Establish central agency to oversee affordable housing - Rehda

Last update: 04/04/2018

PETALING JAYA, April 4 (Bernama) -- The Real Estate and Housing Developers's Association (Rehda) has called for the establishment of a central agency to oversee affordable housing matters.

President, Datuk Seri Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor said the agency would be able to advise developers in the private and public sectors on building the right product with the right price, location and timing, as well as oversee rent-to-own (RTO) schemes.

"We need to do more to help people own houses. Private developers probably have deep pockets to build affordable houses, but the smaller developers may need incentives," he told a media briefing on the Property Industry Survey in Second Half (2H) 2017 and the market outlook for 2018.

He said end-financing remained as the main challenge and the association hoped the government would come up with ways to ease the people's burden in terms of financial assistance, as the highest loan rejection were housing loan applications for houses which costRM500,000 and below.

At the same time, Fateh Iskandar also hoped that the government would help ease the developers' cost of doing business, which affected their cash flows.

"There is a need for a holistic approach, and we have also asked for the government to lower or waive development charges and the conversion of land premium cost, as well as construction and compliance costs which are unnecessary for developers, among other things," he said.

Since the Malaysian population is expected to rise to 33 million this year, he said the country was still short of three million affordable houses, based on an estimated requirement for 8.3 million houses with four persons per home, as stated by the National Property Information Centre.

He said the government was in the midst of building about one million affordable houses, and some four million were being constructed by private developers.

Meanwhile, Fateh Iskandar said Rehda and other stakeholders would be conducting a thorough study to address the oversupply of retail units in malls and offices in commercial buildings.

"We have advised our members to always be mindful and do a proper research before deciding on their next commercial project."

"However, we have no final say about their projects," he said, alluding to Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report 2017, which stated that if the properties were left unchecked, it would pose a risk to macroeconomic and financial stability.

Fateh Iskandar added that Rehda also needed big data for the property industry in the country as the information would help to better coordinate the demand and supply.