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What if the stats are wrong? Look at actual signs then. 

Dinner with a good view.

A very prominent and capable friend who has opportunity to buy properties all over the world shared this point with me this evening. Personally, I would have bought properties in all those places that I would need to stay for a while, say couple of months per year. He asked, “What if the stats provided by the authorities are wrong?” Interesting idea indeed. Actually how do we know if the numbers in some authoritarian (only one extremely strong dominant political party) or even military-rule country are correct? Or even accurate. Seriously, I have no idea because I am just a common Malaysian and has access to the same data as everyone. However, since he asked, I should provide a solution, right? Okay, this is just an assumption, yeah. What if the statistical numbers we have today are not really that accurate? Not reflective of the actual situation for example. Here are some ways to determine the truth.
Property Bubble? I have written before. It’s here. Spotting signs of a property bubble, 3 points. Okay, let me extend it a little. He shared about one particular mall that is near his home, that the mall is now very empty. This surely does not look that good for the economy. Actually, where malls are concerned, only the fittest would survive. Yes, I have written about it too. Tough to do business these days, malls too many  The rest would have to close because they have nothing special to offer. A prominent and real property expert predicted that 20 percent of all malls would be close. Malls? 50 percent (tough), 20 percent (close) and some survivors Many developers could build malls but not many are actually mall operators. By the way, the only reason why so many developers built malls was because people love to buy on top of malls or right next to a mall for example. To them, that’s convenience.
Well, the outlets inside malls have to survive too right? These professionals living within a residential unit integrated to a mall are usually out of their home before the mall is open and home only when the mall is about to close. In other words, weekdays would be a huge struggle for the retail units as there are not many visitors. On weekends however, many of these professionals would prefer those bigger malls instead. Those huge malls would be a magnet to all their friends too. As for their own small mall below their home? Well, that can wait, they always reason. Too bad, after ‘waiting’ for a while, some shops start to close. People hate visiting malls where some of their shops are closed. That eerie feeling sometimes when there are just no shops open on some floors. These people then stop visiting and in the end, the malls close. Guess what, the biggest and most established malls continue to do well and the rental is increasing and definitely not reducing. This is already a great sign. There are not many businesses that I know which would continue to keep their shops open when they have no business. These shops would move elsewhere soonest possible! This is one major reason why sometimes, those national retail numbers are not really needed, for common Malaysians like us. It’s needed maybe for policy makers. For us, just drop by big malls, try to find a car park and try to get a seat in some famous restaurant during lunch time! That’s a much better sign than statistics..
Secondly, unsure of the property market because it is already too expensive for the average Malaysians. Well, frankly, there are already many countries all around us or even the advanced ones where the median income versus the median property price are in double digits already. Google for it, yeah. This is not a comparison site. 🙂  Unfortunately for those cheaper areas within the Greater KL, it’s not that popular, yet. Just need to key in RM400,000 and search in all major property sites (not lah) and choices are still available. There are already countries where putting in 400,000 in the local currency to search would return zero results already. This includes even the poorer nations too, not just the advanced ones. As for affordable homes, let’s note that most of the SMSes or FB marketing messages I get these days are usually below RM400,000. Please do not hope for huge sizes, okay.
Actually, we discussed a lot of other issues. I think in my next meeting, I will buy him beer. Who knows, he may send me some property information when he travels in the future. Haha. As for buying a foreign property, well, I earn RM currently and travel only within Malaysia for my job, so there’s no such opportunities yet. Hopefully he would take advantage of his travels and get not just a property but properties. Happy travelling Mr. C. Cheers.
written on 12 Oct 2017
Next suggested article: When you win RM69 million, what would you do?

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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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