Coronavirus outbreak will change Malaysia’s rental market and here’s how

SPEEDHOME chief executive officer, Wong Whei Meng

According to housing rental platform, SPEEDHOME, Malaysia’s rental market will continue to change following the implementation of the work-from-home policy. As many companies implement the policy following the outbreak, a trend that was once a normal practice to startups and foreign-owned companies, SPEEDHOME believes this will be the new normal for many from now onwards.

“I believe that in the next year, there will be more white-collar workers choosing to work from home. Therefore, in the past, traffic-oriented development (TOD) properties may not have been favoured by tenants, and tenants will have not looked for houses near office buildings,” says Wong Whei Meng, chief executive officer of SPEEDHOME.

He further pointed out the possibility of houses with larger space and are based on the outskirts of the city area such as Bangi, Setia Alam and Kajang may be favoured by more office workers.

Whei Meng also stated that short-term rental period will become longer. “SPEEDHOME has recently received approximately 200 new listings from the short-term rental unity owners in the past month. They chose to list their properties on the platform in order to find long-term tenants to combat the issue that they are facing,” he added.

“For at least the next 6-months, the domestic and foreign tourism industry will still be in a downturn. If we have not yet found the vaccine, people will still avoid crossing borders and travelling. Keeping a safe social distance is the best way to fight this virus. Border control will not be relaxed in the short-term,” Whei Meng stressed.

Furthermore, as housing rental supplies increase, the bargaining power of the homeowner is expected to be impacted. SPEEDHOME believes that as tenants may have their income affected, they will grow to be more sensitive towards the price of rent.

This may result in older and unfurnished buildings facing longer periods of vacancy. “If the homeowner increases the rent, I believe the tenants who choose to relocate will stand in the vast majority,” he said.

Whei Meng has suggested for majority of homeowners to reduce the vacancy period of their houses as much as possible. If a house is rented during the period of interest exemption by the bank, customers can easily cover the bank’s loan interest, he pointed out.

“Therefore, we must see an objective method to analyse the tenant’s ability to pay rent and not to judge whether the other part is a good tenant through ethnicity. This is the best policy,” Whei Meng concluded.

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