Of affordability and housing cycles

Au Foong Yee

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 8): Guideline clarity, process transparency and constant engagement with relevant real estate stakeholders.

These are some of the key issues the government should address in its National Housing Policy to be unveiled later this month, managing director and editor-in-chief Au Foong Yee said.

Interviewed on BFM Business Radio's Property Show yesterday, Au also said the government must avoid any policy flip flop as it will put off investors, both local and foreign.

"Hence the government needs to constantly engage with industry stakeholders, however problematic it might seem. Such an approach is certainly welcomed in the New Malaysia," she said.

On affordability and reducing home prices, Au said a transparent business environment would help reduce the cost of doing business with the savings then passed down to consumers. This is a more realistic solution as land is a state matter.

Weighing in on the housing mortgage availability debate, Au pointed to household debts standing at about 84% to the GDP ratio. "Some say this is high. Others argue that homeownership should still be encouraged. Whatever the case, the question is can the borrowers service their monthly repayments?"

She lamented on the current confusion on the definition of "affordable" homes. The government must provide clarity, Au stressed, adding that the term should not be used carelessly.

Pointing to's insights into housing data, Au said Malaysia is enduring a protracted period of consolidation rather than experiencing a bubble as some have claimed. "We have not seen any exuberant rise and dive in property prices over a short span in recent years.Transaction volume has dropped but prices have not really dipped either."

Besides a full-fledged research team, is powered by an experienced editorial team that has a finger on the pulse of the local and global real estate markets.

"We are very clear in our objectives. is here to democratise data, analysis and relevant, credible content that will enable our users to make better informed decisions," Au added.

Listen here to the podcast of Au's interview on BFM.

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