KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 30): The government is considering proposals by property developers to reintroduce the developers interest bearing scheme (DIBS) and relax lending guidelines to promote first home ownership, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Sri Abdul Wahid Omar.
He said the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association has submitted their requests and are now in discussions with the government.
“We want to promote house ownership, but at the same time we also want to ensure that buyers have the ability to service the loan,” said Wahid during the press conference after officiating the opening ceremony of Malaysia Property Exposition (MAPEX).
The three-day event will see 78 developers offering 25,000 units of residential, commercial and industrial properties.
Under DIBS, developers will absorb the home loan interest while the property is being built, but the loan will still be disbursed during construction.
The scheme was abolished in 2014 on concerns that it encouraged property speculation and it hiked up property prices – some experts observed that selling prices of properties sold with DIBS went up by 5% to 15%.
He notes that by 2020, Malaysia’s population is expected to reach 32.5 million, and there will be huge demand for housing, especially affordable homes.
“The Special Economic Committee that I chair recently conducted a fact-finding exercise on the state of the property sector in view of the economic uncertainties. We found that demand for affordable homes exceeds present supply, and this need is especially critical in urban areas with a young population,” he added.
Wahid did not elaborate on the findings of the committee.
However, at a press conference earlier this week, Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia (PR1MA) noted that a million Malaysians in the middle income group – defined as those who earned RM2,500 to RM10,000 a month – had yet to own a home. Of this number, 450,000 resided in the Klang Valley.
The PR1MA board has approved 198,489 units and plans to approve 240,000 units in total by year-end.
Currently, 41,187 units are under construction, with 4,636 in Kuala Lumpur and 5,081 in Selangor.
PR1MA has completed 800 units and aims to complete 1,000 units by the end of this year, and 10,000 units by the end of next year.
Under the Budget 2016, PR1MA was mandated to build another 175,000 homes to be sold at 20% below market price.
Other schemes include 100,000 homes of Perumahan Penjawat Awam 1Malaysia (PPA1M), 22,300 apartment units and 9,800 terraced houses under Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR), and 10,000 units of Rumah Mesra Rakyat.
To speed up the construction of affordable homes and remain cost-competitive, Wahid noted that there is an urgent need to adopt innovation technology, such as the industrialised building system (IBS).
“The government’s affordable housing schemes under PR1MA, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) and PPA1M, will take the initiative to implement IBS,” he said.
According to Wahid, government agencies are now in the process of identifying the number of units to be built.
Under the Budget 2016, there will be a RM500 million IBS promotion fund provided by SME Bank to encourage the implementation of IBS.
Meanwhile, on the weakening ringgit, he said Malaysian investors who had purchase property overseas, such as in the UK, should take the opportunity to liquidate their assets and explore potential good buys in prime areas within Kuala Lumpur City Centre.
“With the ringgit depreciating by almost 20% since the end of last year, I would like to encourage Malaysian owners of foreign properties to consider channelling back their investments to Malaysia, as the property price of Kuala Lumpur areas are relatively low compared with other cities in the region, such as Jakarta, Singapore and Bangkok,” he added.
According to Wahid, more Malaysians are buying properties overseas, and they have invested up to RM5.5 billion in overseas property.