INDUSTRY DESPERATELY SEEKING INCENTIVES TO REGAIN PULSE FOR THE MARKET
Representing the largest group of developers in the country, the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) recently released a wish list for the upcoming Budget 2018, proposing a range of measures to address housing affordability, exemption of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and the cost of construction materials.
Among the requests from Rehda are specific moves from the government that could help spark more activity in the sluggish property market, such as the exemption of stamp duty and more incentives for the use of industrialised building systems.
To better facilitate home ownership, Rehda also suggests that the disbursement of the 10% downpayment from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) be channeled directly to developers, without buyers having to pay the amount from their own savings or other sources.
Additionally, it proposed that the MyDeposit scheme be continued, but it should also offer a higher allocation to benefit more first-time buyers who are still facing an environment of high entry costs.
The MyDeposit scheme was first introduced in Budget 2016. The scheme provides an allocation of RM200 million to address the issue of first time house buyers struggling to come up with initial deposit funds.
Currently, there is also a 100% stamp duty waiver for residential properties priced below the RM300,000 mark, which was put in place during Budget 2017.
While Rehda applauds the stamp duty waiver, it also hopes that the government will look to expand this waiver to include properties that are in a higher cost threshold.
With consistently rising development costs, house prices and inflationary pressures, Rehda wishes to point out that the definition for “affordable” has broadened.
Many housing units, especially in urban areas, surpass the RM300,000 mark – including those which are deemed start-up or entry level homes.
Widening the reach of the stamp duty waiver would provide a more effective incentive for home seekers if it was relevant to a larger group of buyers.
Budget 2018 will be tabled in Parliament later this month on Oct 27.