Gov’t urged to relax requirements, improve opportunity for young M’sians to buy homes

KUALA LUMPUR: The government must continue to place an emphasis on helping young Malaysians buy affordable homes by relaxing requirements on the eligibility of applicants for Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia (PR1MA) housing projects.
Prospective homeowner Brian Joseph Moreira, 25, hoped for a less stringent approval process.
“PR1MA is quite strict and they look into the bank records, pay slips and the family’s financial standing prior to the approval.
“I suggest that the government study the opportunities middle-class families have to get loans to buy affordable homes as housing in the Klang Valley outside these schemes are too expensive,” said the physiotherapist when asked about his wishes for the upcoming 2018 Budget.
Fresh graduate Nur Ain Wan Taha, 25, hoped that the government would lower the salary requirement of potential buyers to below RM2,000.
“Even though I’m single, I still need a house for myself. It will take three to ten years for me to be able to earn enough to purchase a house,” said the administrative executive who earns less than RM2,000.
Employees Provident Fund officer Amirul Syakirin Dhazir said the main drawback of the PR1MA scheme were the instalments.
He said the instalment payment on his RM400,000 apartment in Sentul sets him back at least RM2,000 a month.
“Anyone earning about RM2,600 a month and living in an urban area knows that paying that sum is close to impossible,” said Amirul, adding that this was among the reason why the scheme was slow on the uptake.
Amirul hoped the government would lower the overall prices of the homes to make it more affordable for the middle-income urbanites.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s hinted at new initiatives in the upcoming budget on Twitter.
Meanwhile the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj called on the government to build more affordable housing to easing end-financing woes.
“We are forcing banks to be more liberal and that creates risk for consumers. The government needs to find ways to match income with home prices. They should do this by regulating house prices within the affordable home category.
“They also have to ensure that when the private sector takes the lead that a certain portion of their development is really affordable,” he said, while adding young middle-income Malaysians were finding themselves increasingly strapped for money.
A 2015 report by the Khazanah Research Institute cited that the median house price in Malaysia was 4.4 times the median annual household income, making the housing market “seriously unaffordable” compared with global standards.
Economist Dr Hoo Ke Ping called the government to flood the market with affordable housing, through land swaps citing the Danau Desa Federal Territories Affordable Housing scheme (Rumawip) in Danau Desa as an example.
He said this was because PR1MA was still scratching the surface as the emphasis for both banks and developers is still high-end housing.
Hoo said the government has to stop enabling developers by abstaining from reintroducing the Developers Interest Bearing Scheme, which prevents speculation and a sharp rise in prices.
Meanwhile Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan called for the budget to explore placing affordable housing projects under a single body that is empowered to override bureaucratic requirements. Additional reporting by Veena Babulal.
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