Bank Negara credit checks ‘hurt’ housing market

Tougher credit checks on potential buyers and lending curbs imposed by Bank Negara is distorting the market, claims a top official at Malaysia’s biggest grouping of property developers.

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) Malaysia reveals that due to the high rejection rates of housing loan applications, many developers have delayed their property launches, especially affordable houses.

As the supply of new affordable houses slows, the pressure is on prices to increase.

“These people are not speculators because for those interested to buy affordable homes, the Government had set specific criteria such as no sub-selling and a 10-year period before they can resell the units,” its president Datuk Seri Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor said.

He urged Bank Negara to review its policy, especially the ones that affected lower income groups looking to purchase their first home.

Fateh Iskandar was speaking to reporters after launching Glomac Bhd’s RM710mil mixed housing project in Kulai, Johor.

Meanwhile, Austin Heights Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Steve Chong also agrees that there is a distorted supply and demand in the high-rise sector in Iskandar Malaysia.

“Other properties are doing reasonably well, no doubt the temporary slowdown is due to the recently implemented goods and services tax, the financial slowdown and the cautious buying sentiment,” he said.

He said the temporary setback should not hold back property developers as buyers knew that anytime was a good time to buy properties.

“I say that the setback is temporary because in the long run, the housing market in Johor will still be on the uptrend,” he said.

Chong is positive that the situation will turn for the better once the connectivity between Johor and Singapore improved, especially with the development of the high-speed rail link and rapid transit system.

“More Singaporeans will then definitely come to Johor to buy properties and settle down here.

“Comparing the prices of property in Johor and Singapore, I think more would prefer to buy houses here and commute to the island for work,” he said.

He added that many senior managers and executives from Singapore were buying properties here. - By The Star