Rehda welcomes Budget 2019 measures to tackle housing woes

Rehda welcomes Budget 2019 measures to tackle housing woes
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 2): The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) Malaysia applauded the Government’s housing ownership initiatives in Budget 2019, which it said “will assist the rakyat to own their dream homes”.

The initiatives include stamp duty exemption for first home buyers, low-interest financing for low-cost housing purchases, and extension of housing loan tenure for public servants, said the association in a statement today.

“The stamp duty exemption on transfer instruments for the purchase of first house priced between RM300,001 to RM1 million announced by [Finance] Minister [Lim Guan Eng] is indeed a step in the right direction towards encouraging the rakyat to own properties, which is an effective wealth-creating instrument,” said the association.

“REHDA is committed to working together with the Government in making the campaign a success and we encourage all developers to launch their new products at a lower price in view of the above,” it said.

Meanwhile, Rehda also welcomed the move for Bank Negara Malaysia to introduce a 3.5% financing rate for those earning RM2,300 per month for the purchase of their first homes, priced up to RM150,000.

The fund, amounting to RM1 billion, will be made available at participating financial institutions, namely AmBank, CIMB, Maybank, RHB and Bank Simpanan Nasional for a two-year period or until the fund is depleted.

“We believe that such a move will open up more opportunities for this group to own a home,” said Rehda.

Also lauded was the two-year stamp duty waiver — till December 2020 — for the purchase of first homes, specifically on the first RM300,000 of properties priced up to RM500,000.

“The RM25 million allocation to Cagamas for mortgage guarantee for first time buyers earning up to RM5,000 monthly is expected to further accelerate the growth of the property market,” the association added.

Rehda also commended the Government’s plan to extend the loan tenure under the Public Sector Home Financing Board (LPPSA) by five years for both first (from 30 years to 35) and second financing (from 25 to 30).

The measure, it said, “is hoped to alleviate the financial pressure for those who are encumbered by high monthly loan instalment payments”.

Separately, Rehda hopes the Government “will continue to undertake the provision” of affordable housing, following the RM1.5 billion allocation announced for key affordable housing programmes.

It also agreed that the peer-to-peer lending initiative dubbed 'Property Crowdfunding' that will be regulated by the Securities Commission “will provide an alternative funding source for [the] purchase of homes”.

However, the association is concerned about the introduction of the 5% Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) for locals and permanent residents on properties disposed of on the sixth year and beyond from the date of purchase, and the increase to 10% from 5% previously — for non-residents and companies.

Also a concern, it said, is the increase on stamp duty for houses priced above RM1 million from 3% to 4%.

“These measures will definitely impact the industry especially in this trying time.

“Despite working hard in managing the nation’s budget deficit, we thank the Government for the due consideration given to some of our proposals, and for the allocations and incentives that will surely benefit all rakyat, the industry and the country as a whole,” it added.