News: HBA Upbeat on Pakatan Harapan’s Affordable Housing Pledge

May 15, 2018

 
The National House Buyers Association (HBA) is “highly optimistic” that the election promises made by the new government will help address Malaysia’s housing woes, reported The Edge.

“The proposals from Pakatan Harapan are well thought out and if implemented right, can go far towards increasing the supply of affordable housing and reduce the threat of a homeless generation,” said HBA Honorary Secretary-General Chang Kim Loong.

But the authorities should first strictly spell out what can be categorised as affordable housing to make sure that property developers comply with the proposed rules and there are no loopholes.

For HBA, low-cost houses are those measuring 800 sq ft with prices ranging RM150,000 to RM300,000. Aside from being near amenities, these should also accessible to public transportation.

Moreover, the organisation hopes that new housing minister will prioritise the interest of the home buyers instead of home builders.

“HBA hopes that the new housing minister does not become a ‘Minister for Housing Developers’,” said Chang.

He also reiterated the group’s call to implement the build-then-sell system, whereby buyer only pay 10 percent of the home price upfront, and fork out the remaining 90 percent upon completion, to prevent the occurrence of abandoned projects.

Among Pakatan’s election promises are to construct one million affordable houses across the country within two terms, establish a special loan scheme for youths who want to buy their first house and cooperate with state governments to convert land status for developers who commit to build such dwellings as well as raise the quota for these properties.

While Chang thinks that the one million is an achievable target, he emphasized that Malaysians will continuously need more affordable homes as the population grows.

The new government also pledged to give tax incentives to firms focusing on affordable housing. This will also be given to encourage them to adopt new construction methods like the industrialised building system (IBS) that can build homes faster at a lower cost.

Another promise is to expand the rent-to-own scheme nationally through cooperation with commercial banks, allow qualified families presently renting to avail of a rent-to-own scheme.

Similar to what is being done in Singapore, Pakatan intends to set a deadline for companies to develop land they’ve bought so they can’t hoard it and build properties when prices are high.

“This is a good move as lands left idle for too long do not benefit society. However, a reasonable period must be given to housing developers to launch their units as forcing housing developers to build too many units within a short period of time can adversely affect the property market,” he noted.

Furthermore, the new government plans to improve the PR1MA programme to prevent exploitation by developers, who purchase land at lower prices but only construct a small proportion of low-cost residential properties.

“HBA fully supports any measures to reform the PR1MA programme as HBA had in the past strongly criticised PR1MA for deviating from their original and noble aspiration of delivering affordable housing to the public. PR1MA is now partnering with private housing developers whereby only 50 percent of the allocated land area is reserved for affordable properties with the balance reserved for commercial and ‘lifestyle properties,” added Chang.
 

 
This article was edited by the editorial team of PropertyGuru. To contact them about this or other stories email editorialteam@propertyguru.com.my
 

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Shaiful Safar
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