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Jakarta Post

Millennials see owning a house as ‘mission impossible’

  • Indra Budiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 22, 2017   /  08:13 am
Millennials see owning a house as ‘mission impossible’ If there is one thing shared by millennials living in Jakarta it is that buying a house seems like an impossible task. (Shutterstock/File)

If there is one thing shared by millennials living in Jakarta it is that buying a house seems like an impossible task.

A competitive jobs market, high interest rates and a lack of affordable space in the capital have most of them living under rental agreements, while others are still stuck in their parents’ homes.

Just like the generation before them, Jakarta millennials long for a permanent place to call home. However, the gap between dream and reality is wide. Their monthly salaries as fresh graduates or junior-level employees at offices might not suffice for a down payment on a small house in the city.

Prima Wikaningtyas, 29, did not expect that looking for a house would be so difficult. After moving to the city from Malang, East Java, in 2015, she and her husband have been looking for a house for the last three years. Even after raising the price they are willing to pay for their dream house to Rp 1 billion (US$74,833), finding a decent abode in Jakarta remains a distant prospect.

With houses in Jakarta way too expensive for most millennials, they have begun to look at the possibility of having their first home in a satellite city. However, that decision brings new challenges, given the poor state of public transportation.

“Even if the house meets our budget, it is either too small or doesn’t have good access to public transportation,” she said recently.

As they juggle tuition fees for their child with the rent for their current house, the installments on their car and credit card bills every month, they might have to wait longer to find a house. “For millennials who start from scratch like me, buying a house is almost impossible.”

Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data show that Jakarta is among the provinces with the lowest house ownership rate in the country. While the national average in 2015 was an encouraging 82.63 percent, it stood at just 55.24 percent in Jakarta.

However, sometimes millennials have no one to blame but themselves. It is widely believed that compared to past generations, millennials are less disciplined about saving money.

A 2015 survey by investing app Acorns founds that almost half of millennials had spent more money on coffee than on retirement savings. The survey also shows that 41 percent of the 24to 35-years-old do not expect to be financially secure enough to retire until they are older than 65.

Reza Fadlan said he was not in a rush to find a new home, as his parents let him live in his old room even after he graduated from university three years ago. Despite contributing to the monthly electricity and internet bills, he said it was still much cheaper than renting a place, let alone purchasing a house.

“I can even use my spare money to fund my backpacking hobby. I have looked into the housing market, but the price is just impossible for me now,” the 26-yearold banker said.

To address the issue, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama recently explained that he was planning to build apartments above terminals of the light rail transit (LRT) and mass rapid transit (MRT) systems as well as bus terminals.

Apartment units of 36 square meters will be prepared for residents in the middle-income brackets in Jakarta who are struggling to find a house but also cannot afford to live far from the city. While the plan is still being discussed among stakeholders, the governor said he wanted the units to be as affordable as possible.

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