Property prices a major concern for homebuyers

PETALING JAYA: Data analyst Shamir Zulfikri has always wanted to own a house in the Klang Valley.

Ever since he started work here five years ago, the 32-year-old has been eagerly scouting for a prospective first home.

After a lengthy search, he finally found a house that he liked in Cyberjaya.

However, his dream of owning his first house may be out of reach following reports of possible increases in property prices due to the diesel subsidy rationalisation exercise.

Shamir has two options now: to either buy a house in another state and brave the long daily commute to his workplace here, or to put off buying a house and rent one instead.

“Even now, the prices of properties outside the Klang Valley are high. What about the coming months?

“Even if I buy the house there (in Cyberjaya), are renovations going to be more expensive due to the rise in raw material prices and other hidden costs?” he said.

Shamir is among many aspiring first-time homebuyers concerned over the possible rise in property prices and renovation costs due to the diesel subsidy rationalisation.

Writer CW Leong is also keeping a close watch on property prices.

“I began scouting last year, and I’m planning to buy a place in Kuala Lumpur by the end of this year. Since the property is still under development, I’m worried that the price I was quoted will increase.

“If it does increase in the coming month or two, I may cancel buying and consider long-term rental instead,” he said.

New homeowner Carmen Khor, 40, is anxious over whether she will have enough money for renovations.

“My budget is between RM50,000 and RM60,000, but following the removal of the diesel subsidy announcement, I’m concerned that I may have to pay more,” she said.

If renovation costs do rise, Khor said she may put off purchasing furniture for now.

“I will focus on the essentials, like a bed and dining table, first. Other furniture will have to wait,” she said.

Contractor Vincent Tan is predicting that the price of renovation services will go up by between 20% and 30%.

“Price increase memos have been issued by the raw material suppliers to big companies, and this can possibly translate into higher renovation costs,” he said.

Tan said this could lead to customers choosing to renovate their properties in stages to save money.

“For example, some may have to postpone kitchen extensions if they have insufficient funds after renovating their toilets.

“The market is already slow as it is, and the possible higher cost of raw materials might make things harder,” he added.

Team-building corporate trainer Mandeep Singh said he was still open to buying a property despite the potential price hike.

“Property prices will continue appreciating so if I find the one that fits my criteria, I will go for it,” he said.

However, he called for the government to closely monitor any price hikes across all sectors.

“Rationalising diesel subsidies is good, but the government must make sure there is minimal to zero impact on the people.

“If there are any quarters taking advantage, take strict measures against them,” he added.

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