With more Malaysians looking to semi-urban areas and small towns to acquire properties, market watchers are divided on whether the work from home culture is the driving force for such buying trend.
Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants (PEPS) Vice-President A. Subramaniam believes the trend is fuelled by the significant decline in property prices from last year, while real estate agent Gan Boon How attributes it to the work from home arrangement adopted by companies, reported The Sun Daily.
Subramaniam noted that smaller towns such as Semenyih and Rawang are slowly turning into the go-to places to live in as property prices in these areas are much lower and more negotiable.
“Granted, prices have also dropped in cities. For instance, properties in Kuala Lumpur now cost 20% to 30% lower than they did last year. It’s no longer a seller’s market. It’s a buyer’s market,” he told the Sun.
He acknowledged the benefits of the work from home culture, saying it facilitated flexible work hours and allowed people to spend more time with their loved ones at home.
However, it is still too early to say if the work from home arrangement has set the trend for the urban to semi-urban migration, said Subramaniam.
“Perhaps it will become clearer next year,” he added.
He pointed that what is clear is that residential properties have become more affordable now.
“It’s obviously more difficult to sell a property when the economy has slowed down. Not many people are doing well, what with so many losing jobs or having their salaries reduced,” said Subramaniam.
“Affordability is still key, and the availability of freehold land and more spacious homes are some of the reasons people are buying new homes in the outskirts.”
Looking ahead, Subramaniam expects the home office to be a sought after feature in a house.
“People are already looking to upgrade their homes to serve as both living and work areas,” he said.
“This also means that a bigger home is necessary. Given that a larger house or apartment is more affordable out of town than in urban centres, many have opted to move.”
Meanwhile, Gan said the trend of homebuyers relocating to the outskirts has been picking up, particularly in Selangor, adding that it was mainly due to the flexibility afforded by the work from home culture.
“With remote work likely here to stay, expect housing to adjust accordingly as working remotely may mean that people no longer need to live in cities to work at their offices,” he said as quoted by the Sun.