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Property wise, Malaysia’s not that bad. For how long? Well…

A few years ago, a good friend told me that she was moving to Singapore. I congratulated her and told her to do her best. She asked me to also go Singapore because the life there is better. I fully agree that there are lots of aspects that Singapore is superior than Malaysia. Since is a property site, let’s just focus on property for this time. Debates on all the other stuffs would take forever. For property, it is clearer. In Malaysia, she was staying in a full facility condo. (two car parks too) When she move to Singapore, she would be looking to buy a resale HDB flat / apartment. Probably within the range of S$550,000 to S$600,000. (Image as per latest listings from PropertyGuru Singapore) She did not tell me her salary but I am very sure it is quite decent for a managerial standard there. Actually, it’s really not that cheap when it comes to HDB flats, even for a Malaysian with a PR status. Here’s an earlier article 2 years ago: Flat for SGD1.2 million In other words, it did not just happen recently. There were already earlier cases.
Yesterday, reported in The StraitsTimes : Three HDB resale flats breach S$1 million mark. That’s about RM3.08 million. Before anyone start to say that they earn S$, so it should be okay, just be reminded that an accountant in Singapore is earning S$47,319 (per annum) and an accountant in Malaysia earns RM60,936 per year. Both are stats from Payscale. I do note however that HDB flats are cleaner and much more conductive as a place of stay if we compare it to the typical flats here. As for that Malaysian accountant, if he does not have a bad credit record, his salary is enough for him to afford a mortgage of a conservative RM2,600. According to LoanStreet, it’s possible for close to RM3,000.  That’s for a loan for a typical high-rise unit of RM580,000. If this accountant is a single, perhaps it is better to buy a cheaper apartment instead.
If he is getting married, then the joint income should be enough for a decent-sized high-rise in some mature neighbourhoods or for a bigger space in new neighbourhoods. (Usually over 45 minutes from city centre). Yes, RM580,000 can really get you even a gated and guarded home, but we must be prepared to change our lifestyle because the distance is also going to be further away than usual. Still okay because I have many colleagues who travel from Seremban daily, for a few years already. ( I would not lah..) Actually, in most countries except for a couple of awesome European nations, the salaries would usually lag behind the property price growth. This is the reason why despite a stronger currency which meant much lower cost of living (from food to drinks to toilet papers and more), Singapore is still ranked one of the most expensive places to live in the world. My staff in Hong Kong also earns much higher salary than me but she told me that it would be impossible for her to buy the current place she was staying even if she was earning more than what she was earning.
I think property wise, Malaysia has advantages as at today. If we look at the current growth and availability of land for Greater KL and extended to even the Malaysia Vision Valley, it does seem that as long as we are willing to buy much further, there are still choices. Or even to buy in less favourable areas. However, properties within the usual hotspots are already much more expensive than the S$1 million HDB resale flats of today. Please do not convert okay. Just use the same figure but in RM. How about working in Singapore and buying in Iskandar then? That’s a good decision but until the RTS comes, it will be tough because not many are willing to totally change their lifestyle for it. Happy working and enjoying, whether it’s Singapore or Malaysia. Both are good countries and I hope both would continue to prosper. Cheers.
written on 12 Nov 2017
Next suggested article: Singapore will prosper when Iskandar succeeds

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.


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