Written By : Imran Razib
KUALA LUMPUR: Problems related to housing need to be addressed in Budget 2022 to give the sector a much-needed boost, the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) said today.
It said government assistance was crucial to reduce the cost of doing business, and that this would subsequently help give a much-needed boost to the affordable housing segment.
“This has not been an easy task to undertake as housing falls under the jurisdiction of state governments – each one with its own set of guidelines and requirements that may sometimes go beyond those provided by the federal government,” a Rehda spokesman told Bernama.
The leading representative body for private property developers said such requirements have had an impact on the cost of development, and ultimately, the affordability of houses.
For development costs to remain sustainable, the government would need to take steps such as not imposing any new conditions or charges, or allowing utility companies and local authorities to raise rates, it said.
“The federal government should also push for standardised guidelines and rules to be adopted nationwide, especially those which could benefit all parties,” it said in its wish list for Budget 2022.
Rehda also hoped the government would extend measures to help the property industry, and introduce new ones to boost its recovery in light of the ongoing pandemic and its prolonged impact on the industry.
“The most urgent one needed by the industry currently is the amendment to the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Act 2020 with regards to contractual obligations to account for the movement control order (MCO) 2, MCO 3, Enhanced MCO, Full MCO and the national recovery plan phases 1 and 2.
“An amendment to the Act is important to protect the interests of affected parties over their inability to meet contractual obligations due to reasons which are beyond their control,” it said.
Rehda wants the government to take steps to stabilise building material prices, such as that for steel bars, which have been fluctuating in recent years.
“We also hope the government will review or abolish some measures introduced when the property market was at its peak, as these may not be relevant now.
“Additionally, the government could consider the downward revision of the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), with zero imposition for properties disposed of from the sixth year onwards, as well as the total removal of the Loan-To-Value (LTV) ratio for the purchase of third property onwards,” it said.
It also hopes the long outstanding issue of foreign workers in the construction industry would be resolved.
Meanwhile, the National Housebuyers Association secretary-general Chang Kim Loong wished that the government would reduce the income tax for individuals affected by Covid-19 and ensure that deserving individuals are given access to financing, especially first-time house buyers.
“We also hope that developers building affordable homes costing RM300,000 and below will be given incentives.
“Besides, we hope the government will repeal the RPGT which is currently at 5% for disposal of property held for more than five years, and increase the RPGT rates for disposal of third and subsequent properties,” said Chang.