Friday, May 25, 2012

where students go, real estate follows...

How true is the statement above from today's News Straits Times?

Well, no doubt, wherever the student population clusters, we tend to see a demand in amount of rental properties. And with that, certain types of real estate investors will venture into these markets and try to make some profit out of it. But are students good tenant prospects for long term?

On the positive side, one will almost need not worry about their property being left vacant for long. Even for a semester break, chances are you will hardly have the unit unoccupied for 3 months.

But reading the paper's statistic I somehow believe the figures are poorly compiled and it's somewhat misleading to generate a feel good factor to justify the articles published.

Well yes, it's not hard to find students who are willing to fork out RM1,100.00 monthly on rental alone, but does the author honestly think there are tons of these wealthy students across the country? Apparently a unit of 1500sf to 1600sf is worth between RM700,000.00 to RM800,000.00 and rentals can averagely fetch a cool RM4,000.00 to RM5,000.00 which makes the rental yielding a 7-8% return.

Either I'm detached from reality. Or the author is.

I was a student not too long ago, but surely inflation has not gone that bad.

Back in 2006, a corner unit of a double-storey terrace with over 2000sf was worth RM550,000.00 can only fetch RM1,500.00 in rental. I was one of those students renting at such price and I paid RM130.00 monthly in a household of 10.

We can barely find expats willing to pay rental over RM3,000.00 for fully furnished units these days and the author would like to make us believe there are groups of few students who're willing to pay much more.

And even if these students exist, 7-8% rental yield is very much, in most savvy investors' eyes, a very laughable return. None of my rented units yield as low as the figure given, and if anyone thinks that's a great deal then I'm secretly rejoicing for the lack of astute competitors.

Perhaps one will think I'm overreacting, but I will most definitely not (though I'll never say never) venture into students' market in this country, sadly because returns is not as good as the author projected it to be. And the ever changing pool of tenants (students do graduate don't they?) will prove to be a hassle and waste of resources to those who seek agent assistance in letting out. And finally, I can almost never find a property returned in good condition after a tenancy expires. This I speak from experience: I pity my landlord when we returned the keys. He actually sold it off to someone who demolished the whole unit to rebuild something else.

I wonder with the current trend of journalism how further backward will we continue to go? I don't mean to criticize all journalists, but I would rather read lame Bieber-related news, than real estate articles with outrageously optimistic datas written by journalists who I suspect have not even bought one property, just because they have to write up an article to submit on a deadline.

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