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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Developers: Consumers don’t want low-cost homes

PETALING JAYA: While house buyers are seeking more affordable homes, developers do not want to be bound into building low- and medium-cost homes.

In its memorandum to the Finance Ministry, Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) said it wanted to develop affordable homes in line with the increased household income instead of being compelled to build low- and low-medium cost units, which it said consumers did not want.

“Unoccupied and excess low-cost units are a waste of resources. They are cross-subsidised by both developers, through lower profit, and lower tax collected by the Government and buyers of non-low cost units, in additional tax,” said Rehda president Datuk Seri Michael Yam.

“They are either vacant or abused by being rented to foreigners. The hardcore poor group, which is falling in numbers, can be housed in the government-built social housing (PPR).”

He said Rehda had also proposed a lower stamp duty, with buyers of cheaper units paying less.

“The ceiling for higher priced units should be lifted as inflation and higher costs have increased the prices of even affordable homes,” he said, adding that more incentives were needed to encourage faster adoption of the Green agenda.

Yam said Rehda had also suggested an auto release mechanism for Bumiputra units, which were not sold after a certain period.

“Penalties should not be imposed for such releases as it is caused by low demand,” he said.

National Housebuyers Associa-tion (HBA) secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said the organisation had not submitted a memorandum for the upcoming Budget as its previous request for the enforcement of the “build-and-sell” system had yet to become a reality.

“Although Sharia-compliant housing using the BTS system was announced in Budget 2012, it is yet to be implemented,” he said.

It was reported that the ministry had approached HBA early this month for recommendations on how to reduce the price of homes.

Among its 10 recommendations, HBA urged the Government to unlock its land banks in various locations and give priority to affordable housing projects instead of high-end properties.

By The Star

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