Padungan rep: Sarawak’s house prices most unaffordable nationwide

Chong debating on the Governor's Address at DUN today (May 23, 2022). Image taken from Ukas live streaming on Facebook.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 23: Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen (PH-DAP) says given the household income of Sarawakians, house prices in Sarawak are considered the most expensive and unaffordable in Malaysia.

Citing a recent report published by The Edge Malaysia on house prices affordability in Malaysia, he said it was revealed that Sarawak has the lowest percentage of households that would find the Sarawak’s 2020 median house prices affordable.

The formula used to calculate house price affordability compares the median house price to the median household income.

Chong said according to the standard set by the United Nations and World Bank, house prices are considered affordable if the house price-to-income ratio is three times or below.

“For example, if the median annual household income is RM45,000, the affordable median house price would be RM135,000 or below.

“The average Malaysian’s house price-to-income ratio hit 4.7 times in 2020, which is categorised as ‘seriously unaffordable’. In the same year, Sarawak’s house price-to-income ratio hit an alarming 7.1 times, which is ‘severely unaffordable’.

“In layman’s terms, if it takes a house purchaser in other parts of Malaysia 20 years to repay their housing loan, it would take a house purchaser in Sarawak 30 years to repay their housing loans.

“As a result, only 12.9 per cent of households in Sarawak find the house prices affordable while nationwide, 25 per cent of households find house prices affordable,” Chong pointed out while debating on the Governor’s speech at Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.

He said in 2020, the median annual household income in Sarawak was RM45,972, but the median house price then was RM326,500, compared to Penang, where the median house price was much lower at RM285,000, and the median annual household income was higher at RM64,688.

Selangor’s median house price, he said, was RM480,000 (which was higher than Sarawak’s), but its median annual household income was RM87,600 which was almost double that of Sarawak’s annual median household income.

Compared to Negeri Sembilan, the median annual household income was RM53,736, but the median house price was only RM230,000, while compared to Perak, the state had a similar level of yearly median household income as Sarawak was RM45,108, but the median house price in Perak was RM231,300.

“This just shows that the Sarawak government’s housing policy has failed miserably. That qualifies the minister for housing (Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian) to be the worst performing minister in the State Cabinet.

“As a result of his failure, most young people in Sarawak are burdened with housing loans of more than 25 to 30 years unless they have the financial support of their parents,” said Chong. — DayakDaily