Lowering threshold to clear unsold properties should not detract from focus on affordable housing -- PAM

Last update: 12/10/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 -- The Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) says although lowering the price threshold for foreign buyers to RM 600,000  is a good short-term measure to clear existing unsold properties, it should not detract developers from their recent focus on affordable housing for the B40 and M40 segments.

When tabling the 2020 Budget yesterday, Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng announced that to reduce the supply overhang of condominiums and apartments amounting to RM8.3 billion in the second quarter of 2019, the Government will lower the threshold on high-rise property prices in urban areas for foreign ownership from RM1 million to RM600,000 in 2020.

“We also hope this will not detract developers from their recent focus on affordable housing for our B40 and M40 segments,” its president Lilian Tay said in a statement.

PAM also commended the extension of Cagamas and Bank Simpanan Nasional’s (BSN) youth housing scheme for another two years to assist the youth to buy their first home, saying this will encourage developers to rethink their housing products and diversify further into this segment to match the government’s commitment to building more affordable housing.

“PAM urges that BSN extend a similar first-home ownership incentive not just to youth but to single-income households in the affordable housing segment,” she said.

PAM, she said, also looks forward to the many new or revived development projects such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Bandar Malaysia township, upgrading of airports, Carey Island development to make Port Klang a maritime centre and cargo logistics hub, and new sports facilities, among others.

“We hope the procurement for these important national projects will be through an open design competition process that PAM can help facilitate, to open up opportunities for our many smaller and large Malaysian architect firms to further upskill and build capacity,” she said.

Many of these new projects are valuable opportunities to create new national icons to showcase and promote Malaysian talent and design professionals, said Tay.

“The creative economy must be engendered locally besides the proposed customised incentives of RM1 billion annually for five years, to bring in Fortune 500 and “global unicorns” to spearhead the creative economy,” she added.