Understanding young people’s needs

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 15, 2018 - October 21, 2018.
Understanding young people’s needs
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House size, price and location do not matter to young people, who care more about internet connectivity and technology, according to Malaysian Institute of Architects president Ezumi Harzani.

Young people cannot live without the internet, regardless of the location of the property, said Ezumi, a panellist at the “Housing the Millennials” session, held as part of the Housing Conference 2018 on Oct 9.

“The size and price [of the property] don’t matter and the latter should be in correlation with the affordability of technology at that particular area. We need to bring in more advanced technology and place them in strategic areas that can attract the new generation to stay there.”

The conference, with the theme “Housing In An Era Of Change: A New Direction”, was organised by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association of Malaysia (Rehda). The other panellists were Cagamas Bhd CEO Datuk Chung Chee Leong, Gamuda Land project manager Tan Jun Jing and Asian Institute of Finance strategy, policy development and research general manager Elma Berisha. The moderator was Rehda Youth chairman Datuk Seri Lee Ville.

Using Cyberjaya as an example, Ezumi said no one wanted to live there 10 to 15 years ago. But with the development of technology, work opportunities have grown there and it has become a technological hub.

Developers, he said, should focus more on integrated living developments as providing a large number of houses is pointless if there are no job opportunities.

Tan concurred, saying Gamuda Land is moving in that direction with its new township, Gamuda Cove, in Kuala Langat. More than 300 acres of the 1,530-acre township have been designated for commercial use.

“A lot of people might think [Gamuda Cove] is in the middle of nowhere but we are looking at bringing jobs into the township. It will be a self-sustaining township where people can work, live and play within the same area,” Tan said.

Asked for her opinion on co-housing and co-living concepts, she opined that it is a very new trend now but that it is necessary, moving forward.

“These days, jobs have become more competitive and young people move where the money is. That’s why co-living and renting may be the new way forward,” she explained.

Elma said given young people’s mindset about mobility, this might work. But, she added, the rental market in Malaysia is not regulated and adjustments need to be made.

Chung said homeownership is still very important in Asian culture, but cautioned that young people need to evaluate their situation and understand their needs.

“You will have to measure your income level and affordability as to whether you can really buy a house. For someone who really wants to buy a house, it is a trade-off. You will have to forgo the vacations, IT gadgets and fast cars. You will need to understand the obligations of a long-term investment,” he said.