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Affordable homes prices to be based on locality, average household income

Source from: New Straits Times, Original Article


KUALA TERENGGANU: The Housing and Local Government Ministry will ensure that in the future, the prices of affordable homes will be based on factors such as locality and the area’s average household income.

Its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the government is sensitive to the needs of those who cannot afford affordable homes, which are priced beyond their means.

She said the government has drawn up the National Affordable Homes Policy (DRMM), which is a continuation of the National Housing Policy 2018 – 2025 earlier this year, to ensure that affordable homes are reasonably priced.

“The DRMM aims to ensure that the prices of affordable homes are no more than three times the median of the particular area. The ministry will gauge this based on three times the average household income of the area.

“The DRMM will control the prices of affordable homes by way of locality and the conditions of the local community. For example, the prices of houses in Kuala Lumpur will definitely be different from Kuala Terengganu’s. As it is, house prices also vary from district to district,” she told reporters after visiting the KT Sentral site here today.

Zuraida said international standards which had categorised Malaysian homes as “seriously unaffordable” had taken into account the average prices of existing homes which had been developed since the 1980s and 1990s.

“Their study drew upon the average (prices) of existing homes. But as we are all aware, there was a glut of construction of expensive houses in the 80s and 90s.

“This led to the average prices of homes being categorised as being seriously unaffordable,” she said.

Zuraida said that currently, there are more than 200 units of affordable homes nationwide, priced under RM300,000, which have been completed but remain unsold, while 14,000 other affordable homes are under construction.

She said apart from the perceived high prices of houses, another factor behind the difficulty faced by consumers is the problems with obtaining loans.

As such, a new home ownership scheme, known as RTO or ‘rent to own’ introduced by the government, will help potential house owners secure bank loans.

“We have found that many people are unable to secure financing. That is why the 2020 Budget saw the government approving a RM10 billion allocation, which will be provided by financial institutions with government backing, via a loan guarantee of 30 per cent of RM3 billion via the RTO programme.

“This will make it easier for those who have steady income but do not have payslips to buy houses. The scheme will enable those with good financial records over the last five years to take out housing loans,” she said.

Last week, Bank Negara Malaysia said houses in Malaysia were deemed “seriously unaffordable” by international standards.

BNM’s Financial Surveillance Department director Qaiser Iskandar Anwarudin said according to the median multiple methodology developed by Demographia International and recommended by the World Bank, United Nations and Harvard University, a house was deemed affordable if it was priced not more than three times of annual household income.

He said the affordability (in Malaysia) has deteriorated with the median multiple affordability (the ratio of house price to households’ annual income) rising to 4.8 times in 2016 from 3.9 times in 2012.

He said most Malaysians could not afford to buy newly-launched houses with an average price stood at RM417,262 while the maximum affordable house price nationwide was at RM282,000.

Qaiser Iskandar said 73 per cent of unsold properties in Malaysia were not affordable with Johor recording the highest number of unsold houses followed by Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak and Pulau Pinang.

However, he said the situation of the property market in the country had improved with house prices going down at a moderate pace.

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