KUCHING: The state government plans to flood the market with affordable homes as part of efforts to bring down housing prices.
Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the government had to step in as the current situation was more of a sellers’ market rather than a buyers’ market.
“Because of this, the prices of houses have increased. Buyers have no option but to purchase at that price. The government has to intervene in order to shift it to a buyers’ market.
“In other words, we have to increase the supply of houses to give more options to buyers so that the price will come down,” he told reporters after chairing a state housing coordination committee meeting here yesterday.
In line with this, Abang Johari said the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) would become a main provider in developing affordable housing to help stabilise house prices.
He said HDC would construct 3,508 affordable homes in five towns and cities within the next three years while expanding its land bank throughout the state for future affordable housing projects.
He also said this was the right time to build more affordable homes in view of falling crude oil prices, which should lead to lower transport costs.
“If the price of oil comes down, surely the logistics cost should come down. Building materials like cement and tiles can be sourced locally, so it doesn’t involve currency fluctuation.
“If you work on these lines, this is the time house prices should come down,” he said.
Abang Johari also said a state housing development study was being undertaken by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to chart the future direction of housing development for the next 20 years up to 2035.
The study will look at the needs of housing in Sarawak based on demographics, employment and income levels.
It will be used to produce a housing masterplan to meet the needs of the state’s growing population.
On a related matter, he said his ministry would work with the State Secretary to identify sites where housing would be constructed for civil servants.
“This is a special scheme for civil servants and the details will be discussed with the State Secretary’s office. The location must be a place where the civil service feels comfortable,” he said, adding that two projects were set to be implemented in Kuching and Samarahan.