The National House Buyers Association (HBA) is looking forward to more affordable housing in the upcoming Budget 2017.
Speaking to FMT, HBA Secretary-General Chang Kim Loong said house prices were simply overpriced.
“Currently, there’s a mismatch between house prices and prospective buyers, making it very difficult for people to obtain bank loans. At the end of the day, the prices are simply too high.”
Chang said the ideal house price that was affordable would be RM300,000 and below.
“Our aspiration for this budget is that house prices will be brought down to an affordable level.
“HBA’s stand on affordable housing is RM300,000 and below, which is a reasonable amount for first-time house buyers.”
Apart from lowering house prices, Chang said the government should take measures to reduce the steep rise in property prices by preventing real estate speculators from accumulating multiple properties.
“The government’s current low stamp duty regime has been misused by property speculators to accumulate multiple properties, thereby driving up prices by creating a false demand and denying genuine first-time buyers the opportunity to acquire properties.
“It is every Malaysian’s wish to buy at least one property in his or her lifetime for their own dwelling, and perhaps an additional property as a long-term investment.”
At present, the stamp duty payable for the transfer of properties is based on the value of the property. The amount remains the same regardless of the amount of properties already held or bought.
Chang proposed for the current stamp duty scale to remain for the first two properties, then to be increased progressively for the third and subsequent properties purchased in order to discourage speculative buying.
“HBA proposes for stamp duties to be imposed at five per cent on the third property, 7.5 per cent on the fourth and 10 per cent on the fifth and subsequent property.
“This will not affect genuine house buyers who can only afford two properties in their life time. On the other hand, it will deter property speculators as the stamp duty increases their entry cost.”
Chang also expressed concern over the mandatory “surcharge” imposed by utility companies, such as Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and Telekom Bhd.
“It is a serious concern that a significant percentage in the cost of building houses is the mandatory ‘surcharge’ that they (utility companies) demand. For example, if a house costs RM300,000, then the surcharge would be about 5-10 per cent of the purchase price.”
Meanwhile, the former chairman of the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) Penang, Jerry Chan, also echoed similar sentiments, saying that these surcharges should be removed.
“Utility companies should waive all surcharges for low-cost and affordable housing.”
Chan added that among the issues that Budget 2017 should address is for financial institutions to prioritise loans to first-time home buyers.
“Financial institutions should channel more of their lending to first-time buyers of affordable houses.
“Personal loans, credit card loans are more profitable, but it increases the debt of ordinary Malaysians.”
Budget 2017 will be announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also Finance Minister, in Parliament on Oct 21.