumpur has better accessibility, then she could buy a bit further than those usual few hotspots nearer to the city centre.
I told her that I disagree with the term ‘better accessibility’ when it comes to Greater Kuala Lumpur. The reason I say so is because there are hardly any neighbourhood with a sizeable population within Greater Kuala Lumpur which is NOT connected to any public transportation like the bus, KTM, LRT and even the MRT Line 1 which will be fully functional in a few days’ time. As for whether it is convenient enough or even on-time enough, it is debatable but if compared to leaving the home in our car at 730am and be stuck in jams of up to 1.5 hours or more, I think the public transportation option is acceptable. In fact for most of those hotspots, no drivers would leave home after 7 am because they would be stuck in an endless jam. So, if the real issue is not accessibility, then what is it that is stopping everyone from buying and staying in less popular areas? I told her it is a term I call Acceptability.
When we still have a choice, when those more popular areas still have some choices which are still affordable enough, it will remain the main choice. This is despite the fact that we could easily note a huge price difference between nearby areas. There are areas where RM700 per sq ft for high-rise is considered ‘attractive’ while there are areas where it’s still below RM550 per sq ft for high-rise and they are still shunned upon. Of course, there are a lot of reasons being provided but truth is, we will just have to wait until these popular spots become way too expensive for the majority before they would consider other areas. Oh yeah, it will take some time because developers for these popular areas will build smaller units to ensure the price remain affordable. Just look at the more advanced markets for clues. Ever smaller units are being built so that the entry price to own a unit remains similar as the years before. By the way, even in Singapore, the MTR or the bus stops are not right in front of the HDB flats at all times. Most of the time, some walking is needed. Sometimes it is under the hot sun, sometimes it is under heavy rain. There are definitely still areas where more walking is needed even to go to the nearest bus stop. The question is, are we now more open to walking 900 metres (12 minutes) to take the public transport? Do we have the ‘acceptability’ mindset yet? Happy deciding.
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written on 12 July 2017
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