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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Efforts to curb property speculation

The government will initiate measures to address various issues gripping the property sector, including curbing rampant speculative activities in the market.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung said he would present to the cabinet findings of an industry meeting which could be used to come up with innovative ways to build affordable homes.

"The government has done fairly well in addressing the housing issues of the lower income. However, 40 per cent of the medium-income society still need accommodation.

"My ministry will use some of the findings to improve the sector," Chor told reporters here after opening a roundtable discussion on "Housing Affordability - Issues and Challenges".

The government will put forward recommendations, which will be based on proposals made by Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) such as on how to curb speculative property prices, financing, abandoned projects and sluggish developments.

Metro Kajang Holdings Bhd group managing director Datuk Eddy Chen Lok Loi said for example, a house built in Perlis cost RM250,000 but the same house using the very same materials but built in KLCC would cost RM1 million.

"This is caused by land cost due to two different locations. Nevertheless, there are some of the issues which Rehda will look into to address this such as materials prices. Working groups and a task force have been set up," said Chen.

Meanwhile, National House Buyers Association secretary general Chang Kim Loong said all parties, including the government and developers, need to launch proactive measures to stop steep price increases in the property market due to false demand and excessive speculation fuelled by easy mortgages and low real property gain tax.

"There is a huge mismatch between what the average household income can afford to buy compared to what is available in the market. A homeless generation will emerge and create various social problems," said Chang.

Chang said the average rakyat in a major urban area was struggling to buy his dream home where the average household with income of RM5,962 in 2009 would not be able to qualify for a 90 per cent loan over a 30-year period.

Assuming the average household income rises 15 per cent this year, the household may still not qualify for a 90 per cent loan in far areas such as Kajang, let alone in hot areas such as Kuala Lumpur.

He added that the government must also fine-tune the Bumiputera quota which has not made any headways.

"Don't get me wrong, we have no qualms over the discount for the first buy. But when you buy properties for the fourth and the fifth time and get up to 15 per cent discount ... that is wrong," said Chang.

By Business Times

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