Love beyond high property prices

By Melisa Ng | melisang@starmedia.my

It’s Valentine’s Day and the time for giving flowers, going for fancy dinners, or having a quiet time over a nice home-cooked dinner.

For the long term, however, there is nothing like marriage and living with someone to affirm your love for and commitment to each other. Behind many a property transaction is indeed a love story: a new marriage, a relationship that goes to “the next level”, or the arrival of a child.

And when this happens, the house hunting to find your first home together can be almost as thrilling as falling in love itself. But with escalating property prices in our cities, many couples are finding setting up house together too expensive. StarProperty.my speaks to four couples on their love story as well as how they are overcoming this issue.

Couple #1: Christine Low, 28 and Chris Lee

If you’re familiar with the Malaysian blogosphere, you’ve probably heard of Christine and Chris from BroughtUp2share.com. They recently got married in November last year.

Q: Where and how did you two meet?
Christine: We met at the ice skating rink in Mines where we both learned skating. We have been dating for 11 years since the skating era and we share the same interests and passion. When he popped the question in 2011, I was so overwhelmed and thought to myself: “Oh my god, finally!” (Laughs)

Q: Have you purchased your first property? Was it a choice made together or did he buy it before you both got married?
Christine: We nearly purchased our first property a year ago, but decided not to in the end as we wanted to start out own business together. We will be opening a pharmacy tentatively this May.

Q: What types of property are you looking for and why?
Christine: We were looking at a landed property back then. If we were to buy a property now, we would still opt for landed because we prefer a place where there’s a small garden, car park and ample space for our future children to run around.

Q: What are your considerations when you purchase a property?
Christine: Preferably located near both our parents for easier access.

Q: Do you think it’s getting more difficult for the younger generation to purchase a property?
Christine: Definitely! The prices of properties have risen sky high these two years. Perhaps paying the monthly loan repayments is not really a problem but many find forking out the 10% for the down payment quite tough.

And because landed properties are so unaffordable nowadays, some may end up buying a condo although what they really desire is a landed property.

To overcome this issue, we thought that we should first learn to create a home out of our house. So we chose to stay with our parents first, not because we are still relying on them, but because we are making the best out of our current home while making new investments for our future dream home.

Likewise, we think that young people should always plan ahead of what they want in the future, be it an adventure or any properties. Making savings might be slow but venturing in small investments may help a bit since we can’t really predict how high inflation would be for properties.

Couple #2: Tiong Sue Lynn and Low Wei Jien, both 27

Well-known blogger Tiong Sue Lynn of BangsarBabe.com married her high school sweetheart Low Wei Jian in Nov 2011.

“We met in school and were classmates when we were 13. He has always been my better half, and we complement each other in many ways,” said Tiong who is also a content editor.

Q: Have you purchased your first property? Was it a choice made together or did he buy it before you both got married?
Sue Lynn: Yes we have. We bought a SoHo concept apartment in 2010. Funny story: I told him I wanted a cosy apartment with a kitchen because I love to cook and have friends over. He bought it without my knowledge, when I checked into a beauty pageant camp. I only found out when I came home two weeks later.

Q: Did you want a condo or landed?
Sue Lynn: I would have liked a landed property and didn’t fancy living too far away from Bangsar. However, most of the houses in Bangsar are way out of our budget. We like our apartment because it’s very near Bangsar and also pretty central. Getting into Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya isn’t much of a hassle. Also, I feel condos are safer compared to landed properties these days – especially after being robbed in our Bangsar home not too long ago.

Q: What are your considerations when you purchase a property?
Sue Lynn: Location, facilities and resale value.

Q: Do you think it’s getting more difficult for the younger generation to purchase a property?
Sue Lynn: Yes, unlike our parents’ time, it is really difficult to afford a decent place to stay with our income. Things are so expensive now! I guess it’s good that some banks offer good home financing. But ultimately, you need to manage your cash flow properly.

Couple #3: Shareen Teo, 27 and Kenneth Chua, 31

Piano teacher Shareen and IT support engineer Kenneth both hail from Muar, Johor. Having studied in the same primary and secondary school, they did not talk to each other at all. However, in year 2010, they stumbled upon each other on Facebook and started communicating … and the rest is history.


“I am attracted to his character. He is always optimistic and is ready to take up any challenges that come his way. He is also my confidant. Besides that, he not only takes good care of his family, he always takes care of mine,” said Shareen. For her, family is of utmost importance and Chua certainly fits the bill. They got married in Nov 2012.

Q: Have you purchased your first property? Was it a choice made together or did he buy it before you both got married?
Shareen: Yes, he bought his first property in year 2009 before we got together.

Q: Is it a condo or landed?
Shareen: It is a condo. He bought it as a property investment as it yields better rental than landed property. Probably after five years, we will move in there as it is near his office.

Q: What are your considerations when you purchase a property?
Shareen: Depends on the purpose of the property. If it’s for own stay, we’ll choose somewhere strategic with convenient amenities such as banks, schools, and of course nearby our workplace.

Q: Do you think it’s getting more difficult for the younger generation to purchase a property?
Shareen: Yes, it is. However, you will be surprised that there are still many of them buying properties during this so-called “peak period”. This group of people normally have set their target, done their homework and therefore are able to purchase the properties without any hesitation. To ensure that you are capable of affording a property, you should explore different investment opportunities.

Couple #4: Diana Roslam and Alfredo Emran, both 28

Diana and hubby Alfredo were classmates when they were 10 years old.

“We sat next to each other for one period of time and I got him into trouble for talking too much to him – he was just listening but the teacher spotted him replying to me so he got scolded,” said Diana with a laugh.

Having lost touch for years after that, they found each other through friends in 2008. Diana studied in Australia and Alfredo was studying here but they hung out every time she came back from Australia and started dating in September 2009. They got married in May 2011.

“I know he’s the one for me – he’s thoughtful, considerate and passionate, and he loves me for who I am and what I have become now – a mother to his child,” said the social media executive.

Q: Have you purchased your first property?
Diana: No we have not. Reasons why we haven’t bought: Too expensive around KL and we can’t afford it. Even collective pay checks won’t be able to sustain a RM700,000 loan from the bank, plus we have other expenses to pay for. So we’ve opted to rent for now.

There are cheaper options but they’re all outside Kuala Lumpur. Both my husband and I feel that we need to stay near my mother’s place as she takes care of our baby and we prefer that rather than looking for alternatives such as nurseries and babysitters. They are not safe; we’ve heard of too many deaths of infants and toddlers in such places.

Q: What are your considerations when you purchase a property?
Diana: Good environment with no dodgy activities. We would love to have a place with family compound areas and security guards.

Also, we are looking for a place that’s value-for-money. Definitely not a place that retails for RM450,000 but is only 650sq ft!

We would also consider if there are more flexible loans from the banks and if and when the government decides to tear off the current price for houses. The costs of properties are really too expensive nowadays.

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