PETALING JAYA: Stagnant wages, inflation, rising cost of living and home ownership, especially in urban areas such as the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Baru are forcing the younger generation to continue living with their parents, many even after marriage, as they cannot afford to move out, said National House Buyers Association secretary-general Datuk Chang Kim Loong.
However, he said there is no shame in children not moving out of their parents’ homes as there are benefits as well.
“Staying with parents must be seen positively. It cultivates harmony and harnesses the family essence.
“If there is a need to move out for whatever reason, then ensure that your rental is cheaper than the actual cost of owning the same or equivalent property and save or invest as much as you can to fund your subsequent property purchase.
“If you are still living with your parents, subsidise household expenses and save the rest for your first property.”
Chang advised young Malaysians to use a “hand me down” car or to rely on public transport until they buy their first home.
“Aspiring first-time house buyers must also budget for potential changes in lifestyle, such as having children or taking care of ageing parents before making any big-ticket purchases such as property or cars, to see if they can afford them.”
He said first-time house buyers should follow the golden rule of “not taking a car loan until you have bought your first home”.
“Doing so while still paying for a car will greatly reduce the quantum of loan one can take to purchase the first home.
“The days of spending leisurely at high-end food outlets and having state-of-the-art mobile phones would be gone,” he added.
Working in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, 24-year-old Aida Lukman said she still resides with her parents in Shah Alam as her salary is insufficient to pay for property rental in the Klang Valley.
“Living with my parents helps me save a large chunk of my salary. To further cut costs, I use public transport to commute to work. I can better look after my parents since I am with them most of the time.
“I can also save a little more to purchase a house in about nine years. But if I rent a property in Kuala Lumpur, I will be left with nothing in my savings to afford the downpayment for a house,” she said.
A 27-year-old construction firm employee, who wanted to be known only as Nur, said travelling to work every day is cheaper than renting a property.
“I travel from Klang to Bandar Saujana Putra every day. It is very tiring, but it is much cheaper than renting (a room) closer to my workplace.
“My parents have advised me to stay with them until I get married so that I can save up for a property,” she said.
Financial adviser Felix Neoh said if young Malaysians opt to stay with their parents, they must adopt an adult approach to the relationship, unlike that of children or students, and pay rent or at least cover the monthly bills and help out with household chores.
“In today’s environment where interest rates are rising and incomes are generally low, to afford a house is difficult. So living with parents is a viable option for the short term.
“Living with parents is an opportunity to reduce expenses and invest it smartly to afford the purchase of one’s future property,” he said.
However, Neoh also called on Malaysians not to lose sight of their other financial goals at the expense of a property purchase.
“Purchase your home when you can afford it. In the meantime, maintain good financial habits such as keeping your debts to below 30% of income and having savings of more than 30%.
“And just as importantly, don’t rush into making hasty decisions. Recognise that renting a property is a good alternative for those who just started working,” he said.