Budget 2021 should focus on job creation and economic drivers, particularly for youth and first-time home seekers, says leading property portal and real estate listings site PropertyGuru.
It said these demographics have seen a surge in home ownership interest following the COVID-19 outbreak. However, despite a bevy of property incentives and deeply favourable lending environment, employment and income loss are hampering them from purchasing a property.
Given this, it believes economic drivers to foster job creation and income growth, along with digitalisation and PropTech incentives to enhance awareness of available initiatives and opportunities, should be key priorities for the property market.
“Property transaction volumes and values in Malaysia showcased V-shaped recovery curves prior to the recent CMCO. Along with marginal growth in the Malaysia House Price Index and PropertyGuru Malaysia Property Market Index, this underscores the resilience of the property market post-pandemic,” said PropertyGuru Malaysia’s Country Manager Sheldon Fernandez.
“The current incentives for property, as well as historically low interest rates and a wide range of purchaser and seller incentives, have been sufficient to promote market recovery for property to date,” he said.
However, he pointed out that while there remain numerous developer and industry asks, in terms of Budget provisions, the emphasis should be on economic recovery to ease the plight of the rakyat.
Top on the wishlist for most industry players is the expansion of Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) incentives, such as stamp duty and instrument of transfer exemptions, to the secondary market. There have also been calls to extend the HOC beyond its applicability period of up to 31 May 2021.
Property players are also hoping for an extension of maximum loan tenures and a review of the eligibility criteria for home loan applicants. The reduction of compliance costs surrounding development and the revision of foreign ownership programmes and thresholds have been cited as desirable.
“When it comes to reviewing loan tenures and eligibility criteria, financial institutions naturally have their own priorities in terms of risk management and minimising non-performing loans. However, developer concerns regarding compliance costs, if addressed, would promote ease of doing business,” said Fernandez.
He added that a review of foreign ownership guidelines may address overhang concerns to some extent, but is unlikely to be popular with Malaysian home seekers.
Financial aid initiatives to assist Malaysians during the COVID-19 outbreak have proven popular and timely, with 39% and 11% of PropertyGuru Malaysia Consumer Sentiment Study H2 2020 participants citing satisfaction with Bank Negara Malaysia’s financing moratorium and Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) respectively.
According to the same study, home seekers aged 22-29 years old and renters are most likely to buy property post-MCO, with 47% and 51% respectively sharing that the outbreak would not delay their potential purchases.
Moving forward, PropertyGuru said more emphasis should be placed on long-term job creation measures and economic drivers, particularly for younger demographics and the B40 income group.
“Meanwhile, a continued focus on digital incentives, such as grant funds for pilot projects on digital applications, particularly for PropTech players, would help foster innovation and uptake in the industry. This is particularly important in enhancing awareness of current initiatives, both in terms of property and other areas as well, such as reskilling opportunities,” said Fernandez.
Set to be tabled on Nov 6, Budget 2021 will outline the government’s estimated revenues and proposed spending for the coming year, while forecasting economic conditions and fiscal policy moving forward.