Comments On Budget 2020: Property

Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) COMMENTS:

HOUSING

  • We see lowering of price threshold for foreign buyers to RM600,000 as a good short term measure, to clear existing unsold properties. However we also hope this will not detract developers from their recent focus on affordable housing for our B40 and M40 segment. PAM
  • PAM commends the extension of Cagamas and BSN’s youth housing scheme for another 2 years to assist the youth to buy their first home – this will encourage developers to rethink their housing products and diversify further into this segment to match the government’s commitment to build more affordable housing.
  • PAM urges that BSN will extend a similar first-home ownership incentive not just to youth but to single-income households in the affordable housing segment.

 DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

  • PAM as the institute of Architects, look forward to the many new or revived developments projects such as rail transportation project (ECRL), Bandar Malaysia township, upgrading of airports, Carey Island development to make Port Klang maritime center and cargo logistics hub, new sports facilities, etc.

We hope the procurement of these important national projects will be through open design competitions process that PAM can help facilitate, to open up opportunities for our many smaller and large architect Malaysian firms to further up-skill and build capacity.  With the downturn of the past few years, many architect firms are facing challenges to retain staff and to enhance wages – this will help stem the continuing loss of talent to overseas.

  • Many of these new projects are valuable opportunities to create new national icons to showcase and promote Malaysian talent and design professionals. The creative economy must be engendered locally besides the proposed customized incentives of RM1 billion annually for 5 years, to bring in Fortune 500 and “global unicorns”  to spearhead the creative economy.
  • PAM commends the attention and large allocation of RM10.9 billion for rural development and hope that in this strong development thrust into our rural towns and villages, will be guided by Sustainable Development Goals at the local level.  This must be set out in the development and procurement criteria.

SDG INITIATIVES

  • PAM applauds the initiative to foster greater engagement of MPs with local communities to identify and run grassroot projects to address Sustainable Development Goals at the local level, though the RM10 million allocation can be much higher.
  • We hope PAM as an institute of Architects, will also be included on the Special Selection Committee to drive this effort as Architects and Planners are key players in the implementation of SDG at all levels of development, whether large mega projects or smaller grassroots and rural projects.

DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE

  • PAM applauds the Government initiative to improve the digital infrastructure of the country. We hope some allocation will go towards helping CIDB and PAM to develop the Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) platform for the construction industry, which will help boost efficiency and productivity as part of construction industry transformation for IR 4.0.   Investment in IBS and IDD can help decrease the reliance on cheap foreign labour.

Rahim and Co Comments:

Has neutral outlook on Budget, cautions potential home buyers to not take on too much debt.

With regards to the introduction of the rent-to-own (RTO) scheme, Siva Shanker CEO of Rahim & Co International says it is a good scheme as it will help more potential homebuyers to own a home.

The RTO scheme is for the purchase of first home up to RM500,000. Under this scheme, the applicant can rent the property for up to five years but after the first year, the tenant has the option to purchase the property based on the priced fixed at the time the tenancy agreement was signed.

“The tenant has about a year to decide to purchase the property and be locked in a time bubble, which I think is a good thing,” Siva says.

A full exemption of stamp duty is also provided on transfer instruments between developers and financial institutions as well as between the latter and the prospective home buyers.

As regards to the Youth Housing Scheme, Siva says it is a good move on by the government. The scheme is extended until December 31, 2021 will see a 10 percent loan guarantee offered by Cagamas to enable borrowers to obtain full financing and a RM200 monthly instalment assistance for the first two years limited to 10,000 home units.

However, Siva questions the viability of such schemes, this may lead to some home buyers burdened with more debt than they could possibly take on.

As to the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), Siva says the abolishment of the tax is more in favour if the property is held for more than five years, but concedes that revising the base year to January 2013 is not a bad move as prices of home from 2013 to today did not rise dramatically as compared to the earlier years.

“I feel that true blue property investors should not be taxed but property speculators should be instead,” Siva adds.

Siva observes that all these stimulus announced during the Budget would be beneficial for everyone in the long-run as they would gradually kick start the slowing property sector and by large, the economy of the country.

 

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