Malaysians spend more time looking at properties than going to the gym or reading

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is the most property obsessed country in the Southeast Asia and ranked at fourth place globally after the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Taiwan, according to HSBC Malaysia.

“Malaysians spend longer time viewing property than they do keeping fit at the gym, reading books, or reading and watching the news,” said country head for retail banking and wealth management Tara Latini.

She said on average, Malaysians spent 4.37 hours per week  viewing property than go to the gym, which is about one hour a week, or reading books (1.95 hours) or reading and watching the news (2.27 hours).

She pointed out that almost one out of five Malaysian was an extreme house hunter who spends more than 10 hours looking at property magazines every week.

“More than  26% of these Malaysian extreme property addicts spend between 7 and 9 hours searching for properties online,” she said.

Interestingly, Latini pointed out that property addicts were also more likely to delay important life stages as they save for the perfect home. 

Globally, about 6.3% of people can be defined as an extreme house hunter and that the research reveals the quirks and irrationalities that have started to play a prominent role in their property searches, she adds.

“Globally, 19% of these property addicts have delayed having a child to get on the property ladder, twice the average person. 

“Furthermore, extreme property addicts are twice as likely to delay marriage to save up for their next property purchase,” she said.

As for Malaysia, Latini said 25% of extreme property addicts have delayed having a baby by 7-8 years and another 25% have delayed having a baby by 5-6 years in order to purchase a property. 

“The rest of the 50% Malaysian property addicts have delayed having a baby by less than two years to get on the property ladder,” she said.

In terms of property deal breaker, Latini said difficult neighbours would put off more than half of Malaysians.

She said almost half (46%) of Malaysians have made sacrifices by cutting back on bigger expenditures such as cars, holidays, and luxury items.

“Buying a property is often the biggest and most significant purchase we make but some home buyers may be taking their passion for the perfect home too far,” Latini said.

She said property magazines, TV programmes and websites were making it harder than ever before to have realistic expectations about what people can afford. 

She suggested that it is essential to begin buying process by having an open discussion with partner, family or financial advisor to discuss their affordability.

“Many buyers are putting off important life stages in the quest to afford that perfect property,” Latini said.

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