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House Affordability Woes? Try Balik Kampung!

 

NEW KhairulMALAYSIA IS A RICH COUNTRY. Malaysians are lucky to have been born here and inherit such abundance. We have land, we have commodities, we have talents and we have industries to support all of us. We are lucky we have leaders who have visions to lay down the foundations long ago when they were bringing progress to Malaysia. They changed the direction of the country through a few cycles of agriculture, industrial, service and there was even a mix of a few directions, a few times. We have a great chance of reaching Vision 2020 set by Tun Dr Mahathir in 1990.

Idyllic Bachok, away from the madding crowd
Idyllic Bachok, away from the madding crowd

Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It

But, there are setbacks. Or maybe we should say sacrifices we Malaysians will have to accept. We have to accept the hard facts of inflation and the rising cost of living. We were even told there are rapidly expanding property bubbles in various places rapidly we are building this nation of ours. It is a hard fact as we cannot expect Malaysia to be developed without those repercussions.

Look at the traffic!
Look at the traffic!

These repercussions are not registering on the economic data until maybe, when the bubble bursts. Rapid materialistic progress will always bring rapid deterioration of other values. Life needs a counterweight.

Connected & Teetering On A Tight Rope

The bubble is being maintained with kid’s glove by the government using various institutions like Bank Negara Malaysia, housing industry watchdogs and of course banks. These are some of the institutions controlling that one crucial industry affecting the lives of so many Malaysians: The housing industry.

The housing industry is connected to the construction industry, talent industry, labour industry, banking industry and even politics
The housing industry is connected to the construction industry, talent industry, labour industry, banking industry and even politics

The collapse of this one industry will bring a cycle of economic depression no one wants. The housing industry is connected to the construction industry, talent industry, labour industry, banking industry and even politics. The balancing act is not easy and the whole thing may just collapse if not handled well.

The Wheel of Fortune Goes Around

Malaysians need to realise how we are bringing the housing price issue upon ourselves when we keep following these self-appointed property investment gurus through their various writings without knowing where it will lead us. People who made money through buying and selling properties years ago write books about how they made that money proclaiming the same can be done now.

Economics goes in a cycle. Are capital and rental yields guaranteed just because history generated profits last time?
Economics goes in a cycle. Are capital and rental yields guaranteed just because history generated profits last time?

They are also saying you will be able to rent out your properties with astronomical rental prices and there will always be tenants to ensure that you will have enough cashflow from the rent to service your housing loan.

Data is massaged to ensure that these “become” facts.

But here is a fact that is actually true. The best property market place to make money is in the Klang Valley, Penang and Iskandar Malaysia as these are places that are well supported bust.by the government of the day and no government will let development projects go bust.

Stand Back For a Bigger Picture

Time to kick back and enjoy the wonderful beach of Bachok
Time to kick back and enjoy the wonderful beach of Bachok

Maybe we need to look at the bigger picture. Not the bigger picture in terms of solving the housing price hike per se but the bigger picture looking at Malaysia as a whole rather than just focusing on the Klang Valley or those other well-developed places.

Batu Pahat River where life is about enjoying the country's natural wonders
Batu Pahat River where life is about enjoying the country’s natural wonders

Malaysia has kampungs still existing in various parts of the country. Everyone comes from one kampung or another. The exodus of Malaysians going back to wherever they came from when it is Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, school holidays and even during long weekends shows a fact we cannot deny: Most Malaysian are not born in the Klang Valley or those well-developed places. Most Malaysians are kampung boys and kampung girls at heart.

Have Yourself a ‘Kampung’ Frame of Mind

Bachok is known for its beautiful beaches
Bachok is known for its beautiful beaches

If that is the case, why are we so hell-bent in owning properties in the Klang Valley? Unless we are property investors daring to risk our hard-earned Ringgit to be the next millionaire, as envisioned by those property charlatans known as book authors, why do we need to have a property in the Klang Valley? Why don’t we buy that piece of agriculture land beside our parents’ house in our kampung with greenery we can only see on television when we are in the Klang Valley?

When we have made our millions, experienced the rat-race, sworn in the never-ending traffic jams and wished we were in a quieter environment, why don’t we think of our kampung?

Tawau, Sabah with the hills and mist in the horizon
Tawau, Sabah with the hills and mist in the horizon

Kampungs are Connected & Infrastructured too

The famous Clock Tower of Sungai Petani
The famous Clock Tower of Sungai Petani

Kampungs have a lot of benefits other than just having our parents by our side who will enjoy our

Mersing town centre. Life is at a slower, more peaceful pace here
Mersing town centre. Life is at a slower, more peaceful pace here

company. Kampungs nowadays have great connectivity as we have highways (although some are still being built) all over Malaysia and getting to the next big town is no more an issue.

Temerloh -- wide open green spaces by the river with loads of Ikan Patin (Patin fish)
Temerloh — wide open green spaces by the river with loads of Ikan Patin (Patin fish)

You can learn to plant your own vegetables and raise your own livestock for your own consumption. You can bring a modern touch into your own house as satellite televisions and broadband reach are just a phone call away. Cost of living in a kampung is much lower and life as a whole is better.temerloh patin

And here it is, the famous fish dish that Temerloh invented!
And here it is, the famous fish dish that Temerloh invented!

Some of our better-known Kampungs are Sungai Petani, Batu Pahat, Ceruk Tok Kun, Jelebu, Temerloh, Mersing, Bachok, Kuala Besut, Tawau and Saratok, to name a few. Make your money and your career in the Klang Valley,

Penang and Iskandar. Rent a house enough for you to live while you are at it. Go build your dream home in your kampung with less cost but with more value that you can only imagine if you buy a house in the city. “Balik kampung, tanam jagung” has never been truer than now with the rising cost of city living.

“Balik kampung, tanam jagung” has never been truer than now with the rising cost of city living.

GoldSeparator

Khairul Anuar Shaharudin, lawyer, is the author of Ask the Lawyer series including 40 More Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer Before Buying A Residential Property in Malaysia and books under Fixi, Pinjam and Pentas (writing as Anuar Shah). Follow Khairul on Twitter @kruel74 and his blog Legal Cat-asthrophe.

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