Budget 2021: Government efforts on home ownership receive applause but experts raise caution

In the recent Budget 2021, Putrajaya has announced stamp duty exemption for first homes up to RM500,000 and has allocated RM1.2 billion for the provision of homes for low-income house buyers.

The government has also allocated RM500 million for 14,000 PPR units, RM 315 million for 3,000 Rumah Mesra Rakyat, RM125 million to repair dilapidated low-cost homes and RM310 million for civil service homes.

The government will also work with selected financial institutions for a rent-to-own scheme involving 5,000 PR1MA homes.

In response to the allocations, Khor Chap Jen, President and Chief Executive Officer of S P Setia has applauded government efforts to help those who are in the B40 category to own a home.

“We hope that the government will consider to take over the responsibility to build affordable housing for the group as this will enable a more cohesive, consistent and efficient macro implementation and results while the developers can concentrate fully on the free market housing. Developers can contribute to a fund for this purpose,” he said.

S P Setia is also urging the government to consider extending the RTO scheme beyond PR1MA as more eligible homebuyers will be able to benefit from this effort.

IDEAS senior fellow, Carmelo Ferlito told BusinessToday that he did not believe the government should have supported the property market more in the Budget. “Contrary to other industries, the property segment was suffering before the lockdown because of its natural cyclical dynamic.”

“The industry should find its way out of that cycle by itself, not with government support,” he added.

He further said, “What I see is the ongoing attempt to push-up home-ownership. Even before the health crisis, I was advocating against such a rhetoric, as home ownership is high in Malaysia at 76.9% and household debt currently at 85% of GDP

Under the current circumstances, we should even nudge against further debt, as the economic future is very uncertain.”

Sheldon Fernandez, Country Manager of PropertyGuru Malaysia has welcomed the move to exempt full stamp duty for properties priced RM500,000 and below.

According to PropertyGuru’s recent survey, 81 percent of Malaysians intend to purchase a house by end of 2021.

As for the aid towards the B40 segment, Fernandez says, “With good intentions to help both the B40 and low income households, it is imperative to note that the right homes in the right locations need to be developed to ease the overhang that is currently being faced by the market.”

NAPIC revealed that the Malaysian property overhang climbed 3.3 percent, with houses priced between RM200,000-RM300,000 leading the supply.

Property developer, Mah Sing has also welcomed the announcement of full stamp duty exemption on the instruments of transfer and agreement for the purchase of first residential properties worth up to RM500,000, highlighting that the move will definitely help to boost home ownership within the next five years.

However while the implementation of the Developer Interest Bearing Scheme (DIBS) was not announced in Budget 2021, Mah Sing hopes for the government to reconsider the scheme in the future.

“Mah Sing is open and ready to discuss with the government on the matters with other relevant stakeholders and will look forward for a win-win outcome which will benefit all parties,” said Mah Sing Founder and Group Managing Director, Leong Hoy Kum.

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