RM22.5b worth of unsold houses nationwide

By P PREM KUMAR & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The total value of unsold residential units in the country is currently RM22.5 billion, 73% of which are affordable houses that are priced below RM250,000.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the government has decided to organise an exposition on house ownership, in an attempt to sell the idle properties.

The exposition, to be held in association with the Malaysia Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) and the private sector, is modelled after a similar effort was initiated after the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998.

“We will have programmes to sell the overhang houses to the public. In January, we plan to organise a home ownership exposition to sell these homes.

“We will also discuss with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and investment houses, who said they agree to assist in home financing scheme, so buyers will have some leeway on obtaining loan approvals,” Zuraida told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

She was responding to a question from MP Fong Kui Lun (Pakatan Harapan-Bukit Bintang) on measures taken by the ministry to address the problem of unsold houses, which is mainly due to difficulties faced by buyers in obtaining assistance for loans from banks and financial institutions.

Zuraida’s statement has echoed Glomac Bhd group MD and CEO Datuk Seri Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor’s earlier proposal to have a home-ownership campaign, similar to the one initiated in the late 1990s, that had helped reduce the overhang inventory, particularly for residential properties priced RM500,000 and below.

Fateh Iskandar, who is also the immediate past president of Rehda, said among the offers during the campaign included a waiver of stamp duty, lenient lending rules and other favourable terms.

BNM is also working to ease housing loan requirements for home buyers to address the overhang problem.

The central bank has been tasked to prepare a guideline that would allow for the relaxation of home lending schemes.

According to the National Property Information Centre’s recent first half of 2018 (1H18) property overhang data, Malaysia’s properties overhang is at an all-time high of 29,227 units valued at RM17.2 billion.

This is a 40% year-on-year increase against the 20,876 units, valued at RM12.3 billion, recorded over the first six months last year. In ringgit terms, it was a 40.6% increase.

Meanwhile, the latest data from the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) released last week showed that 4,539 homes entered overhang status in 1H18 — an 18.3% rise over six months. JPPH said the rise is attributed to slow market absorption.

It said the majority of the overhang units were condominiums/apartments priced between RM500,000 and RM1 million. Overhang is defined as a property that remains unsold nine months after it was completed.