Updated guidelines needed for affordable property

By IZZAT RATNA / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

AN UPDATED guideline for affordable property as a clearer reference point is needed to support plans for new housing supply that would cater for key urban areas, particularly in the city centres.

PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez said that the definition should not only include price — as other elements including unit size, location, as well as the private sector feedback should also be considered.

“There needs to be a clear consensus between the government and the private sector, as well as what is perceived as an affordable home for the consumers,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Fernandez said the government should consider increasing the plot ratios in order to aid developers in building more units by optimising land use and space.

He further elaborated that transit oriented developments (TODs) should be allowed to have increased plot ratios as well.

The increased plot ratio for affordable housing at TOD areas would promote home ownership, while encouraging transport ridership that would reduce traffic congestion and a more sustainable urban lifestyle.

Moreover, Fernandez said that reversion to gross income to access loan eligibility, especially for first time homebuyers is essential to aid in the sector’s recovery, which is expected to immediately improve market transactions.

The online property platform also suggested that upcoming Budget 2018 to include incentives that could help revitalise the property sector as affordability in home ownership has remained a challenge for consumers nationwide.

A survey by PropertyGuru also revealed that consumers are still feeling the pressure in overpriced assets, high interest rates, coupled with concerns on the overall economy.

As such, PropertyGuru has also urged the government to re-examine interest rates given by financial institutions.

“Given that banks have had a good financial year, a reduction of between 0.5% and 1% of interest rates for first-time homeowners buying affordable properties offer first-time homeowners a special interest rate if they bought affordable properties within a specific price range in TODs,” Fernandez said.

He added that more landlord incentives could also be included in the upcoming budget, as part of short term solutions that could help those who need a roof over their heads, while they save up to buy their own homes.

“Special incentives could also be provided to home-owners who rent to Malaysians on a longer-term basis — two- to five-year tenancy agreements — for those within a certain age bracket and income level — especially for the middle 40 generation,” he added.