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Aug 18

Housing in Malaysia

Building a house in Malaysia? See sample house plans or contact me to design a new house for you!

Some westerns view Malaysia as being a third-world country. This is WRONG, Malaysia is a fast-growing economy, like Singapore, population doubled in last 25 years due of immigration. From 1960s kampung, it transformed into a country with modern landed housing and high-rise condominiums. One of most beautiful architecture in the world!

What other type of info would you like to see in this page? Leave comments!

Currently Malaysia is a middle-income country similar with the Eastern Europe, but having much lower cost of living. The government subsidy many things including gas, but what is the point of this? To encourage travel with personal cars rather than public transport, to encourage cities to develop more horizontally, to increase traffic jams and pollution? Update: this lower cost of workforce and may encourage foreign investment.

At this moment I am confused about living conditions, maybe some locals can help me with an “internal opinion”?

Malaysia housing types

Housing in Malaysia is similar in style and types with Singapore housing. Just cheaper and bigger houses and apartments, due of lower land prices and lower salaries.

The equatorial climate (absence of heating systems) and the lifestyle with big families, turned Malaysia into a country with one of the biggest houses in the world. Average household size dropped from 4.62 in 2000 to 4.31 in 2010 (source: census report, page 31 and statistics.gov.my), I am in doubt if this was caused by influx of foreigners with different lifestyle, or due of increased wealth of Malay families and married kids moving away from parent’s house?

Public housing apartments can be small as 60 sqm and still have 3 bedrooms! 2-bedrooms are rare, as well as studio apartments (Google Images search don’t show many).

Regular apartments in Malaysia have usually 3 bedrooms, around 100-120 sqm, but there are also examples over 400 sqm and 5 bedrooms.

Terraced House are most common type of home for Malaysians. Most new houses are 2-storey and have 4 bedrooms, usually 6000 mm or 6700 mm wide (they use approximate metric values of 20 and 22 feet), and 12-14 meters depth, and about 150-200 sqm if they are 2-storey, up to 300 sqm in case of 3-storey terraced houses.

I have not seen yet any house with less than 3 bedrooms. Even single-storey terraced houses, most of new ones have 4 bedrooms. I would like to know what is average family size in these oversized houses.

Semi-detached house and bungalow are, of course, even bigger, having 4, 5, or even 6 bedrooms, each with own bathroom, some are 3-storey, reaching over 400 sqm.

Townhouse is shared by 2 families living one above other, both having entrances on ground floor, usually 2-storey and 3 bedrooms, but I remember once time ago a 4-storey townhouse on sloped ground, where one family had entrance at 1st level while second family had entrance at 3rd level from opposite side. Can’t find the URL anymore.

Link house is a term which include terraced houses and townhouses which are build like terraced (townhouses can be semi-detached too).

Superlink house… I am not sure what was the original meaning, today most link houses are called superlink for marketing purposes.

There is also new interesting housing styles, quaduplex, sextuplex, honeycomb (example).

A large part of housing stock remains the old houses built 1960s to 1980s when Malaysia was just a third-world country, these old houses looks quite ugly and not properly maintained, but still better than houses of same age from other Asian countries.

I do not know what is the share of landed houses vs apartments within total housing stock. If anyone can help me with more detailed info about average home size in Malaysia, I will appreciate.

Update: Google Streetview in Malaysia launched on 26 September 2014, allowing me to see that this country is worse than I expected, many houses are single-storey, further study is required when I have free time, for more precise estimation of house sizes!

Luxury apartments from Putrajaya and Mont Kiara
Pangsapuri, Presint 18, Putrajaya Pangsapuri, Presint 9, Putrajaya Pangsapuri, Mont Kiara

Low-cost apartments (public housing)
Technicolor public housing Penang public housing
Luxury terraced housing, semi-detached and bungalows

Villa Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur Desa ParkCity NadiaRumah teres, Presint 8, Putrajaya

Medium and low-cost housing

Malaysia kampung

Another beautiful part of Malaysia is the countryside… the kampongs. Houses with big garden, a lot of greenery and no fence, contrasting the concrete jungle of cities. Traditional Malay houses were made by bamboo or timber, built on stilts to protect from flood and wild animals, and for better ventilation. Windows are louvre type, again for ventilation.

Smaller houses can be found in kampung, but pretty big considering the poverty of people living there.

Small towns, like the following video, have a mix of kampung-styled houses and modern houses.

Malaysia also have slums, houses built over water, probably with little or no running water or proper sanitation, but even they are large, around 50-100 sqm, not like the 5-10 sqm slums of India or Philippines.

Malaysia building code

Download building code: http://www.scribd.com/doc/13282147/Uniform-Building-by-Laws.

Malaysia building code specify minimum 10 feet / 3.05 meters setback from side and rear property line, and 20 feet / 6.10 meters from street, also 10 feet / 3.05 meters of carport roof. corner lots usually have large courtyard 6 meters wide in side of house.

However, most houses are built with longer setbacks around 9 meters from street, thus you can park 2 small cars one behind other. Does anyone know when the current building code was issued and what were the earlier laws about setback?

Google satellite imagery and street view shows numerous houses expanded, carport lengthened to the street line, etc. How these building code violations were possible? Corrupt authorities?

Crazy stuff found during my study of housing in Malaysia

Crazy urban planning: if in United States there are 1/2-storey houses mixed with 3-storey apartments, and in Europe there are 2-storey houses mixed with 4-storey apartments, in Malaysia there are 20-storey blocks built in middle of a 2/3-storey landed housing development! How does this explain?

Bad apartment layout: in a country dominated by low-density developments, many condominiums, despite of large open space in their compounds, the apartment towers are massive, with large number of units per floor. Thus the apartment layouts are bad and crammed, some blocks being 30 meters wide with double-loaded corridors, 3 bedroom apartments of which only living room and master bedroom have view to outside, the other 2 bedrooms are facing inside of block towards the corridor, ventilated through a small airwell (example floor plan).
Another example: Pelangi Seri Alam (floor plan of entire block available).

Palm Spring Condo @ Damansara, Kuala Lumpur Putrajaya luxury apartments and bungalows

4 bedrooms is a STANDARD in Malaysia even for single-storey terraced houses! Example: Austin Residence, but… 2 bedrooms are windowless! Is this legal in Malaysia!!?? Someone has told me that is legal if they have high-level windows, over the ceiling of nearby room. However the picture does not show this.
3 bedroom can be found nowadays only in townhouses (2 families sharing same house)
A very old back to back terrace house with 2 bedrooms. Fortunately there are not many such shitty houses.
The ONLY house with 2 bedrooms found so far
Mutiara Seputeh, a development with 93 houses ranging from 400-870 sqm (floorplans available).
Pangsapuri Seri Nilam possible the cheapest and smallest apartment in Malaysia, 650 sq ft and still have 3 bedrooms!
Some luxury apartments reach 400 sqm as well.

Also: case study of the low-cost public housing in Malaysia.

 

Malaysia is located in the most raining region of earth, so… best to avoid buying houses near rivers. Worst affected was Kota Tinggi in 2006-2007.

Kota Tinggi flood Kota Tinggi flood Kota Tinggi flood
See 100+ flood photos on yazidtim‘s Panoramio account.


STUDY TO BE CONTINUED… but I don’t know what else to write here.

Oh… don’t forget, somebody should tell to Johor Bahru to expand the city further away from coast and stop deforesting the areas around Singapore. From where Singapore will get fresh air when it will be fully urbanized?

7 comments

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    1. Teoalida

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  5. Sam

    Stumbled upon this blog. Very interesting. You can get most of the information on the share of landed and high-rise living quarters from the Department of Statistics.

    Some information are correct while some are merely based on judgement. The building codes allow any landed house to be renovated, subject to approval from local authorities. Not sure about corrupt authorities, which I think there might be very few cases happened. In general, as long as Malaysians have the land to ‘expand the house’ (unlike Singapore which has limited land), the authority will allow the renovation as long as it is within the limit. But there are cases where the house owner will renovate the house first without approval, which in return they will be fined (and demolished if considered obstructing public spaces) by the authorities.

    It is quite interesting that the way how the blog was written is merely on judgement and of course lots to do with generalising and cherry picking. I would like to suggest for you to look at both sides – the best and the worse so that it won’t make bias conclusion.

    I’m not sure Johor Bahru wants to stop the development at the coastal area. It’s their land which they can do whatever they want. Johor has enough forest for them anyway. Oh.. don’t forget, somebody should tell Singaporean that they can buy houses in Johor if fresh air is what they really want.

    1. Teoalida

      Couldn’t you provided link to which page of department of statistics show share of landed houses?

      I always look at both sides, best and worst of each country, but in case of Malaysia I don’t see much worst. Can you tell me more bad things from Malaysia? See what I write about http://www.teoalida.com/world/india/ and http://www.teoalida.com/world/philippines/

      I know at least 1 person who is living in Johor and commuting daily to Singapore to work. Maybe more people will do this if customs will work faster.

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