Bank Negara move can affect housing demand

Slower affordable property launches and less demand for such properties are some of the consequences of the proposed move by Bank Negara to assess housing loans on net income rather than on gross income.

Registered and chartered valuer C.A. Lim & Co proprietor Lim Chien Aun told StarBiz that there would be an impact on the demand for affordable properties priced between RM100,000 and RM300,000.

The proposed move to assess the eligibility for housing loans on a net income basis would lower affordability by 14% to 37%, said a recent RHB Research Institute report.

“We will definitely see slower take-up rate from the low and middle-income segments, resulting in the long run slower delivery of affordable housing projects.

“Ordinary wage earners will be affected more than the high-income segment.

“Unless the Government is willing to lower the price of affordable housing in the country, the proposed move, if implemented, may not support Government's objective of promoting affordable housing projects,” he said.

Chartered valuer and property consultant Azmi & Co (Penang) Sdn Bhd managing director Chandra Mohan Krishnan said there would be a slowdown in the delivery of houses, especially those priced from RM100,000 to RM300,000, as the eligibility of those in the low and middle income segment for housing loans would be affected, if the move was implemented.

“I don't encourage this move to be implemented now, as this would generate a chain of effects, although the intention is to curb speculation,” he said.

On the impact of the move on property prices, Henry Butcher Malaysia (Penang) director Dr Teoh Poh Huat said there would be additional downward pressure.

Real Estate & Housing Developers' Association (Penang) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said, for example, the impact of the move would be more noticeable on the island than in Seberang Prai where the property market was less speculative.

“Developers who have lined up easy and high percentage financing for its projects will feel the brunt of the proposed move.

“New projects from such developers would assume a slower pace. Property buyers with high leverage for property purchase will also be affected.

“We can expect to see a slower takeup rate from this category,” he said.

Chan said the move, however, would not impact very much on property prices, due to high land cost and strong holding power of major developers in Penang.

They were commenting on Bank Negara's proposed move to curb rising property speculation, as household debt in the country, as measured by household debt to annual gross domestic product ratio, had surged to a record high level in 2009 and 2010, largely stimulated by low interest rates and easy financing scheme for property purchase.

The household debt to GDP ratio in the country has reached nearly 76%, which is on the high side compared with countries in South-East Asia.

Meanwhile, Penang-based Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd plans to launch projects with about RM400mil in gross development value over the next 12 months, compared with RM600mil as originally planned. - By David Tan (The Star)

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September 8, 2011 at 1:51 PMAnonymous

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