Not enough affordable houses to go around, says Johari

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 10 Sep 2016

PETALING JAYA: The low supply of affordable houses despite high demand for them is the reason why many Malaysians are still without a house, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Ghani.

He said the problem was not due to a lack of financial institutions willing to provide loans or about giving moneylender licences to developers so that they could provide loans of up to 100% to property buyers.

“We have enough banks in the country, more than 20 banks of various sizes whether conventional, Islamic, local or foreign.

“They are properly regulated by Bank Negara and our financial system is resilient and strong, so there is no question of them being able to give out loans,” Johari told The Star yesterday.

He said the issue was that most of the housing units do not match what most Malaysians want, which are affordable houses costing RM200,000 or below.

“The issue now is that many people are applying for loans to buy houses which are as affordable as they can find, but the price is, say, RM300,000 when their salary only qualifies them to buy property valued at RM200,000, so there is a mismatch,” he said.

Johari said developers would not be stopped from giving out loans but noted that most of them were still selling their products based on the progress payment scheme, where they were paid according to the progress of their projects.

“Tell me, which developer has the ability to go and finance their buyers, when most can’t even do the build-and-then-sell system?

“This shows that no developer in Malaysia can afford to do this scheme of lending money to their buyers,” he added.

Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar on Thursday said eligible developers could apply for moneylender licences to provide loans of up to 100% to property buyers.

The licence will be issued by the Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Ministry under the Moneylenders Act 1951 (Amend­ment) 2011.

Asked about the Government’s strategy to address the problem, Johari said the Government was working on a scheme to help bridge the financing gap for PR1MA housebuyers.

“Let’s say a PR1MA house costs RM250,000 but the buyer only qualifies for a loan of RM200,000. We are discussing with four major local banks to try and come up with a scheme where the Government can play a role to fill this gap,” he said.

Johari said he was still working out the details of the scheme with the banks and PR1MA to ensure that the scheme will be sustainable.

Details of the scheme would be announced during the tabling of Budget 2017 in Parliament on Oct 21, he said.

The Government has also asked state governments to look into several matters, including allocating enough land for affordable housing, according to him.

However, some state governments were still unable to provide enough land in locations that would be acceptable to buyers, he said.

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