News: Action plans needed for more affordable homes: REHDA
To address the demand for affordable homes, the government needs to free a portion of its land now, before a worse scenario occurs, said Datuk Seri Michael KC Yam, President of Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (REHDA).
"As of now, Malaysia needs 180,000 homes a year but the industry can only supply 100,000 units. One of the many ways to counter this problem is to identify federal or state lands which can be converted into affordable housing schemes," said Yam.
"We need to shift development focus of government-owned land to affordable housing, instead of commercial projects such as the Rubber Research Institute land in Sungai Buloh, Pudu jail and the Sungai Besi airport," he added.
An immediate action plan needs to focus on building low cost homes priced between RM150,000 and RM350,000.
The government must provide transit housing or social housing for the urban poor, he said, adding that the industry should be given higher plot ratio to be able to develop smaller units and give incentives to developers for those projects.
The sector must also be free from new compliance costs, particularly the Bumiputera quota release system, to curb increasing costs. Additionally, first-time buyers who can pay less must be given cheaper price and be required to pay more later.
Yam said that the government should give assistance to buyers with regards to the costs associated with affordable home acquisition such as the lower stamp duty.
Another action plan is to improve public transportation system to make urban areas more accessible.
For long-term action plan, existing buildings such as government complexes, council homes and low cost houses as well as the Malay reserve land or other new villages can be refurbished into affordable homes.
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