Budget 2023 Wishlist: Call for The Government to Alleviate the Homeownership Struggles of Malaysians
By:Nura V Lorna

KUCHING: More initiatives needed to spur homeownership, said Country Manager for the Malaysian branch of PropertyGuru Group Sheldon Fernandez.

PropertyGuru Malaysia, the top property marketplace in Malaysia, said it would want to seize the opportunity to highlight important concerns with the government in advance of the introduction of Budget 2023 on October 7.

These, it said in a statement recently, will help further spur the property sector and provide Malaysians with the right support to embark on their homeownership journeys.

Sheldon noted that the upcoming Budget 2023 is themed on Strengthening Recovery, Facilitating Reforms Towards Sustainable Socio-Economic Resilience of Keluarga Malaysia, indicating a focus on elevating Malaysian’s wellbeing, income and social protection, and strengthening the nation’s resilience against future shocks, among others.

“We applaud the government’s move to launch the Malaysia Home Ownership Initiative (i-MILIKI) earlier this year, providing stamp duty exemption for first-time homebuyers.

Country Manager for the Malaysian branch of PropertyGuru Group Sheldon Fernandez

“However, based on recent findings in the Malaysia Property Market Report Q3 2022, rental demand made a massive 96.83 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) jump, indicating that potential homebuyers have resulted to renting in the interim, amid concerns of the rising inflation and Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) increase.

“Economic uncertainties on the back of the overall recovery in the endemic have made potential homebuyers put a pause on their homeownership plans, while many others have raised concerns over affordability,” he said.

Considering this, he said Budget 2023 should be aimed at making homeownership more attainable for lower to middle-income groups.

Affordability issues continue to loom as according to PropertyGuru’s Consumer Sentiment Study (CSS) H2 2022, he said that 51 percent of the respondents feel that they are unable to purchase a home without government assistance.

While 69 percent of the respondents have indicated plans to buy a home if the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) is revived, Sheldon added.

“Amid affordability issues, the HOC has been a great help for many first-time homebuyers and has successfully encouraged activity in a slowed property market.

“On top of its continuation, we also see that the rakyat may also benefit from the continuation of HOC extending its terms to the secondary market as well.

“This would help to create demand and further encourage homeownership, providing more options and price points for potential homebuyers if sub-sale properties were included.

“As part of this, we also hope that the government can consider reducing or removing the stamp duty for residential properties of RM500,000 and below for all Malaysians – to further boost the market,” he asserted.

On the same note, he said to address the property overhang issue and further promote an inclusive property market, now is an opportune time for the government to look into providing more schemes with offered subsidies for each home sold.

This, Sheldon said, can be done by giving an up-front subsidy to developers that is inclusive of buyers’ deposit fees and any qualifying payment amount needed to reduce the monthly repayments for homebuyers, and ultimately encouraging them to resume their delayed homeownership plans.

Meanwhile, amid post-pandemic recovery, he said the people were also struck by severe floods nationwide, negatively impacting thousands of Malaysians’ livelihoods, savings, and living quarters.

“While we hope that Budget 2023 will help alleviate the current challenges faced by Malaysians and the property sector, we must not lose sight of ongoing environmental issues, preparedness in facing natural disasters, and the equally crucial long-term agenda of promoting sustainable urban living as well.

“In accordance with the 12th Malaysia Plan, which prioritises green and resilient urban development, we urge the government to consider incentivising developers to adopt accredited green certification tools to promote green development in the country and continue to push different industries to do their part in becoming more environmentally friendly.

“While the impacts of global warming are irreversible, now is the time for organisations and individuals to come together to slow down the effect and reduce the risk of flash floods and landslides resulting from climate change.”

However, his side noted that the cost of constructing green buildings may be higher than traditional buildings, which might deter potential homebuyers from making the purchase.

Hence, he said the government may also consider providing stamp duty exemption for homebuyers who purchase green-certified properties to encourage demand.

“We look forward to the announcement of Budget 2023, which will take place on 7 October, and hope that these factors will be taken into consideration not only for the property sector but for the benefit of Malaysians and its future generations.

“We at PropertyGuru are ready to collaborate with the government and provide them with insights that can help drive Malaysia’s recovery and sustainable growth of the nation’s property market,” Sheldon added.

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