Developers hoping for extra stimulus measures in Johor Budget to spur sector

Johor’s housing sector has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. — Filepic

JOHOR BARU: Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) hopes there will be good news at the tabling of Johor Budget 2021 on Thursday.

Johor Rehda branch chairman Wong Boon Lang said it could help to stimulate and boost the state’s housing sector which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said next year’s state budget should include measures tailored for the housing sector in Johor, apart from what was announced at the tabling of national Budget 2021 on Nov 6.

“Matters pertaining to housing policies are under the state’s jurisdiction, ’’ Wong said when contacted.

He hoped the state government would consider increasing the threshold for those wanting to purchase their first home costing not more than RM500,000 as announced under next year’s national budget.

Under Budget 2021, buyers of residential properties will enjoy full stamp duty exemption for the transfer of ownership and loan agreement for the purchase of a first home below RM500,000.

This exemption applies to purchase agreements from January 2021 to December 2025.

Wong said the threshold for residential properties could be increased from the RM500,000 cap under Budget 2021, up to RM2.5mil for Johor.

Wong says now is the best time to buy property, especially those buying as investment.Wong says now is the best time to buy property, especially those buying as investment.

“Johor has the highest number of property overhang in the country and the move will help to reduce unsold residential properties in the state, ’’ he explained.

He opined that the move to waive full stamp duty for the transfer of ownership and loan agreement would not succeed if first-time buyers fail to secure housing loans from financial institutions.

“Financial institutions should treat those seeking loans on a case by case basis as the buyers have different financial capabilities, ’’ he said.

Wong said Johor’s property sector was different compared to the Klang Valley.

He said Johor-based developers also catered to Singaporean buyers and Malaysians working in the island republic.

He said while the number of residential property buyers in Johor, especially in Iskandar Malaysia, would likely decrease due to Covid-19 and ensuing economic slowdown, there were also buyers with surplus cash.

“Now is the best time to buy property, especially those buying as investment, ’’ he said.

He urged the Johor government to address outdated housing policies in the state fast as the move would help stimulate the property market.

Wong said the main concern among developers in Johor was unsold bumiputra property units, highlighting that this matter had been troubling developers for years.

He said feedback from 163 Johor Rehda members showed there were about 5,000 unsold bumiputra units to date, mostly residential properties.

“If the state authorities can speed up the release of unsold bumiputra units, it will help us tremendously especially amid current economic uncertainties, ’’ he said, adding all stakeholders needed to work together for the benefit of Johor’s economy.

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