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National Housing Policy: What’s the focus?

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When it comes to the property market, the 4Ps (People, Price, Policy and Preference) will always be in focus. When the issue is a national one, then the P (Policy) comes into focus. This is the only way to get both the public and private sector to work together for the benefit of many. National Housing Policy (DRN) is thus that policy. Introduced in 1957, the National Housing Policy has been reviewed four times over the years to focus on different challenges from time to time. It has now been reviewed for the current challenge of helping Malaysians own a roof over their heads without breaking their pockets.

Article in Edgeprop.my here. According to the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT), it has worked hard for the past 4 months to come up with the National Housing Policy (Dasar Perumahan Negara) 2018–2025. B40 (bottom 40% income group) will be a main focus for the policy for the next 5 years. Several initiatives will help this group such as the National Home Ownership Campaign, National Community Policy (aimed at improving the living environment of low cost housing residents) and National Affordable Housing Council which is chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The policy will focus on solving the country’s supply and demand mismatch problem and help low income earners to own a home.

KPKT minister Zuraida Kamaruddin revealed that one of the most effective way is the Rent-to-Own (RTO) scheme offering buyers the option to rent their home for five years and apply for end-financing to purchase it in the sixth year. She said, “Through RTO, the low income earners could build up their credit scores as they have to pay rental every month. When it comes to the sixth year, the payment record could be one of the supporting documents [to reinforce] their credibility to apply for a mortgage.” (Yes, I agree too, instead of making some of these low income earners get a mortgage which they may not actually qualify for. Let’s keep home buyers at the prime level yeah. )

Beyond that, she shared that KPKT will also start to research and review the Build-then-sell policy this year, which could reduce the risk to property buyers. There is also now a clear guideline for developers under the Affordable Housing Policy. This is to ensure quality affordable homes for the B40 group. The specifications include built-ups of not less than 900 sq ft and types of facilities and infrastructure that need to be included in the development. There will also be focus on improving the living environment of the residents in low-cost public housing via National Community Policy which involves the private sector to create a healthy and vibrant community with various social building programs. Zuraida also said that with a clear direction under the National Housing Policy, the Pakatan Harapan government is confident it will achieve its target of offering one million homes to Malaysian over two terms of governing. She shared that she was confident that within 2019, a total of 100,000 affordable homes could be built as well as offered under the RTO programme. Article in Edgeprop.my here.

As a concerned Malaysian, I will continue to follow the development as well as progress of the DRN and report to all yeah. I do think many of those currently staying in units which are lesser than favourable condition today will opt for these new units or the RTO programme too. Thus, perhaps there should also be a focus as well as approved budget on how to make the current low cost homes become even more liveable. Perhaps the ministry could start identifying these older developments (low cost / affordable) and ensure more Malaysians benefit from it too. I seriously believe that when both (older and building new) are in focus, then more Malaysians would benefit and not just those who are going to buy / move into those built this year. Perhaps someone from KPKT should read this article too. Happy understanding.

written on 29 Jan 2019

Next suggested article: To reduce unsold units, stop building unaffordable ones

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