Rehda supports govt’s move to reduce housing loan interest rate

‘This will allow Malaysians to own the home of their dreams and increase their purchasing power’

By IZZAT RATNA / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

THE Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) supports the government’s recent proposal to reduce the housing loan interest rate.

President Datuk Seri Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor (picture) said the proposal speaks volume of the government’s commitment to fulfil the national housing agenda.

“This will allow Malaysians to own the home of their dreams and at the same time increase their purchasing power, should it come into fruition,” he said in a statement last Friday.

“Given that properties are assets that increase in value, it may translate into an improved economic status for the people, as well as the industry,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi proposed to reduce the housing loan interest rate last Thursday during a high-level committee meeting on housing issues.

The association believes that the timely move will further promote homeownership among the people, specifically those within the middle 40% and below 40% income groups, which are finding it almost impossible in the current economic climate.

Rehda, however, highlighted that the ease of end-financing must come hand in hand in meeting this objective.

Fateh Iskandar said the main obstacle currently faced by buyers, especially the younger generation purchasing for the first time, is getting a loan.

“More homebuyers would be able to make their dreams a reality if it is addressed correctly,” he added.

Rehda hopes the Cabinet will take the proposal seriously when it is tabled, and that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) would also support this move.

“The association is committed in promoting homeownership, and we will do our best to ensure that the proposal goes through,” Fateh Iskandar said.

The average housing loan interest rate in Malaysia stands at about 4.65%.

According to data from BNM, about RM40 billion worth of loans were approved between January and May in 2017 for 152,000 house buyers.

Three quarters of those loans are made out of first-time buyers.

Loan approval rate remains stable at 74%. Overall loan rose 8.6% yearon- year to RM493 billion as at end- May 2017.

About 130,690 unsold residential properties were recorded for the first quarter of 2017, almost doubling the historical average of 72,239 units sold between 2004 and 2016.

About 89% of the recorded total unsold units were properties that were selling from RM250,000 and above, while the other 61% were highrise properties.

Data from the Valuation and Property Services Department revealed that about 153,000 transactions worth RM67.82 billion were recorded in the first half of 2017 (1H17), showing a 5% rise in value compared to the 12% drop recorded in 1H16.