Help for first-time house buyers?
> Higher EPF withdrawal, stamp duty waiver among goodies hoped for in budget
PETALING JAYA: Higher withdrawal from retirement fund and stamp duty exemptions are among measures for first-time home buyers likely to be announced in Budget 2017.
CH Williams Talhar & Wong managing director Foo Gee Jen said a 100% stamp duty exemption would help first-time home buyers as it could result in a RM2,000 to RM3,000 saving.
“That is something that would help. The other option available is to give grants to first- time home buyers. It will be definitely a good thing. At the end of the day, we do not want to give the impression that you must rush into buying houses, even for first-time home buyers. You must be able to afford before you jump into this big ticket item,” he said.
VPC Alliance (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director James Wong said the stamp duty partial exemption, which is currently 50%, could be enhanced to 100% for first-time home buyers and expanded to houses below RM750,000 from the current RM500,000 limit to allow more first-time home buyers to qualify.
However, Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) immediate past president Siva Shanker warned that the system could be abused, if it is unable to determine whether the buyers are genuinely first- time home buyers.
“I think you must also differentiate a firsttime buyer from a first-time home buyer. There are some people who never bought residential but have invested in commercial properties and made their money. When they decide to buy a house, they also enjoy all sorts of exemptions which is not fair,” he said.
National House Buyers Association of Malaysia (HBA) secretary-general Chang Kim Loong concurred, adding that enforcement against false declarations are as important as the statutory declaration itself.
“I would support it (100% stamp duty exemption) as it helps the new generation of home buyers but the selection criteria is very important. Making them swear a statutory declaration is important. However, prosecuting on false declaration is equally important as there are a lot of cases where there’s been a lot of deviation,” he said.
Chang said in the past, there have been buyers who claimed that they are first-time home buyers when purchasing low-cost homes but it was discovered later that these buyers own several low-cost units.
“That’s where the leakages are. The problem in Malaysia is that we don’t have a consolidated system on ownership. We don’t have data on whether they are firsttime buyers or not,” he said.
Meanwhile, the announcement by Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani on allowing higher withdrawal from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Account 2 for first-time home buyers has been wellreceived.