PETALING JAYA (Oct 31): The National House Buyers Association (HBA) lauded on government’s move in offering affordable housing to the low income group but also advised that the provision of such housing projects need to be done with thorough research to meet the market needs, said HBA’s honorary secretary general Datuk Chang Kim Loong.

Commenting on the recent announced Budget 2022 on Friday (Oct 29), Chang said the allocation of RM1.5 billion to build comfortable and quality homes for the lower income segment is a good move, but it requires  proper planning, allocation, distribution and execution is done to ensure that these affordable properties are built for the targeted groups.

He noted that the information on low, medium and affordable cost projects -  those under construction or planned by the various government or private housing providers, state economic agencies, federal bodies and funding schemes, should be made available to the public domain in a common database. 

“This will allow individuals to learn about the availability of those low, medium and affordable categories in their communities and the financing options available,” he added.

Meanwhile, he added that there’s a need for a single “umbrella” to coordinate distribution and availability.

The government agencies cannot possibly build an apartment block in a place where there is only demand for landed property or built houses. Or build where there is practically no demand and which will just add to the statistics of ‘overhang’ (built and unsold) properties, he stressed.

Chang also added that affordable properties must fulfill certain criteria, which included priced below RM300,000, units with minimum built-up of 900 sq ft (excluding balcony) and located in strategic location with easy accessibility to public transportation system such as rail transportation (MRT/LRT) and other public amenities such as schools and hospitals.

HBA also commended on the announcement that the government will allocate up to RM2 billion for the Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme to guarantee Housing Loans to help those without a stable income such as in the Gig Economy to buy properties.  

He said The gig Economy has been a lifesaver to many of the Rakyat who lost their jobs and resorted to become ride hailing drivers, food delivery riders and other forms of freelance work. 

“These employees are still economically productive and such should have access to financing to buy assets such as property.   However, their income may not be consistent and many lack the full documents that Banks typically require from fixed income salaried employees.

This Guarantee Scheme would be very beneficial to the employees in the gig Economy to buy their own property.  However, HBA hopes that this Housing Credit Guarantee Scheme will be limited to first time house Buyers and only for affordable properties,” he said.

As for the proposed waiver on the Real Property Gains Tax for the sale of properties held for more than six years, Chang said HBA had in the past urged the government to abolish RPGT for properties held for more than 6 years as RPGT meant to be an anti-speculative tax and property held for more than 6 years would not be deemed as speculative investments but mid to long term investments. 

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