Rehda wants monitoring of buyers of affordable homes

KUALA LUMPUR: The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) has called on the government to monitor buyers of affordable housing, saying there is no mechanism for this at present.

Rehda president Datuk Sri Michael Yam said while developers have done their best to provide houses in an affordable price range, it is also the government’s duty to monitor house buyers to make sure that affordable houses are going to the right people.

“I think as a responsible organisation, our developers have provided a million low- to medium-cost houses. But there has been no monitoring of the sub-sales of subsidised housing, and something has to be done in order to prevent profiteering.

“Under the context of the social housing system, developers are being responsible. But who monitors who gets the houses later? Going forward, if the government wants to reach the target audience for affordable housing, there has to be a body to control  subsequent transfers,” he told a media briefing yesterday.

Rehda immediate past president, Datuk Ng Seing Liong, said there has been a misconception among buyers in general with regard to rising house prices.

“There have only been a few hotspots where property prices have gone up. However, it must be understood that people are not buying homes, but rather a lifestyle. There are many second-hand houses that have not seen much of a take-up rate due to financing issues,” said Ng.

According to recent Rehda research findings, residential selling prices averaged between RM500,000 and RM1 million during the first half of the year, mostly in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang.

The survey, which sampled 150 Rehda association members across 12 states, found that the number of respondents that will be offering houses priced within the RM250,000 to RM500,000 range is expected to increase to 25% of total units in the second half of 2013 after falling to 23% in the first half.

Yam: ... something has to be done to prevent profiteering.

The survey also showed that some 95% of buyers were local, whose main purpose was for their own occupation. The remaining 5% were foreign buyers who purchased the units  for investment purposes.

The survey respondents were optimistic of the outlook for the second half of 2013, with the sentiment expected to continue into the first half of 2014.

Future launches are expected to increase to 63% or 18,181 units year-on-year for the second half of 2013, with strata properties expected to dominate launches in KL, Selangor and Johor.

The survey also found that the local property market is facing its fair share of challenges, which could change sentiment.

Yam said rising labour costs and shortages, inconsistent supply and the increasing cost of building materials were the main challenges plaguing the construction side of the industry.

Almost half the respondents have reported a 5% to 10% increase in the cost of doing business.

“There was also a significant increase in the buyers (about 62%) reporting to our members that they were having issues with end-financing, as a result of the stricter borrowing requirements imposed by the banks,” Yam said.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 03, 2013.


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