KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 21): The National House Buyers Association (HBA) is pleased that there were no relaxation of cooling measures in the property sector.

“We are grateful that the prime minister did not heed the advice from business groups with vested interest to relax some of the cooling measures announced previously to stem excessive speculation such as lowering the Real Property Gains Tax or re-introducing the Developer Interest Bearing Scheme [DIBS] for first-time house buyers,” HBA secretary-general, Chang Kim Loong said in a statement after the Budget 2017 announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today.  

HBA is glad that the government has continued to heed the association’s call to ban DIBS.

“Developers being entrepreneurs have to be responsible and bear the risks that come with their investments. They should not be allowed to enjoy profits at the expense of house buyers bearing the risks on their behalf,” said Chang.

Chang also noted that HBA is grateful that the government has taken the initiative to build more affordable housing.

“However, HBA cautions that the right implementation needs to be ensured so that the said affordable housing reaches the right target market. They must build the right product at the right place with the right pricing and the right numbers,” said Chang, adding that the affordable housing must be built at the right place and priced reasonably (between RM150,000 to RM300,000 and not more than RM300,000 for prime locations) and only for first-time house buyers and not to be made available for second-time house buyers which PR1MA is allowing under certain conditions.

“PR1MA must also ensure that all the allocated land is used to build affordable housing and not to partner with private developers whereby only 40% of the lands [from what we understand from the market] is for affordable properties with the balance used for lifestyle properties to build commercial and high-end properties,” added Chang.

Meanwhile, HBA also supported the move to increase the 4% stamp duty for properties exceeding RM1 million and above. “At least the rich are taxed more and should contribute more towards our country’s revenue,” Chang noted.

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