Budget 2023 encourages first-time homebuyers, say developers


DESPITE the welcoming Budget 2023, the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Malaysia will appeal to the government to consider extending the 75% stamp duty exemption to all buyers which will end on Dec 31, 2023. 

President Datuk NK Tong said the duty stamp is not just for first-time homebuyers as it will benefit a wider pool of buyers, especially the upgrades. 

“Given the myriad of issues facing the construction and property industry as outlined in our Budget 2023 memorandum to the government, we had also expected the government to take bigger measures to alleviate some of these concerns, such as the hike in building material prices and labour shortage issues which are adversely affecting the industry. 

“Despite this, Rehda pledges to continue our engagements and discussions with all industry players, and will still march ahead in our nation-building role of providing quality, affordable homes for the rakyat,” he said in a statement last Friday. 

He said Rehda places high hopes in the responsive, responsible and reformist agenda as defined in the Budget 2023 announcement in its biggest allocation yet at RM372.3 billion and he believed that this objective is obtainable. 

He said this will complement the previously announced 100% stamp duty exemption for the memorandum of transfer for houses priced RM500,000 and below until the end of 2025. 

“The government’s generosity to only impose an RM10 stamp duty for transfers made by way of gift between family members is also deeply appreciated and impact on the housing sector. 

“Currently, only transfers between husband and wife are given a full 100% exemption, while transfers between parent and child are given an exemption of 50%. 

“Future homebuyers will also benefit from the RM3 billion allocation for Syarikat Jaminan Kredit Perumahan Bhd for 12,000 borrowers, which will surely provide some relief to those without a fixed income, such as gig economy workers,” Tong added. 

Rehda also welcomed the government’s renewed commitment to the lower income group with RM367 million allocation for new Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) projects in Terengganu and Perlis and RM358 million for Program Rumah Mesra Rakyat. 

“Collectively, this will benefit more than 16,000 bottom 40% income group households. The measure to increase the allocation to construct and repair houses in rural areas from RM361 million to RM460 million, the increased ceiling rate to build new homes and the construction of 3,000 new homes. 

“This including in Sabah and Sarawak further proves the government’s dedication to ensuring quality living and homes for all Malaysians,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Mah Sing Group MD Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum said Budget 2023 saw practical measures which will not only make Malaysia a more attractive labour market but also put more disposable income in people’s pockets, which allows them to spend on value-accretive assets like properties. 

“The exemption of 75% of stamp duty on the sales and purchase agreements of properties priced between RM500,001 to RM1 million will also pique the interest of middle-to upper-income first-time homebuyers as well as those who are looking to upgrade their property,” he said in a statement last Friday. 

He added that the RM10 stamp duty for family property transfers will alleviate the burden on buyers while encouraging housing transactions in the property market, which will boost the housing market during this trying time. 

Meanwhile, the 2% reduction in the resident income tax rate for the majority of taxpayers will increase the cash flow in hand, easing the financial burden on individuals and allowing them to make long-term plans such as property purchases.