Builders blame banks for gloom, but it’s now or never for home buyers

Shahfizul and Halida, a couple in their late 20s, said they had to give up a lot to purchase their first property, a RM460,000 home in the Klang Valley, and can't make further sacrifices as they live out their 35-year term loan.

For the longest time, Halida drove a second-hand Perodua Kancil and only replaced it with a Myvi recently, a year after she signed on for the house purchase.

Two major banks had rejected their applications for a housing loan before they settled for a third bank which tied them to high interest rates.

"The only reason the third bank gave me a loan was because I had RM15,000 in savings at the bank, but in any case, the interest rate they are charging me is quite high for the housing loan.

"As for the other two banks, as I did not have any loans in my name nor a credit card, they said they could not ascertain my credit worthiness and therefore could not give me a loan," she said.

‎The couple, who have a combined income of RM8,000, are now tied down to a monthly loan instalment of RM2,100 for their home.

Despite the difficulties they faced, Halida said not to purchase was not an option, as she was aware that homes would only get more expensive with time.

But while ‎people like Halida and her husband are struggling with the purchase of just one home, there are others who view the Malaysian property market favourably due to the depreciating ringgit.

According to Penang Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan (pictured, right), this include Malaysians living abroad‎.

"A cheaper ringgit will draw fresh money into the property market from the Malaysian diaspora and also investors who are prepared to take a medium or longer term view of the Malaysian property market and an undervalued ringgit.

"So we think it will be positive for the residential property market that foreigners are allowed to buy, for example, those priced above RM1 million in lifestyle concept developments," he told The Malaysian Insider.

Chan said the outlook for the property sector in 2016 remains positive, adding that there would still be demand for the affordable housing segment priced below RM1 million despite the bleak economic outlook and weak ringgit.

He said those who go for higher priced homes would tend to be quite selective and choose from lifestyle development concepts.

He added, however, that house buyers would continue to be plagued by the issue of tightened lending conditions rather than the weaker ringgit.

"Still, people know that if they don't buy today, it will never be cheaper tomorrow.

"So the demand will always be there, it's just the difficulty in securing a loan which would be the problem," he said. -- The Malaysian Insider

1 comment

December 22, 2015 at 8:02 AMAlex Lim

Weird statement