Property ‘investor clubs’ need to be reined in

The government should act proactively against self-proclaimed property experts known as ‘investor clubs’ who are manipulating the housing market through en bloc purchases, says the National House Buyers Association (HBA).

“They buy en bloc, up to 50% or 60% of the units, with discounts of up to 25% – which is a lot – and they pass it on to the members and they then make money from there,” secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said at a forum themed ‘Does Greater Prosperity Come With Less Housing Affordability?’ today.

Club members, who are told they get a 15% discount – better than the 7% discount for bumiputeras – are willing to pay a membership fee of RM300 to RM6,000, he said.

Chang said he knows of about 30 such clubs in the country although they have not been active this year due to the current economic challenges.

“But we don’t want them to come back, and the government must come forward because so far there is no law to curb their activities.”

He said the government could impose higher stamp duties for buyers of multiple houses – 5% for the first three houses, 7.5% for the fourth house and 10% flat for the fifth house onwards.

The government should help not just low-income earners to own their own homes but also the middle-income group, for whom houses should ideally cost no more than RM300,000, he added. - By The Rakyat Post

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