Are high maintenance fees scaring off millennials?

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More Malaysian millennials are beginning to dip their toes into the property market and become prospective buyers. With their limited budget, only affordable properties are within their grasp. Horror stories of impulse buys and hidden costs aside, are high maintenance fees scaring them off.

With tight budgets, millennials generally prioritise pricing for their starter home, therefore, a high maintenance fee is a big no-no. While many prospective buyers understand the necessity of a maintenance fee, safety and security are the primary reasons they are willing to pay a maintenance fee.

“It is important when it is well maintained, it provides a better and safer place. However, the cooperation in paying it from all the owners is important too,” said a counsellor who wished to be identified as Amber.

While it is true that more millennials are buying property as their jobs stabilise, their willingness to pay for high maintenance fees vary. And depending on the type of property they are seeking, the affordability range is also wide.

According to Khazanah Research Institute (KRI), the price range for an affordable home for 46% of the country's residential properties range from RM100,000 to RM400,000.

Millennials with access to higher income are more willing to invest.

Millennials with access to higher income are more willing to invest.

 Most look for the lowest maintenance fees as this is a monthly expenditure but this amount has a positive correlation to the number and type of amenities they would like to have.

“They like it but can they actually afford to buy it?” Rahim and Co International Sdn Bhd research director Sulaiman Saheh pointed out in the recent 30th National Real Estate Convention.

Millennials are known to have a strong preference for lifestyle-oriented property, but millennial respondents who were asked about their preference are looking for cleanliness, distance to their workplace and the feel of the area. 

Sulaiman similarly noted that young working adults prioritise convenience more than older generations, preferring property that is transit-oriented and in a good location, being close to their workplaces or in urban environments.

Facilities such as a swimming pool and gymnasium are considered luxury expenses to young buyers. They would rather rent and leave the maintenance fee to the owner.

The general sentiment is that they should save up for their ideal property, instead of making a rash purchase. 

Unaffordable housing is making people choose between saving and renting, noted Sulaiman.

Being in the working stage of their lives, millennials are forced to think economically. They are beginning to prioritise location and convenience over luxury and special features. 

When asked if they were willing to budge on paying more maintenance fees for additional features, the answer is a resounding: No.

Naturally, those who have access to a larger income are more willing to pay for higher maintenance fees. These millennials buy to invest and are more willing to spend more. 

“Usually people around my age who own or plan to buy are either funded by their parents or they are planning to marry,” said line producer Koh Xin Yu.

Others are hoping for the government to offer more subsidies and developers to offer more discounts before they commit to buying, she said.


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