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clock 08-10-2019
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Part 1 Different Perceptions of Affordable Luxury

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Every one wants to have their luxury, that is a given. It is an aspiration that is shared by all the three income groups regardless of race, creed or social standing.  

The low-income earners (B40) want luxury, as do the middle-income group (M40) but it is the high-income earners (T20) who exudes in luxury. 

“[But] the perceptions of luxury among the B40, M40 and T20 household groups are different,” said leading global property consultancy Knight Frank Malaysia Managing Director Sarkunan Subramaniam. 

But what is affordable luxury in the property context

To Sarkunan, affordable luxury housing refers to premium properties delivered in affordable pricing, that is to say, at levels that the buyers can afford given their income levels.  

Affordable premium properties may include modern minimalist homes with smart features in a secured community with recreational amenities that exude a luxurious lifestyle, he told StarProperty. 

But what works for a person may not work for another, says Veritas Design Group associate architect Aina Zuber In the property context, the definition of luxury is a combination of generous space, prime location with high-end amenities. In affordable luxury, one of these elements might be compromised, she said. 

 “The definition of luxury by younger consumers may be different from the typical luxury we see every day. For example, luxury for millennials is more about having the full experience of lifestyle that is normally out of their reach. For the older generation, luxury is more on buying something that has quality and lasts longer,” she said. 

How does this translate into property design? “The definition of luxury is no longer just about having facilities such as tennis courts and game rooms, stone cladding finishes, bathrooms with hot tubs or even walk-in closets. 

 It is more about getting a quality living: co-living space, accessibility, smart homes and perhaps amenities such air-water purification,” she said. 

When cutting across the different income groups, brands of fixtures and fittings that are popular with the mass market may be perceived as a luxury for the B40 group while the M40 group’s perception of luxury is higher and they prefer reputable global brands, said Sarkunan. 

The T20 group looks to luxury that commensurates with their lavish lifestyle – homes in exclusive residential districts or city centres that offer spacious accommodation with well-planned layouts and come with high-end fixtures and fittings, he said. 


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