Priced off Penang: Who can afford an island home?

loading Penang state is divided into five districts: Northeast, Southwest, Northern Seberang Perai, Central Seberang Perai and Southern Seberang Perai. Only Northeast and Southwest are located on the island.

New residential projects on Penang Island seem priced to suit either the rich or the poor. Finding an affordable home on the island is becoming impossible for those in the middle income bracket, especially those who are single. Are wealthy foreigners to blame, or greedy developers, or outmoded guidelines? Or are Penangites simply spoiled?

Property prices in Penang have skyrocketed in recent years, particularly in the northeastern region of the island, and young Penangites now face the prospect of renting, or finding a home much further away. Even the middle class, the supposed drivers of Penang’s “knowledge economy”, are being priced out of the island.

Meanwhile, the island is experiencing an unprecedented boom in luxury properties. Apartments along the popular Gurney Drive begin from over RM1mil, and new luxury condominiums in Tanjung Bungah along the beachfront start at an even higher level.

On the other end of the spectrum are low and low-medium cost houses that cost between RM25,000 and RM42,000 and that are meant for those earning up to RM1,500 a month (RM2,500 in the city).

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