First-time buyers hope builders can absorb materials cost hike

Shopping around: Rhazhica Sri Devy checking out the show unit of her dream home at a sales gallery in George Town. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Many first-time home buyers here hope developers can absorb the increase in raw material costs.

Production supervisor Rhazhica Sri Devy Mohd Ali Makenderan, 26, said the location of her first house is important to her.

“As of now, I don’t care about the price as long as it is affordable. If I feel I can commit to the monthly instalment, I am good with it,” she said.

Rhazhica Sri Devy, who works at a semiconductor company in Bayan Lepas, said the house she has been eyeing near Sungai Tiram is close to her workplace.

Prospective first-time homebuyer Izwan Firdaus, 39, has been comparing property prices on mainland Penang.

He said he has knowledge of the prices of homes that will soon be under construction on his shortlist. And if there are sudden price increases, he will search for cheaper options.

“Even right now, the prices of houses on mainland Penang are already high. But with the combined salaries of my wife and mine, we can still afford it.

“If prices rise, we may seek properties outside of Penang,” he said.

Izwan said he heard of talk that house prices might increase due to the diesel subsidy rationalisation exercise. But he believes developers will not dare increase their prices to exorbitant levels as people will not be able to get approval for their loans.

Housewife Jess Han, 41, said she has been looking for more contractors to evaluate, asking for quotations to ensure prices are reasonable.

She has been planning to renovate her house for some time and has been saving up for it.

“We have our to-do list for contractors and will see who can offer the best price,” Han said.

She said her family has to be disciplined with their budget as they expect to face price hikes due to the removal of blanket diesel subsidies.

“We will go ahead with our renovation but with some minor adjustments (such as) removing a few non-essential items that we can add later when we have the budget,” Han said.

However, another housewife, Azimah Aziz, 40, said with the latest developments, she will have to rethink her plan to renovate the new house she bought.

“If the prices of materials go up, I’ll have to recalculate my budget,” she said.

Azimah said she has reserved about RM50,000 to renovate her new house. The works are expected to be completed next year.

“With my husband’s help, I may have a few thousand ringgit more just in case the prices of materials increase,” she added.

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