The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) is concerned for the 25,000 agents and negotiators in the property sector whom are under tremendous challenge and is pleading the government to take steps to help during the Covid-19 movement control order (MCO).
MIEA President Lim Boon Ping said the MCO has brought the real estate fraternity to a “grinding stop”, as they are unable to help house buyers take vacant possession of their properties, do any viewings and physically list any properties for sale or rental.
“The agents and negotiators, like other Malaysians, are affected morally and financially, many of them are commission agents who do not have a basic salary,” Lim said.
In a statement, he said that they are also concerned that the market has taken a shift and that new strategies must be placed to help balance the shift.
MIEA hopes the government will consider to place the collection of sales and services tax (SST) for real estate transactions in abeyance until the end of the year to help sellers from having to incur additional costs.
“We also hope that the real property gains tax could be be zerorised till the end of the year to help boost the already soft real estate market, ” Lim said, adding that it could stimulate the market and encourage investment later.
In additon, Lim hopes the government will allow the transfer of 10 percent of the funds in Account 1 of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to Account 2 to provide liquidity for the purchase of homes or assistance in repayment of loans after the 6-month moratorium.
MIEA has in their budget proposal last year suggested for the option of Interest Only Loans for the purchase of properties.
Perhaps this would be the right time for this to be reconsidered especially after the 6 months moratorium as a longer-term measure for first time house buyers
MIEA commends the government for coming up with a stimulus package that leaves no one behind.
“We seek the government to consider the benefits made available for e-hailing and subsidies for income earners less than RM2,000 and household below RM4,000 will also be automatically extended to the Registered Estate Agents, Probationary Estate Agents and Real Estate Negotiators registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Malaysia.”
To avoid retrenching staff and keep the 1,300 registered real estate firms afloat, Lim hopes a segment of the Special Relief Facility for Covid-19 also be dedicated to them.
MIEA also requests all real estate portal companies which the real estate fraternity have fully supported throughout the years to give favorable incentives and cost benefit packages for agents to boost their advertising spend which in-turn can directly help to market properties for their clients.
Lim propose that a relief should be provided in that all Continuous Professional Development Programme (CPD) and Continuous Development Programme (CDP) programmes be deferred to 2021 and that all the Real Estate Negotiators (RENs) and Real Estate Agents (REAs) who at this point of time are registered or certified with Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEAP) are given automatic renewal to practice in 2021.
“This will go a long way for the 25,000 practitioners to get a relief of one year in order for everyone to continue working legally and help the practitioners financially,” he said.
Serene Sew, Secretary General of MIEA, said that the organisation had been proactive and has taken initiatives to help member agents by establishing an ‘MIEA Covid19 Helpline’ to those in need of assistance.
“MIEA has also launched a ‘MIEA-HOPE Program’ to help agents throughout the country on ways to assist their clients and on self-development,” she said.
These programmes are live and on zoom webinar and Facebook at 10am and 3pm daily until April 14, 2020.
MIEA is also supportive of the government for all the steps taken to rid Malaysia of the Covid-19 infection threat and would like to extend any help required by the authorities.