10 proposals to lower house prices

The Finance Ministry, concerned about soaring home prices, has sought the help of the National House Buyers Association (HBA) to find solutions to the problem.

Responding to the request early this month, the HBA has proposed 10 measures to address the problem and, hopefully, bring prices down.

HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Leong said immediate intervention was needed to prevent a “homeless generation” of Malaysians, warning that the country would face a social crisis if the majority of lower and middle income earners did not have access to affordable housing.

He called on the Government to take the lead in developing affordable homes and not leave it to property developers “who are profit-maximising entities”.

One of the measures proposed by the association is to disallow those who bought homes under the affordable housing projects from selling their property, effectively only allowing them to transfer it to their next of kin.

This was to prevent people from trying to make a quick profit, he said yesterday.

The association proposed that the Government unlock its land banks in various locations and give priority to affordable housing projects rather than high-end properties.

“By affordable, we mean between RM150,000 and RM300,000,” said Chang.

“Once a property is purchased, the buyer should not be allowed to sell the property other than transfer it to the next of kin,” he said.

However, there should be a provision to allow the buyer to sell it to another owner after 10 years of acquiring the property or, before that period, to sell the house back to the Government.

Chang said another strategy was to penalise speculators, who played a major role in inflating property prices.

He proposed a higher stamp duty and real property gains tax as well as tighter mortgage rules for those buying a third property and subsequent properties.

“Not only will this discourage speculation, but it will also provide increased revenue for the Government to develop affordable housing,” he said, adding that prices would drop as only real demand would exist in the market.

Chang said the HBA proposed 100% financing only for those buying low or medium-cost homes.

“Those buying high-end property or a third and subsequent property should have limited access to funding,” he added.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim said the ministry had received HBA's proposals and would look at ways to address the issue. - By P. Aruna (The Star)

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