Housing, too costly for average income earners

There should be a national housing policy for affordable homes, said Datuk Mani Usilappan, who is council member the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia (PEPS).

He said it was timely that such a policy be implemented to ensure homes remain affordable to the mainstream home buyers.

Mani, who is also advisor to PEPS organising committee, said housing, especially in prime locations, were becoming too costly for average income earners.

There is need for the Government to implement a national housing policy, particularly for this group of people who represent the bulk of Malaysians, he said at a media briefing on the 4th Malaysian Property Summit 2011 yesterday.

Mani said perhaps the national housing policy could include the different categories of the property market, including the affluent segment. It is difficult for property developers to resolve this issue (affordable homes for the masses) by themselves, he said.

PEPS organising chairman Eric Ooi concurred with Mani, adding that while the overall outlook of the Malaysian property sector is positive, there is a need to ensure affordable housing is available to mainstream home buyers.

He acknowledged there was a growing number of young people (35 years and below) and young couples who were finding it difficult to own a home. Studies show the average home in the Klang Valley costs about RM400,000, so it would be quite impossible for these people to own one, he said.

On foreigners snapping up these homes, Ooi said it was more a perception than reality as the majority of foreigners tended to buy residential properties in prime locations that can cost RM1mil or more.

We don't see this as an issue, he said, noting that the Government had plans to raise the income levels of Malaysians over time by improving productivity.

PEPS past president James Wong said the Government had a significant role to play to ensure affordable housing was available to the masses. The authorities have to ensure land and funds are available for such housing projects and developers are give sufficient incentives to build these homes, he said.

The 4th Malaysian Property Summit 2011 will be held on Jan 18 at the Sime Darby Convention Centre. - By Danny Yap (The Star)

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