Penang houses are just ‘not affordable’

The average price of a house on Penang Island in 2009 was RM550,000 — the highest in the country and RM160,000 more than the average price of a house in Kuala Lumpur.

State government think tank, Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute (Seri), said the price was eight times the average household in-come.

Its senior fellow Dr Lim Mah Hui said the house price should be between three and four times the average household income.

Dr Lim added that most houses that were built did not cater to the need of the majority of people.

“The building of super luxurious condominiums should not be encouraged. There are too many empty houses in Penang. The demand is there but it’s not affordable,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohd Idris said house prices have soared to exorbitant levels in major cities of the country.

“Even the middle class cannot afford to own a house or apartment, let alone the lower income group,” he said.

Mohd Idris said that it was time for the government to start a public housing policy that provided affordable housing, particularly in urban areas, to people from the lower income group.

“A good example worth studying is the Singapore Housing Board where the government spearheads the building of affordable housing for a majority of its citizens,” he said.

He said the majority of Malaysians want affordable homes but developers are supplying houses that they cannot afford.

“Developers prefer to cater to investors and speculators who buy to rent or to flip over and make money. They also go overseas to aggressively market properties as they are still cheap by international standards.

“Unlike Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, Malaysia is one of the few countries in Southeast Asia to allow foreigners to own landed property,” he said. - The Star


December 3, 2010 at 5:27 PMChong

True comment by Dr Lim.
Those Penang base developers like Hunza, Bellview, Ideal Concept and Ivory are supposed to build more affordable houses for local people.
Penang Govenrment should control on Batu Ferringhi excessive high rise developement if we still want Batu Ferringhi beeing tourism spot.
We only have Ferringhi beach can attract Ang Mo Kow, if we continue build those high rise tower along the beach, then there is no more attraction to tourist.
Therefore, we should SAY NO to MAHSING on Regency@Ferringhi for high rise condo, and MCSB on High rise service apartment project in front of the Beach! (just besides Bayview Beach Hotel)

December 3, 2010 at 6:08 PMChong

Correction here:
Is Feringghi Residence@Penang by MahSing not Regency@Feringghi

WE SHOULD NOT ALLOW OUR HILL AND TREES BEING CHOPPED OFF FOR INVESTORS AND SPECULATORS' project, please reserve the BEAUTIFULL forest as that area is not suitable for high rise housing project.

December 3, 2010 at 6:15 PMbeehui

I think the market will balance by itself, that's how free market works. The developers can keep building luxurious properties, and when the market demand saturated for such properties, then it will adjust by price drop, sales drop and so on and the developers will have to face it. Let it be...

I do support that the government should do more in providing affordable properties for the low income group, such as those done by Singapore government.

December 3, 2010 at 6:47 PMPenang Fan

Foreigners and speculators are buying up affordable condos thus pushing the price up. This will make it unaffordable to average Penangites. Soon Penangnites will have to rent from them and be at their mercy. So sad if that happened. The State or Federal gov. should do something.

Perhaps introducing 50% tax on profits made from resale withing 1st year of purchased, 30% tax for those after 5 years and 10% after 8 years. With the tax collected the State can subsidies housing for middle class Penangites purchasing their first home.

December 3, 2010 at 6:53 PMChong

The Real Property Gain Tax is collected by Federal through IRB, State does not get single cent from it.
If the development plan is approved by State, then Lim Guan Eng can do something for Penangites.

December 3, 2010 at 9:14 PMUnknown

sigh..... why has it taken so long for someone to say something that almost everyone in Penang (those who are not speculators and those who are not loaded with a few millions) know that we are pinched out of our own island???? why, also has not a single politician who is suppose to care for the citizen, come forward to do something? why, too has LGE sat back and see all this happening and not utter a single word - I don't think RM800 can get any condo or landed property (I know, I know, it is mean to assist us poorer folks). I can still have a 2011 wish, that we can all finally afford a home....... that does not see us chained to mortgage for the rest of our lives. AngelineC.

December 3, 2010 at 10:13 PMconcern

Do you guy hope LGE will do something for Penangites ? Thinks again he not from Pg but from Melaka.

December 3, 2010 at 11:24 PMAnonymous

i don't understand your logic. Penang and KL are both global cities. Whoever capable should lead the state. I want to ask you is KL Governor born in KL? Or is he not?

Majority Penang ppl voted for LGE so its ppl choice.

Poor reason by concern.

December 4, 2010 at 2:04 AMLittleOne

I see some fellas barking at the wrong tree. You think the problem occurred only 2-3 years back? While Gerakan, UMNO and MCA were in power, did they do anything to help the Penang people live more affordably? It is purely hypocritical of them to request the current government to do so when their sh*t overspilled over to the current government. And if some idiot is not from Penang, please refrain from commenting. We Penangnites can see the changes and effort put in by the current government. So if you don't know, just shut up.

December 4, 2010 at 9:03 AMconcern

For sure these joker pretend to be clever as they thought and asking people to shut up, who you think who you are, you no buddy this is not your blog everyone has their view, dude.

December 4, 2010 at 10:22 AMNEC Andy

HI. Just sharing my own view. I am from 80-an, and how many of us (young professional) that from Penang can and boleh buy a house in Penang Island with that so little salary? Where is the listhold to freehold janji? Is that need to take 5 year to change the listhold to freehold? I am sorry if I am asking a question of bodoh, what is the purpose our state government wan to buy Penang Port? Billion or Million I dont know, but it is better that that money is use to built a medium cost apartment in penang for penang people, I am sure all Penang people are happy.

December 4, 2010 at 4:07 PMAh Beng Crosby

The problem with penangites living on the island is their reluctance to even considering about living in the mainland. Some penangites I know never step foot on mainland all their lives. Every properties they consider must be on the island, despite the higher cost and smaller size, it does not matter. Try think about it, stay in the mainland, save cost and interest do some saving and then reinvest and when you make it, you move back to Penang.

December 4, 2010 at 6:16 PMLittleOne

yea concern, and yours like cas said is a retarded view. That's our freedom to comment. Learn to live with it.

December 5, 2010 at 12:48 AMUnknown

I agree with you Little One, retarded view come from retarded people. Only know how to bark...

December 6, 2010 at 12:59 AMDavid

Maybe the government should stop foreigner from buying freehold properties? =)

December 6, 2010 at 11:39 PMAnonymous

Ah Beng Crosby - do you saw the traffic jam from mainland to island every morning and after working hour? they are the one who think about and cost saving end up spending more time enjoying view at the bridge.

December 7, 2010 at 11:11 AMChong

Penang island have exceed supply on super-condo, if our current CM Lim Guan Eng still leave it without interference and let the local authority to approve for new application in over supply zone ans tourist zone, then we can say he is not sensitive to Penang development.
And for the past CM, Koh Tsu Koon, i'm very upset with him as he made a wrong decision to exchange the Jelutong expressway preject with reclaim land with IJM Land. Today, you see how weak the Jelutong expressway infrastructure and how destructive belong Udini road reclaim land project. Lousy Koh is run away from Pg as he has no face to face Penangites.
No pro-DAP or pro-Gerakan here, is fact that the CM can do something for Penagites, not BN federal.

December 7, 2010 at 11:15 AMThink again!

for the sake of original(born or grew up here) penang people, state gov must do sumthing even it will interfere v FG decision.

We are the people tht make penang shine,without the hawkers and older generations(not so rich) residencts we won have famous n loveable hawker foods and great cultural events such as Thni Kong Seh,nine emperor god festival n hungry ghost fesvital will be our history coz penang lang canot afford penang 'chu'(home) anymore, 'tai kui liao lah' (over expensive)

dun expect d dumb rich people in penang to walk the street for the nine emperor god or do offering for the thni kong seh at chew jetty coz their dumb arses r too heavy to be carry around n get dirty.

not to mention our famous durian of pg island land which singaporean fly here jz to get the taste of it will be lost due to defrorestation for supercondo.

i dunwan to be forced out of my homeland jz coz of those stupid rich people wana rip profits fr d island. PENANG STILL BELONG TO PENANG LANG. THTS Y WE CHOOSE OUR OWN GOVRNMENT, THY DUN CHOOSE US. Lets learn sumthing from James Cameron's AVATAR.....

December 7, 2010 at 12:13 PMAnonymous

some time, i think these all (house price hike) are operated by BN as a revenge. you know, they are cash rich and they can hire a groups of ppl fried up the properties price in background. whose know, most of the properties sold out are bought by them. just to make the penang ppl suffer.

December 7, 2010 at 1:34 PMjack1981

Penang properties are still relatively cheap compare to Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok. I don't include Singapore here because it has far better infrastructure and living standard.

However, properties price has sharply increase since 3 years ago. Some of the contributing factors are demand, limited land, investing (speculating??), and others. I am not sure how much weight of each factor, hence if anyone has reliable sources to share here I am very much appreciated.

December 7, 2010 at 1:41 PMjack1981


PS: Somehow I am not agree with "concern" whom said that CM will not do anything to help just because he is from Melaka.

Anyway further conflict is unnecessary, so we might just agree to disagree.

December 7, 2010 at 3:03 PMUnknown

Penang housing development board is under-studying currently, modelled singapore HDB and hong kong HKHA. Nevertheless, these so called government funded properties will not be luxury, likely a plain un-characteristic apartment with no facilities whatsoever. So if those complaining penang housing are too expensive as you are looking to own a good condo or landed, then complain on.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang is setting up its own Penang Housing Board (PHB), modelled after the successful Singapore Housing Development Board (HDB) and Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA) in a long term bid to streamline the development of housing and plan more affordable housing in the state.

While the housing boards in Singapore and Hong Kong, both islands, were set up in 1960 and 1973 respectively, Penang is belatedly starting the ball rolling and hopes to build up its expertise and gather momentum over the years.

The state government is expected to table a motion at the legislative assembly sitting on Monday for the PHB to be set up as a statutory body.
With land for development in short supply on the island, affordable housing has been a scarce commodity. Developers, especially the major players, have preferred to focus on luxury homes and super condominiums to leverage on the high land costs.

December 7, 2010 at 5:42 PMChong

The number of supercondo should restricted in each zone especially at Gurney drive, Tg Bunga and Batu Feringghi, too many liao.
How terrible the infrastructure of Moonlight bay, Hilltop and now in coming project for Shamrock beach and Jln Sg Satu (Bt Feringhi) forest land is going to be approved by local authority. These all are cutting hill project and build on slop site and is going to repeat the Highland Tower disaster.
Our Penang CM should not allow MRCB to build luxury condo besides the Bayview Beach Hotel and remain it as Hotel development land for the benefit of Penang tourism!

December 8, 2010 at 4:29 PMUnknown

Penang still has some cheap properties, but ppl don't like. ALL ppl like good properties,this makes high demand on good properties,and the prices increase. High demand high price,,,, that is the rule... You cannot force the market follow your rule, unless you are communist. lol

However, I still believe penangnites are still afford to buy.. a lot of penangnites have income RM 5-10K... those from Intel, dell, Agilent, Altera, WD digital... A LOTS... somemore, nobody wants their properties depreciate... so, eventually, penang properties will keep becoming more expensive (only applicable for the good properties, that's why developer are more interested to build condo than low cost)!!! Don't dream that gov will do anything on THE ISLAND, because we still have MAINLAND!!! You have choice to buy properties in MAINLAND!!! Because if gov interrupt, it is not fair also for those bought expensive home with their hard earn money, their property may be depreciate!!! DID YOU GUYS (those always bising bising to ask gov control properties prices) THINK ABOUT THEIR FEELING!!! I AM ONE OF THEM!!!! F*** YOU!!! I WANT MY PROPERTY APPRIACIATE LA!!!! F!!!

December 8, 2010 at 4:32 PMUnknown


December 9, 2010 at 6:30 PMChong

To Nam Hong,

Behave yourself, said rude words only reflect your low class personality eventhough you own a millions ringgit properties.

Respect others. I do have millions ringgit properties, but for the best of people, please consider of land slides risk and Penang tourism benefits.

December 15, 2010 at 12:40 AMUnknown

I work as a real estate agent. I have my share of customer complaints. However, to be fair, I must say that alot of people don't really measure their own weight. BUY what YOU can AFFORD. Don't complaint its poor neighbourhood, the neighbours are (whatever) race, no swimming pool in RM100k apartment, lift not repaired (thanks to the defaulters of maintenance fees), rubbish thrown all over the place (to the lazy people who are 2 steps away from the bin), etc.
Before people start to criticize gov, CM, developer, speculator, etc.. please look at the big picture and not just the microscopic view.

December 20, 2010 at 8:05 PMUnknown

What a lot of comments - some angry, some sane, some logical, some just pure bad mouthing, and others who love to throw some temper this way. It is true that Penang home owners want their property to appreciate - in fact it is right that there should be appreciation in a property - however, a state government need to be aware that appreciation of >40% in a year is wrong, and along the way, many of the people will suffer. If I am not wrong, it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure that there are property that is affordable as defined as 30% of gross household income. How many percentage of homes in penang island falls into this bracket? very little. As it is a person's hope that his/her property appreciates, it is also another person's hope that he/she can own a penang island home. LGE need to stop fettering to foreign buyers and have nose pulled by developers like his predecessor (we all know who, who has run away). I can still hope that 2011 will be a better year for many who yearns to own an island home that is affordable and reasonable for living. Happy New Year. AngelineC.

December 20, 2010 at 9:53 PMAl

Foreign ownership is under the perview of Federal Govt not State. Developers of course want to sell as high as possible.
MY view is that some of the development here need to follow the Spore concept whereby affordable and proper "HDB" be introduce. The immediate problem will be there are no proper laws to govern the mgmt of this "HDB" flats. If you see in Spore all properties well maintain and people don't default. Action speak louder than words....bottom line with the kind of attitude most of the folks display, we cannot improve at all. The true loss is Malaysian who want to only complain but seriously DO NOTHING concreate.

February 27, 2011 at 1:32 PMUnknown

I believe the other problem is the property speculation and alot of this is due to the public difficult to get information on house value price.

In US, UK, Australia and other, there are sites like, and to assist buyer/seller to make wiser decision.

In Malaysia,this information is rare and I recently noted there was an attempt to bring similiar things to his country by:

Hopefully, this information will help us to be wiser and don't jump into the speculating crowd.