• In conjunction with the International Women’s Day, EdgeProp follows five women on their property buying navigations, exploring their thoughts, insights and feelings before they sign on the dotted lines.

“Invest in women: Accelerate progress” is the United Nations’ message to us for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024, yet according to the latest record on Malaysian Gender Gap Index in 2022, women earn an average yearly salary of RM42,080 versus RM63,117 for men. And on the international scale, Malaysia was ranked a low 102 out of 146 countries on the Global Gender Gap Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Still, despite the financial disadvantage, Malaysian women remain undaunted when it comes to homeownership. 

According to Malaysian think tank, The Centre, 73.19% of women prefer to buy homes or continue living in their own properties versus 70.14% of men. 

So, what’s the property buying journey like for the average Malaysian woman? What are their motivations, messages and advice? Here are five Malaysian women who have successfully navigated the property market and become proud homeowners in their own right. 

The spark

“It was peer pressure when most of my girlfriends around my age started to purchase their own properties, and many of them were doing it together with their partners or husbands,” says Cynthia Tang, 37. And that was the start of her road to homeownership.

For Cece Choong, a 40-year-old business owner, it was the feeling of security. Being the owner of multiple properties under her name has provided a safety net in terms of finances and resources.

"It is good to have a nest or back-up place for myself. I will never have to worry if I have no place to go or stay if my marriage doesn't turn out well. It is about a sense of security," explains Choong.

Owning properties also gives her a sense of accomplishment. This is further validated by everyone in her family, especially her mother, who views that "women should have their own properties".

Meanwhile, sisters, Anne-Beatrice Lau, 26 and Twinkle Lau, 24, decided to jointly purchase a unit in an upcoming project in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur last year. Twinkle, who works as a graphic designer, thinks that the ever-increasing property prices in the city has prompted her to lock in one now. 

"I am buying a house now mainly because I am worried that in the future, house prices will increase to a point where I won’t be able to afford them anymore," she says, adding that her mother has also been encouraging her and her sister as "it will be a good investment for the future".

While a woman’s identity is often tied to relationships with a romantic partner and family, plus her career, owning a home has also become a mark of independence. 

This rings true for Cyndi Chan, 37, who is currently staying with her parents and siblings. Recently, she decided to purchase her own property so she could have her "own space". She believes that women buying their own properties is a way of self-care and supporting their own well-being. 

The search

When it comes to investing in property for own-stay or for earnings, there are a series of criteria for the perfect home. For Tang, location and the right pricing are the crucial factors, taking into account the monthly commitment for mortgage repayment. 

Spoken like a true business woman, for Choong, finding the right property is about maximising income potential. It does not need to be expensive. Instead, she recommends looking for a place that is "easy to rent out or convenient for one's own stay". 

"To me, looking for a place where you can get better-quality tenants and which is conveniently located will be helpful," she says.

Planned as an investment tool, the Lau sisters’ main considerations were location and accessibility to facilities like public transportation and shopping malls. On their must-haves, Anne-Beatrice, a vet assistant, says: "The house should have easy access to a nearby train station, preferably in the city, as it would be convenient to go around town. It also needs to be safe".

For Chan, her top priorities were assurance and accessibility. She wanted to buy from a reputable developer located in Cheras, KL, mainly because of the availability of transportation and ease of accessibility to nearby shopping malls. More importantly, the property should be near to the family's home. 

The process

It took Tang a longer time than most of her peers to purchase her first property, but she did not mind as she wanted to get the best value within her set budget. 

Meanwhile, Choong is no stranger to the process of securing a home, as she already has several properties both under her name and joint-owned with her husband. 

On the approaches to landing on target, Choong usually prioritises accessibility and rentability over price point, which has helped to build up her range of investment properties.  

As for Anne-Beatrice and Twinkle, being first-time homebuyers, they found the process "more difficult than expected".

"I needed time to understand the ins and outs of buying a house. It was not as simple as shopping for groceries. The system, mechanisms, regulations, bank loan applications and such were all new to me," Anne-Beatrice shares.

For Chan, buying the house during the pre-launch has made the process easier, as "lawyers and bank loan officers were readily available". 

On finding the right property, she opines, “Choose a house based on your own budget to ease the financial burden. It is also important to purchase your property from reputable housing developers".

The properties

With their savviness and dedication, the first-time homebuyers of the bevy managed to secure their properties! 

Tang got a three-bedroom and two-bathroom abode located in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The 900-sq ft condo unit was purchased at RM700,000 in mid-2019. 

Anne-Beatrice and Twinkle’s 861-sq ft condo unit near Mid Valley City that came with two bedrooms and two bathrooms was tagged at RM657,900.

Chan bought a newly-launched 850-sq ft condo unit at end-2018 from a reputable developer located in Cheras, KL that cost about RM750,000.

Tang felt the mounting pressure of keeping up with her friends. Choong wanted to feel a sense of security and accomplishment. Anne-Beatrice and Twinkle wanted to make an investment for their future. Chan needed a space where she could be herself. 

Their journeys may have begun with different motivations, but they have led to the same destination – successfully achieving the status of being homeowners

Looking to buy a home? Sign up for EdgeProp START and get exclusive rewards and vouchers for ANY home purchase in Malaysia (primary or subsale)!

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