Potential homebuyers are concerned about how flash floods and landslides may affect houses in the long run, according to the findings of PropertyGuru Malaysia's latest Consumer Sentiment Study for H2 2022 (CSS H2 2022).
Nearly 92 per cent of the 801 respondents said floods were their major concern, while 83 per cent were worried about landslides.
With environmental consciousness on the rise, buyers are increasingly looking to sustainable homes and features as major factors when choosing a home, said Sheldon Fernandez, country manager, Malaysia
Respondents also mentioned that solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and food waste composting are key characteristics to have in the future, and that one-third of respondents in the higher income group are willing to pay more for a property with electric vehicle charging stations.
"While the location has always been one of the key considerations for home seekers in Malaysia, we will now see more people increasingly prioritise this due to the flooding events in the past year. The higher awareness of eco-friendly facilities and features is likely linked to ongoing climate change issues as well. Consumers are now more conscious of current issues and are now making eco-friendly decisions in hopes of making a change.
"With many losing or their homes damaged in the past year, it is evident that these natural disasters have made a lasting impact, as in the CSS H2 2022, 66 per cent of the respondents said they are willing to pay a higher insurance premium on their property for climate change effects as nobody foresees their home being struck by a flood or any natural disaster," he said.
An online questionnaire was used to poll the respondents on property and property-related topics. The respondents are white-collar professionals, blue-collar workers, and businessmen, with respondents in the mid to high-income segment (68 per cent), and in the low-income segment (25 per cent).
Technology will continue to play a major role in the property market
According to the last Consumer Sentiment Study in H1 2022, two-thirds of Malaysians would be comfortable shortlisting and viewing properties online, while one-fourth would be comfortable signing deals online.
This indicates that consumers have become more tech-savvy as a result of the pandemic's reliance on digital transactions, according to Fernandez.
He said that this tendency is continuing in the most recent CSS H2 2022 poll, as more than half of respondents believe that upcoming technologies such as artificial intelligence, property aggregation platforms, and digital housing societies will be beneficial in their homeownership journey.
This suggests that technology will continue to play a significant role in the property market, and the desire for digital access to property-related decisions will most certainly continue in the coming years, he said.
Fernandez believes that potential homebuyers are beginning to contemplate acquiring property in the metaverse and that this trend is likely to continue because customers have acclimated to digital solutions and platforms more than ever in the last two years.
"We are interested to see how emerging technologies will change and evolve in the industry in the coming years," he said.
With the continued recession, inflation, price increases, and an increase in the overnight policy rate (OPR), prospective homeowners are projected to maintain their wait-and-see attitude.
This, according to Fernandez, is to be expected until the total cost of living has stabilised.
"With the Budget 2023 announcement coming up soon, we are hopeful that there will be allocations that can help spur the property market and aid those that are planning to embark on their homeownership journey," he said.
According to the survey, more than 69 per cent of those polled intend to purchase a home if the Home Ownership Campaign is reinstated.
The poll also discovered that potential homebuyers face affordability challenges during their home-buying journey, with 51 per cent of respondents realising that they are ineligible for government affordable housing programmes and are unable to purchase property without financial aid.
Fernandez said that with the OPR increase, on top of the consumer price index climbing to a year-on-year high of 4.4 per cent, potential homeowners may continue to encounter affordability challenges amid concerns about the prolonged global recession and inflation rates.
"About half of the respondents surveyed stated that they do not qualify for government housing schemes and may not be able to afford to purchase a property without assistance," he said.
According to the report, 73 per cent of respondents understand the eligibility requirements for affordable housing, indicating that potential homebuyers will continue to explore alternative government housing initiatives to assist their homeownership journeys.