Will Big Data Finally Change M’sia’s Property Landscape?

So that people can finally buy a home

For the longest time, property developers in Malaysia have somehow overlooked the issue of consumer understanding, causing heaps of residential properties to remain unsold and empty because no one would or could buy them. 

But if property developers had been utilizing big data in the first place, we wouldn’t be facing such a serious property overhang issue today. 

Picture credit: The Crazy Tourist

It’s not a secret that most Malaysian development properties, especially ones situated in the Klang Valley area, are way too overpriced for the average wage earners.

The Gen Zs and millennials who have substantial working experience and who are looking around for prospective homes know this too well. We’ve probably heard about it personally from our friends and family who are facing this issue.

More often than not, we would have to choose between a place which is adequate in size, more affordable but far from the hotspots, and a place which is less than ideal in size for a higher price paid but is closer to the capital.

Of all of the things we need to consider when buying a home, it is our own future that is most important, and we take it seriously. For Malaysians, buying a home is not only an investment for the future, but also a rite of passage to adulthood.

Unfortunately, too many people are giving up trying to invest in a home, causing a massive property overhang issue which made headlines last year.

What caused the property overhang?

Fun fact for those unfamiliar with the term: Property overhang refers to developments that are unsold nine months after being available for sale.

According to data, the Malaysian property overhang is caused by the massive oversupply of high-rise units such as small offices, serviced residents, Soho and Sovo units.

Besides the surplus of properties crowding our skylines, affordability is another contributing factor to said overhang.

In 2016, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) reported that house prices were 4.8 times the average Malaysian household’s annual income. With a sluggish wage growth among Malaysian workers and yearly increase in living expenses, we can roughly tell how bad the situation has become since then.

But let’s be positive and see the solution that can possibly change the property landscape once and for all:

Big Data

Picture credit: New Straits Times

To solve the property overhang issue, in April 2019, our Minister of Housing and Local Government, YB Zuraida Kamaruddin called for the use of a big data system that could be a game changer for the local real estate scene.

But what is big data?

Big data can be defined as a set of extremely large data collected from each and every one of us.

You heard that right - for everything you do online, including online purchases, social media updates and bank transactions, you leave a digital trail of information that can be mined by corporations to extract useful data.

However, they are unimaginably large, complex and unorganized that you’d need data experts to help make sense of them.

But the point is this:

Big Data Helps Form Decisions Based on Evidence

“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.” - Geoffrey Moore

We all know that information is power, and big data can provide us with just that.

By collecting information from consumers, property developers can have a grasp at how to solve the problems of current homebuyers by taking into account their behaviour, spending power, pricing, lifestyle needs and other factors that can perhaps solve the current property overhang issue or prevent future ones.

According to property experts, it might take more than five years for the unsold residential units to be absorbed into the market.

All that we can hope is for property developers to start understanding their consumers and homebuyers while helping them own a home and safeguard their future.

After all, idle and deserted buildings are never a good look for our beautiful landscapes.


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