Malaysia has topped the list as the most property-obsessed country in Southeast Asia. Globally, the country is fourth, behind UAE, USA and Taiwan.
The findings were derived from an online survey by HSBC, which find that Malaysians spend an average 4.37 hours viewing properties, way longer than working out at the gym (1 hour), reading books (1.95 hours) or reading/watching the news (2.27 hours).
Among them, more than a quarter (26%) of Malaysians are extreme property addicts who spend between seven and nine hours searching for properties online, with about one in five (19%) of them spending more than 10 hours reading property magazines.
The survey found that extreme property addicts are twice as likely to delay marriage and babies to get on the property ladder. In Malaysia, 25% of extreme property addicts have delayed starting a family by seven to eight years, another 25% by five to six years, and the rest (50%) by less than two years.
Almost half (46%) of Malaysians have also cut back on bigger expenditures such as cars, holidays and luxury items in order to be a property proprietor.
HSBC Malaysia country head of retail banking and wealth management Tara Latini said buying a property is often the biggest and most significant purchase a person can make but some homebuyers may be taking their passion for the perfect home too far.
“An industry of property magazines, TV programmes and websites is making it harder than ever before to have realistic expectations about what you can afford. Many buyers are putting off important life stages in the quest to afford that perfect property.
“It is essential to begin this buying process by having an open discussion with your partner, your family or financial advisor to discuss what you can afford and what compromises you might have to make. Buying a property should be a positive experience, and with some careful planning, it can be an exciting one too,” said Tara.
Meanwhile, the survey also showed that the decision to buy is often impulsive with 38% globally deciding on a property based purely on their first impression. However, difficult neighbours would put off more than half (55%) of Malaysians surveyed.