PROPERTY NEWS: Budget looming, affordability debate rages on


URGENT: Conference attendees were unanimous that housing affordability needs urgent attention

With the impending Budget 2013, the hot debate over affordable housing raged on at the recent 15th National Housing and Property Summit in which the Minister of Housing and Local Government YB Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung delivered the opening keynote address.

“We are aware of the growing public concern and I have made my recommendations to the cabinet. There will be a review of government’s fiscal policies in Budget 2013 but I feel that speculative activities are not really rampant. It is a worldwide phenomenon, not just in Malaysia. Nevertheless, the government would not hesitate to Khalidtighten fiscal policies to curb property speculation and ensure reasonable and affordable property prices in the country,” said Dato’ Seri Chor. When pressed on details of possible housing policy changes in Budget 2013, he declined to comment whether they would involve further changes in the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), loan-to-value ratio (LVR) or any other specific measures.
The two-day summit focusing on the sustainability of the housing industry also saw various property industry leaders expressing their concerns over the situation facing the country. “A recent survey showed that a majority of leading developers believe that residential property prices will continue to rise between 10–20 per cent. With an average population growth of 2.47 per cent or 500,000 a year and a rising younger demographic profile, there is a pent-up demand for landed homes but Bank Negara’s latest guidelines have made loan approvals harder. More than 150,000 homes are needed every year until 2020,” said Datuk Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor, Group Managing Director and CEO of Glomac Berhad.
These sentiments were echoed by Muaz Omar, Strategic Affairs, Media and International Relations Manager, Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) who said that the government needs to do more to match the supply and demand of affordable housing. “Government needs to assist buyers with acquisition costs, such as lower stamp duty for affordable homes, for example 0.5 per cent for the first RM300,000 purchase price and maybe a first home grant of RM10,000 as a one-off incentive. For medium to longer term, plans should be made to refurbish existing buildings such as government complexes and public low cost houses. Even Malay reserve land and Chinese New Villages are potential sites for affordable housing,” Muaz shared. 

Minister of Housing and Local Government YB Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung.

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