Looking for a place to live in Jakarta may not be difficult, but finding somewhere that suits both your taste and your pocket requires some hunting.
Ade Hapsari, 27, needed to pack her things and go from one place to another quite often to find a better kos (rented room) within her budget of around Rp 400,000 (US$ 42.8).
“My budget is very small, but I can’t stand living in a dirty room. At least it has to have a clean bathroom,” she said.
She moved out of her parents’ home in late 2008 because it was tiring to commute from Depok, West Java, to her office in Kebon Sirih, Central Jakarta. Her first place, also in Kebon Sirih, was one she shared with two other friends, although one only came once in a while.
“I stayed there for six months before moving to Jl. Jaksa [in Central Jakarta] with a friend. The new place was no better; it was even smaller, but at least the bathroom was fine,” Ade said.
That room was located in one of the city’s nightlife hubs, which made her uncomfortable to stay any longer. “The room was also haunted,” she laughed.
Ade did two more rounds of room hunting, until she found her current kos near her office. It was by far the best among all the rooms she had rented. For Rp 700,000 per month, she shares with a roommate the 3 by 3 meter room, which contains two single beds, one standing fan, a wardrobe and a television table.
“It was hard to find an ideal place to live in Jakarta that suited my budget, and was located only a few minutes away from my office,” she said.
Rental rooms are many and various across the capital as many Jakartans choose to live close to where they work to avoid long hours commuting to and from home.
The high number of people moving into the capital from other cities has also contributed to the mushrooming of rental options, ranging from renting only a bed in a room to enjoying facilities in five-star hotels.
Financial planner Mike Rini Sutikno said that economically, despite the fancy facilities on offer, people should only allocate 20 to 30 percent of their monthly income for accommodation.
“If people want to live within their means, they should spend a maximum of 30 percent of their salary on housing. Another 30 percent should be put in a savings account, and the rest can be allocated to pay for their meals and transportation,” she said. “If we’re disciplined enough, we end up with spare cash for leisure.”
Ade is not the only one who wanted to find a comfortable place to live.
Newlyweds Irvan Ciputra, 31, and Ella Agnez, 28, had wanted to have a house of their own. But the couple finally decided to live in an apartment in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, not far from the private hospital where Ella is a resident doctor and Irvan’s garment business.
“I still want to have a house but not one that’s located in the suburbs far from my office,” he said. “That’s why before I can afford to buy a house in the center of the city, I have chosen to live in an apartment.”
Irvan explained that he paid a rental charge of Rp 20 million per year plus a maintenance fee of Rp 1 million a month for his two-bedroom apartment with minimal facilities. “The apartment building has no gym or swimming pool but we are fine with it,” he said, adding, however, that it had no adequate carpark.
The head of the Jakarta branch of Real Estate Indonesia, Rudy Margono, said that living in an apartment in Jakarta was a wise decision as it could help them save on transportation.
“Urban people have become more aware of the advantage of living in an apartment. They realize that it costs them more if they have to travel a long way to their offices,” he said, adding that in the future, more people would prefer apartments to freehold houses.
According to property consultant Cushman & Wakefield Indonesia, the demand for condominiums in Jakarta is quite high, as can be seen from the increases in price of around 10 to 15 percent per year. Condominiums account for 80 percent of the apartment market in the city.
The firm also predicts that this year, Jakarta will have 20,302 condominiums, and an additional 20,447 next year.
According to Knight Frank Indonesia’s senior associate director, Fakky Hidayat, middle-class employees are the main potential buyers of apartments in the city. However, he said, “They cannot buy apartments since the prices are way too high for them.”
The demand for apartments among the lower middle class was actually high but the supply of low-priced apartments was small because developers were more interested in targeting high-end society, he said.
Most apartments in strategic locations, such as Jl. Jendral Sudirman in South Jakarta or business districts, have rentals ranging from Rp 50 million to Rp 150 million per month, which is far too high for young employees who have worked for only two or three years.
According to Fakky, the largest market for apartments is actually white collar workers, who earn around Rp 10 million to Rp 15 million per month. “For example, apartments in Mampang, South Jakarta, sold out incredibly fast because their prices were affordable,” he said.
The Jakarta Statistics Agency has recorded that the number of workers with a bachelor degree in Jakarta totals around 7.2 million and this figure is continuing to grow every year. (cor)