DATUK JEFFREY NG
Real Estate Housing Developers Association (Rehda)
THE incentives provided for the property sector in the past few years were not given under the annual budgets but in the form of off-budget incentives under the various government stimulus packages.
These were immensely effective in boosting sales and the performance of the property sector. The government incentives provided to house buyers and the industry have actually been instrumental in stimulating economic growth, creating employment opportunities and boosting demand for residential properties.
The proactive policies and measures relating to the housing industry over the last few years have been appropriate and timely in boosting economic recovery.
For the property market, first-time house buyers and the lower income group have benefited from the government’s economic stimulus package. Perhaps stamp duty waiver can also be extended to residential properties costing more than RM180,000 to encourage a broader base of eligible buyers to purchase and thereby further stimulate the residential sector.
Rehda has also moved very fast to complement the government’s efforts.
We have planned some 12 property exhibitions nationwide in 2003, with seven implemented to date. Visitor numbers to these fairs have been higher and sales reported as a percentage of supply were also higher.
Generally, the stimulus package has generated the desired momentum in terms of consumer and business confidence. At the same time, prudent developers have also taken this opportunity to clear their housing stocks by giving further discounts or additional attractive freebies to house buyers.
To attract foreign buyers, it is in the interest of property companies to proactively promote Malaysia My Second Home (MMSH) scheme. Purchase of properties exceeding RM180,000 in lieu of the cash deposits requirement should be considered.
To encourage participants of MMSH to purchase properties, existing terms and conditions of eligibility must be further liberalised such as the length of visa stay permit extending up to 10 years without the need for annual validation or renewal after five years, provided that participants still own the property at all times.