Care­fully-de­signed strat­egy for hous­ing mar­ket re­quired

New Straits Times - - Business - FARAH ADILLA AND BEATRICE NITA JAY KUALA LUMPUR bt@me­di­aprima.com.my

FIRST-TIME house buy­ers are ham­pered by a lack of af­ford­able houses in their pre­ferred lo­ca­tions or even in­for­ma­tion on how to buy a house.

This is in ad­di­tion to the many bar­ri­ers they are al­ready fac­ing, in­clud­ing not able to make the monthly pay­ments and to se­cure loans.

Na­tional House Buy­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (HBA) sec­re­tary-gen­eral Chang Kim Loong said while the higher in­come group may know the basics of ac­quir­ing a prop­erty, low-in­come house­holds did not have ac­cess to such in­for­ma­tion and per­haps no knowl­edge about home own­er­ship as well.

Own­ers in the low and medi­u­min­come groups stand to lose their homes if they are un­able to keep up with pay­ments.

“While ex­tend­ing house own­er­ship to low and medium-in­come house­holds is a pri­or­ity, is­sues like bank­ing, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and ed­u­ca­tion can­not be ig­nored,” he said.

Bank Ne­gara Malaysia, in its 2016 An­nual Re­port yes­ter­day, said the Malaysian hous­ing mar­ket had not been able to pro­vide ad­e­quate sup­ply of af­ford­able hous­ing for the masses.

The re­port said the un­der­sup­ply of af­ford­able houses was likely to worsen, given cur­rent trends in in­come dis­tri­bu­tion and de­mo­graph­ics.

It said go­ing forward, a care­fully-de­signed strat­egy of pol­icy in­ter­ven­tions was re­quired for the hous­ing mar­ket to en­sure that it could ac­com­mo­date house­holds of all in­come groups.

Chang agreed that there should be a sin­gle um­brella, prefer­ably at the fed­eral level, where in­for­ma­tion could be col­lected to co­or­di­nate the to­tal num­bers of such units be­ing built, their lo­ca­tion and the pric­ing.

Bank Ne­gara also said on the de­mand side, de­vel­op­ing the rental mar­ket to bridge the af­ford­abil­ity gap could re­lieve some of the pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment.

Speak­ing on another mat­ter, Chang said the HBA was amazed by the com­mit­ment and vi­sion of Sul­tan of Jo­hor Sul­tan Ibrahim Sul­tan Iskan­dar, who had priced bun­ga­lows and semi-de­tached units for un­der RM100,000.

“If the sul­tan can do it, why can’t oth­ers em­u­late him?” he said.

Chang Kim Loong

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