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A boost for first-time home buyers

PETALING JAYA: The new federal budget will provide a boost for more first-time home buyers and lead to more much-needed affordable housing for the low-income group, say those in the property business.

Among the highlights for the property sector in the budget include stamp duty exemption for first homes up to RM500,000; RM1.2 billion for the provision of homes for low-income house buyers; and a rent-to-own scheme involving 5,000 PR1MA houses for first-time home buyers, valued at more than RM1 billion.

The stamp duty exemption was a welcome move, especially with 81% of Malaysians intending to purchase a home by the end of 2021.

He said there were good intentions to help both the B40 and low income households, but the right homes in the right locations need to be developed to ease a property overhang.

Nearly 32,000 houses with a total market value of RM20 billion remain unsold.

The budget provides RM500 million to build 14,000 low-cost housing units under the Program Perumahan Rakyat, RM315 million on the construction of 3,000 units of Rumah Mesra Rakyat by Syarikat Perumahan Nasional Berhad, and RM125 million to maintain low-cost and medium-low stratified housing and to repair dilapidated houses.

In addition, RM310 million has been earmarked for the Malaysia Civil Servants Housing Programme.

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) president Soam Heng Choon said the measures provide “much-needed relief” for those in need.

The stamp duty waiver for five years was expanded to include houses with a valuation of RM500,000. “We believe that the stamp duty waivers will benefit a lot of Malaysians who find it hard-pressed to own a house, particularly those in the B40 and M40 groups,” he said.

Soam hoped the rent-to-own programme can be extended to more than just the 5,000 PR1MA homes, so that purchasers in the open market can also benefit.

Soam and Fernandez also said the various measures to increase disposable income would also help spur the property sector.

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