The Property Market Report 2012 shows that states that are usual targets for investors such as KL, Selangor, Johor, Perak and Penang saw a decline in transactions last year. In 2012, residential properties in Penang declined 24.2% from the previous year, the biggest decline among all states.

In addition, commercial and agricultural property transactions also decreased by 14.9% and 16.3% respectively. The Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) increase of five per cent has impacted the market as it saw a declining number of transactions in 2012 after flourishing in previous years. Meanwhile, states that have smaller property markets such as Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Putrajaya have shown an increment in their transactions in 2012.

House price growth (six per cent) exceeded household income growth (4.7%) in the past decade. Using the same growth rates, the income and household growth rates were projected 10 years into the future. The graph shows RM300,000 as the average sales price in the first year, and assumes that it is 100% affordable for an average household. After a decade, the same household can only afford a 90% share of the house.

Many households are unable to afford the house prices today, and if the house price growth continues to exceed household income growth, more Malaysians will fall into the “unable to afford” category.

The data presented comprise units that have obtained their building plan approvals from the local councillors. These units have yet to start physical construction works, and consist of the accumulative supply of the fourth quarter of every year.

The number of units on both the island and mainland shows a rising trend through the years, with those on the mainland growing at a higher rate. The number of units on the mainland more than doubled from 2002 to 2012, whereas approved units on the island only had a 19% increase.

The most common types of houses in the pipeline for Penang are condominiums/apartments, single storey terraced houses and low cost flats. The least common type of incoming stock is the flat. Ironically, flats are the most needed type of house, as it is the only type of house that an average-earning household can afford. Prices of landed houses and condominiums are beyond their reach; low cost houses and flats should be reserved for people of low income.

The incoming stock for condominiums/apartments is much higher than for other types at 52% in 2012. In contrast, flats only represent 0.5% of incoming stock in the same year.

On the other hand (referring to Table 3), there were 2,001 flat units completed in Penang in 2012.

In 2010, the population between the ages of 15 and 19 who were married in Malaysia and Penang was 155,810 and 3,823, respectively. There were an almost equal number of married teenagers between males and females above 15 years old in Penang, i.e. 1,930 and 1,893. This amounted to approximately 2.8% of the population in the mentioned group range.

Some teens are already widowed or separated at their tender ages. Sixty-eight teenagers above 15 years old are widowed and 26 are divorced or permanently separated in Penang as of 2010. In Malaysia, a moderately high number of teenage marriages are reported and factors that lead to this situation are pregnancies before marriage and parents’ decision to avoid their children’s involvement in deteriorating moral problems1.

In Malaysia’s Syariah law, child marriage refers to when a child gets married at the age of 18 or below for males and 16 or below for females. According to Figure 3, there are 33 children on average who get married every year in Penang. Moreover, the past three years recorded the highest number of child marriages since 2002. The number of teenage girls who get married has continuously increased from 2005 until 2011.

In large parts of the developing world such as Chad, Guinea, Mali and Niger where child marriage is dominant, half of all girls give birth before they reached 18 years old2. When female teenagers are exposed to sexual activity and get pregnant, their immature bodies can cause complications during childbirth and the risk of infant mortality is higher.

1 Extracted from Dr Mashitah Ibrahim, “Perlu kaji perkahwinan bawah umur”, Sinar Harian, May 31, 2013.
2 ORC Macro (2005), Analysis using MEASURE DHS STAT compiler,, September 2005, Median age of first birth.

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