Govt extends HOC to end of December

It is hoped that the extension will allow more people to own a home and put the housing industry on the right track

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & SULHI KHALID / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government has extended the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) 2019 period by another six months to December this year, following requests made by both buyers and developers to prolong the duration of the sales campaign.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (picture) announced in a statement yesterday that the campaign has been well-received since its launch in January.

“I was informed that there were strong suggestions and requests among homebuyers and developers to extend the campaign until December 2019 from the original target of June 2019.

“Therefore, I would like to inform that the period of the HOC, which should end June this year, is extended until December 2019. Hopefully this extension will allow a lot more people in the country to own a home and help put the housing industry on the right track,” Zuraida said.

Last Friday, LBS Bina Group Bhd urged the government to extend the campaign in order to allow first-time homebuyers to buy properties at discounted price.

According to LBS Bina MD Tan Sri Lim Hock San, the group managed to secure a two-month (May and June) sales figure of RM290 million due to the campaign.

“We are quite happy with the sales achieved. It is a good incentive for homebuyers. And we urge the government to extend the HOC to the end of the year to encourage home purchasing,” he said to reporters after the group’s AGM meeting.

“This is not only our wish but I’m sure it’s other property developers’ wish as well,” he added.

The HOC 2019 has been primed to help developers boost sales, help consumers own homes and reduce the property overhang faced by the sector.

The government-backed campaign was initiated to increase homeownership among Malaysians and address the property overhang, which hit 43,211 units sold amounting to a value of RM29.47 billion as of the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18).

During the campaign period, local homebuyers will enjoy stamp-duty waivers for the purchase of residential units registered under the HOC.

For properties registered under this campaign, the stamp duties on instruments of transfer for properties priced up to RM1 million and for loan agreements of up to RM2.5 million will be waived. Homebuyers will also get a minimum 10% price discount from developers.

The campaign features properties of various price ranges, divided into three categories: Homes below RM300,000; homes priced between RM300,001 and RM500,000; and homes priced at RM500,001 and above.

It was previously reported that the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) had hoped the HOC 2019 would deliver sales of up to RM4 billion.

Rehda president Datuk Soam Heng Choon said during the previous HOCs, which were held in 1998-1999 and again in 2002, developers recorded sales of around RM2 billion to RM3 billion.

Zuraida also expects the HOC will help clear off more than 50% of the houses offered by state-owned company 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA).

In April, she said almost 25% of the houses under PR1MA’s projects — both completed and under construction — showcased at the HOC were already taken up.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has confirmed the extension and hopes that the move will see an increase in the level of homeownership and help reduce the number of unsold houses.

Citing a report from the National Property Information Centre, the number of unsold residential properties in Malaysia rose to 32,313 units valued at RM19.86 billion as of 4Q18.

This reflects the long-standing issues of homeownership, as well as the mismatch between the supply and demand of houses in the market. Compared to 4Q17, this represents a 30.6% increase in the volume of residential units unsold and 27% increase in the value of residential units.

Lim said apart from the HOC incentives, the government has also offered benefits for first-home purchase which includes house price stamp-duty exemption for sale and purchase agreements completed between Jan 1, 2019, and Dec 31, 2020.