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One factor in determining which state in Malaysia is best to work and live in is the difference between how much you could earn there and how much homes cost there.
MyPF has narrowed down the most affordable between the 13 states and three federal territories in Malaysia, which for purposes of this article shall all be referred to as “states”.
In 2019, Putrajaya’s median house prices was RM260,000 while the median household annual income was RM119,796. This means Putrajaya has a median multiple of only 2.17 times.
260,000/119,796 = 2.17
Putrajaya has gained prominence as the centre of the nation’s governing power. Many developers are flocking to Putrajaya due to the intense competition from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
Putrajaya is fast becoming the new centre of economic activities, with household income growing the quickest at an annual growth rate of 6.5% from 2016 to 2019.
Aside from housing most of the nation’s government employees, many high-tech firms are also situated in neighbouring Cyberjaya which is a science park at its core.
In 2019, Melaka’s houses registered a median price of RM200,000, making it the cheapest state to live in after Kedah (RM199,100).
Meanwhile, households earned about RM72,648 per year, resulting in a median multiple of 2.75 times.
200,000/72,648 = 2.75
Five years ago, Melaka was considered an unaffordable state to live in, with a median multiple of 3.98 times in 2014.
This situation has vastly improved as annual income and salaries have grown from RM60,348 in 2014 to RM72,648 in 2019.
Median house prices on the other hand, have declined from RM240,000 in 2014 to RM200,000 in 2019.
3. Negeri Sembilan
In 2019, Negeri Sembilan’s median house prices was RM206,750 while the median household annual income was RM50,060.
This resulted in a median multiple of 3.44 times, which actually makes houses in Negeri Sembilan unaffordable.
206,750/50,060 = 3.44
Although the numbers fall in the unaffordable range, it is a significant improvement from circumstances in 2014 when Negeri Sembilan had a median multiple of 5.05 times.
House prices declined considerably from RM250,000 in 2014 to RM206,750 in 2019, making houses more affordable. Moreover, household income grew at an average of 3.9% every year from 2014 to 2019.
More people working in the Klang Valley are choosing to stay in Negeri Sembilan in light of the cheaper house prices there and manageable travelling distance thanks to highways.
4. Kuala Lumpur
In 2019, houses in Kuala Lumpur were at RM480,000, far outpacing the second highest which is Selangor at RM380,000.
However, it also boasts the highest median annual income of RM126,588, resulting in a median multiple of 3.79 times, which ranks as unaffordable.
480,000/126,588 = 3.79
Kuala Lumpur has the highest median price out of all the states in Malaysia being the capital city. There are more job opportunities here although many complain about the unaffordable house prices.
Median house prices have remained steady, with 2014 registering RM490,000 while income has instead grown strongly from RM91,440 in 2014 to RM126,558 in 2019.
This has helped make houses in Kuala Lumpur more affordable, as the median multiple was high at 5.36 times in 2014.
This bodes well for the development of Kuala Lumpur with houses becoming more affordable as more and more Malaysians are expected to migrate to Kuala Lumpur in search of higher paying jobs.
Many here are involved in the oil and gas industry, but it also has increasingly become the hub of tourist activities with its gorgeous islands and coral reefs.
Terengganu houses were priced at a median of RM255,000, while households earned about RM66,540 in 2019. This implies a median multiple of 3.83 times.
Terengganu has come a long way as houses were considered severely unaffordable at a median multiple of 6.18 times in 2014, making it then one of the most unaffordable states in Malaysia.
This was helped by house prices coming down from RM280,000 in 2014 to RM255,000 in 2019, with income also growing at a very strong rate of 8.0% yearly from 2014 to 2019.
In 2019, Kedah registered the lowest median house price in Malaysia at RM199,100, with a household median income of RM51,900. This implies a median multiple of 3.84 times, making it moderately unaffordable.
199,100/51,900 = 3.84
Regardless, this denotes a big improvement from 2014 when the median multiple was 4.47 times. Thankfully, household income grew steadily from RM41,412 in 2014 to RM51,900 in 2019.
Kedah is really an underappreciated state to live in, being in close proximity to Penang and houses being more affordable.
Its median housing prices have declined from RM350,000 in 2014 to RM285,000 in 2019, a full 18.5% reduction. Households in Penang are earning RM74,028, which implies a median multiple of 3.85 times.
285,000/74,028 = 3.85
Penang is an example of a success story of providing affordable housing to the masses, where in 2014, it was considered severely unaffordable at a median multiple of 6.20 times.
Living and working in Malaysia is not just a function of choosing the lowest house price but also determining how much value your salary has in determining homes to live in.
Both Sabah and Sarawak are the most unaffordable states with median multiples of 5.90 times and 5.74 times respectively, where affordability has deteriorated throughout the years.
This article first appeared in MyPF. Follow MyPF to simplify and grow your personal finances on Facebook and Instagram.