The issue of affordable housing in Penang is nothing new, given the limited availability of land for development on the island. But various factors are pushing the issue to the fore – a growing, young professional class, stagnant wages, property speculation and a huge surge in the luxury property market. Getting a foothold on the property ladder has become increasingly difficult.
DEMAND FOR HIGH-END property in Penang has been robust and finding new houses or apartments on the island in the RM250,000–RM350,000 range is next to impossible. It is simplistic to lay the blame entirely at the developers’ doors and unrealistic to expect corporations to act in the best long-term interests of the citizenry. Likewise it is beyond the purview of the state government to provide social housing for the middle classes.
Ironically, the middle class is now caught in the middle of the housing equation, one that appears to favour the affluent investor and to an extent the low-income earners.
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