There was an article by Chang Kim Loong, the secretary general of the National House Buyers Association (HBA). For those who have read some of my articles, I may not agree with everything he has to say about the property market. However, I read an article in The Star (dated 30th May 2015) which I think is worth sharing. For those who wants to read the full article, it is here: Helping the Poor own houses. Otherwise, a summary as follows.
First time home buyers often face many hardships in owning their own home. They include:
Information on affordable housing. Sufficient information about all the whereabouts of these housing schemes for the poor must be made available. There should be a one stop database for all projects, regardless stats, federal or private. This allows everyone to know their options and the financing options available.
Single ‘umbrella’ to coordinate distribution and availability. Current requirements of low cost housing may no longer be applicable. Has anyone made a last count of the units needed? Are there way too many wrong types of units being built? Why can’t there be a single ‘umbrella’ data bank of such units being built, location and pricing? “Build the right product at the right pricing and the right numbers.”
Balancing the risks. Buying and owning is riskier than renting. When buyers are unable to pay for their units, are there help available? A look at the auction properties would reveal that many low cost units are auctioned off for less than half of its original price. What happens to the families of these units? Where would they end up living? The authorities must do best to ensure all these buyers have sufficient financial management skills.
Counselling programmes. AKPK (Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Credit) was set up to help those with debt issues. How about a similar programme for home buyers? Homeownership education can be in the form of manuals to be handed out, advice and information through telephone and even face to face counselling. These must be provided before a buyer signs the purchase contract. Truth is, simply getting them a home may not be enough as they may lose it in the near future.
Personally, I feel that everyone should own their own home. In fact the home sizes must correspond to the size of the family. Many times, one reason for the poor remaining poor is also because their homes were never conducive for study, for living and even for a harmonious family relationship. To me, a strong family is always a basic foundation for anyone to be successful in future. There are many degree-less successful people but there are not many successful people who managed to do so without the support of their family. Please, let the poor own their own houses.
written on 30 May 2015
next suggested article: Housing affordability getting worst: 2014