PropertyGuru: Young Home Seekers Driving PropTech Growth in Malaysia

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Demand for property in Malaysia remains healthy despite the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting Movement Control Orders (MCOs) according to the PropertyGuru Malaysia Consumer Sentiment Study H2 2020, with 81% of Malaysian first-time home seekers eager to purchase a home by end-2021.

This includes a surge of interest among younger home seekers and renters, 47% and 51% of whom respectively shared that COVID-19 had not caused them to delay their property transactions, as these demographics prioritise home ownership following months of restricted movement under the MCO.

Coupled with higher uptake of digital platforms such as social media (70%), virtual tours (50%) and online webinars (29%) among Malaysian home seekers aged 22 to 29 years old, along with operational restrictions on sales galleries and show units during the MCO, these trends are driving PropTech uptake and evolution in the domestic property market.

Driving home ownership for Malaysians

“At PropertyGuru, being the nation’s largest property site as officially recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records with over 450,000 home choices, we feel it is our responsibility to assist Malaysian home seekers in navigating their property journeys, no matter what form that journey takes,” says Sheldon Fernandez, Country Manager, PropertyGuru Malaysia.

“This is why we introduced the Own Your Home programme in 2018, with the goal of empowering 100,000 Malaysians to own their own homes by 2020. We have surpassed this target to date, with more than 150,000 home seekers leveraging on PropertyGuru initiatives and platforms in their property journeys over the past two years.”

These include PropTech solutions such as PropertyGuru Loan Pre-Approval and all-year-round property deals, which address frequent stumbling blocks in the home purchasing process, as well as curated and targeted content hubs guiding home seekers through every aspect of home ownership.

In line with these efforts, the company will continue developing PropTech tools and data-driven insights to help property stakeholders across the board in achieving their goals. These include virtual tours to accommodate younger home seekers and other demographics, as many turn to online platforms for property information post-MCO.

A guiding light in uncertain times

“As Malaysia moves towards the new normal, we are also leveraging our reach as the nation’s largest property site to bring stakeholders together and address industry issues. Our recent PropertyGuru Malaysia Consumer Sentiment Study H2 2020, for example, focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on domestic property, and how the market here is evolving as a result,” says Fernandez.

Among other insights, the study found that 84% of younger home seekers would consider purchasing properties in developments with fewer integrated facilities such as swimming pools and badminton courts, in exchange for lower property prices.

This is particularly relevant as employment and income loss in the wake of the MCO raises hard questions about the state of affordable home ownership in Malaysia. Developers able to break old habits in adapting to and catering for changing market demand may find themselves better positioned to weather the economic headwinds brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak, says Fernandez.

“Insights such as these, driven by data derived from real consumer sentiment on the ground, are crucial in helping property stakeholders from home seekers and investors to developers and even financial institutions make sense of the evolving property landscape and better plan for the future,” he adds.

“In line with our ongoing commitments into PropTech and data solutions, PropertyGuru will be bringing data-driven insights to a wider range of audiences across Malaysia, in ways that reflect the pervasive impact these trends have on our lives. Keep an eye out in your day-to-day, and you may see these come up sooner than you think.”

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