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Feeling the Property Pulse at MAPEX

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Datuk Seri Wira Chor (Center) opens the final Klang Valley edition of MAPEX.

From Left: Datuk Seri Michael Yam, President of REHDA; Datuk Seri Wira Chor, Minister of Housing and Local Government; and Datuk Ng Seing Liong, Organizing Chairman of MAPEX Malaysia 2011.

Datuk Seri Wira Chor (Center) opens the final Klang Valley edition of MAPEX.

Text : Lawrence Julius

With the year coming to an end, the nation braces itself for what might be an uncertain 2012 ahead with unresolved economic crisis in the US and Euro zone debt problems proving corrosive to the global economy. Malaysia’s housing industry is in a way lucky as it is domestically driven, with insignificant speculation elements. New initiatives could prove vital in shaping the nation’s growth tomorrow. So what’s the latest in the sphere?

During the opening ceremony of the Klang Valley Malaysia Property Exposition (MAPEX) on 21 October, Datuk Seri Michael Yam, President of REHDA highlighted his concerns over the current economic conditions. “Malaysia, despite enjoying 7.2% growth last year, is showing signs of slight softening, to record 4.4% growth in the first half. We are expected to chart 5% to 5.5% growth for the year 2011,” said Datuk Seri Michael.     

Present to officiate the opening of MAPEX, Datuk Seri Wira Chor Chee Heung, Minister of Housing and Local Government, said that housing and property could play a key role in generating economic growth and the government will seek to improve industry conditions. One initiative by the government is an effort to curb the rising cost of living affecting the low- to middle-income group; with the allocation of RM443 million under the Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) in the 2012 Budget for the construction of 8,000 units of affordable houses for sale and 7,000 for rental.

The government has also set up the 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA) to develop and maintain quality homes on government-owned land, starting with plots in Sungai Besi and Sungai Buloh in the Klang Valley. “A total of 7,700 PR1MA houses will be built in 2012 with prices lower than prevailing market prices. In addition, a 100% stamp duty waiver on loan instruments will be given to purchasers of PR1MA houses,” Datuk Seri Wira explained. Maximum loan eligibility for those looking to buy homes under the PR1MA scheme was also proposed to be increased from RM300,000 to RM400,00 in the 2012 Budget. 

Act Amendments

In terms of new amendments, the Housing Development Act (Act 118) and its regulations according to Datuk Seri Wira, will be reviewed to address key issues in the sector, particularly those concerning delayed and abandoned cases. In tandem, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government will also be looking to replace the existing Building and Common Property Act 2007 with a new Strata Management Act as a move to overcome problems faced in stratified properties. One of the issues to be tackled in this proposed act is the waiting period residents go through before receiving their strata title; which currently takes approximately six months. This will also help quicken the hand-over process from developer to the management corporation. Datuk Seri Wira also points out that there will be a clearer guideline in the new act to tackle uncertainties regarding the management of common areas between residents and developers. 

Effects of new amendments concerning the real estate sector have also been felt in this edition of MAPEX; with the newly increased ceiling price of the My First Home scheme from RM220,000 to RM400,000, attracting first-time home buyers. Another new implementation to bear in mind relates to the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) rate; proposed to be increased from the existing 5% to 10% for the first two years, in an effort to curb speculation.

Careful consideration must be taken before implementation to make sure the people and the industry are not jeopardized. So hopefully, these and future steps to be taken will prove an upgrade to the property industry and steer it away from a possibility of an economic turmoil.

The Malaysia Property Exposition (MAPEX) closes its final Klang Valley edition of the year and prepares for next year’s line-up. The three day event organized by the Real Estate Housing Developer’s Association (REHDA) from 21 – 23 October attracted prospective buyers with the array of properties on showcase at the Midvalley Convention Centre.