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Sweet deals for house buyers and builders Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 March 2009 18:12

Housing and Local Government Ministry to stimulate property market with measures to ease burden on house buyers and developers. Among the steps being taken are:

  • Getting banks to reschedule payments and reduce interest rates on housing loans
  • Subsidising the construction or purchase of land for 25,000 low-cost houses this year
  • Reviewing stamp duties and taxes for developers
  • Encouraging more foreign buyers under the Malaysia, My Second Home programme.
PETALING JAYA: Housebuyers and developers hit by the contracting economy are being given sweeteners by the government to stimulate the industry.

"We're talking to the banks to reschedule payments and cut interest rates to make housing loans more affordable," said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan yesterday.

Three ministries -- housing and local government, finance and rural and regional development -- are taking a multi-pronged approach to keep the housing and construction industries going and maintain jobs.

Among the other steps being taken are:
  • subsidising the construction or purchase of land for building 25,000 low-cost houses this year
  • reviewing stamp duties and taxes for developers
  • encouraging more foreigners to buy homes under the Malaysia, My Second Home programme.

Ong said subsidising the building of low-cost houses would mean affordable housing for low-income earners.

"There is a worry of lay-offs. The ministry is looking to strengthen the industries," Ong said when he handed over the keys to owners of Milan Condominium units at Damansara Perdana.

The government's help to build low-cost houses by way of cheaper land, tax breaks or other subsidies will help maintain the ceiling price of RM42,000, said Ong.

The low-cost units being built this year would be a better buy -- they will measure 70 sq metres and have three bedrooms. Earlier units measured 55.7sq metres and had only two bedrooms.

All the measures taken to keep the industry going are important as there are 140 sub-sectors under the housing industry.

"We want to ensure that the workforce is maintained and lay-offs are avoided."

Ong said developers must "re-strategise" and build more low- and medium-cost houses at affordable prices.

"As long as construction activities go on, the workforce will be maintained."

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) welcomed the ministry's efforts.

"The subsidies will ensure that the private developers are not burdened by the cost of low-cost housing projects," said association president Datuk Ng Seing Liong.

Ng said other areas which the government could look into were the issue of unsold Bumiputera lots and a standard discount offer.

Rehda is also asking for a standardised discount for Bumiputera lots, which now range between seven and 15 per cent.

"We want discounts to be standardised nationwide to five per cent and limited to properties worth RM250,000 and below."

 

Source: The New Straits Times



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