Jerry said the new affordable housing policy controls the sale of affordable housing units which are limited to all properties priced below RM400,000 on the island and below RM250,000 on the mainland. — Picture by K.E. OoiGEORGE TOWN, Dec 9 — Penang’s new affordable housing policy could hit a brick wall with owners who bought their properties before the new ruling, Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) state chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said today.
He pointed out that these buyers had bought their units without any knowledge of the state’s plan to impose a five-year moratorium on the sale of affordable housing, among other guidelines, adding the group would likely be unhappy with the ruling.
“We have serious reservations about it as we foresee that problems may arise such as when they want to sell, they need to get the name list from the state housing department and then they have to contact the buyers on the list,” he said in a press conference at the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office today.
He said it would be unfair to impose the new ruling on buyers who bought their properties before it came into effect, as they had likely made the purchases without any concerns on problems with re-selling the property.
The developer had earlier met with Lim to discuss the new housing policies that was announced in the state budget recently.
The new affordable housing policy controls the sale of affordable housing units which are limited to all properties priced below RM400,000 on the island and below RM250,000 on the mainland.
Under the policy, which will be implemented in February next year, all affordable housing units are only allowed to be re-sold to eligible first time home buyers in the state housing department’s list of registered buyers within the first five years.
The owners of affordable housing units are only allowed to sell off the units in the free market after five years from purchasing the units.
Chan gave an example where an owner who bought a house for RM250,000 less than five years ago but after renovations and appreciation, the house is now worth RM800,000 but he can’t sell it in the free market due to the new policy.
“If he wants to sell it within the first five years at the appreciated value, how can he communicate this to the state housing department as his unit will no longer be under the RM400,000 range,” he asked.
Lim had called the press conference to clarify this and to state that the administration welcomes any views on the new policy.
“We listen to all sectors and we have to consider various views,” he had said before letting Chan voice his view on the policy.
Chan had agreed with the state’s other policy on low cost and low medium cost units that restricted owners from selling their units within 10 years of purchasing the units.
“Low cost and low medium cost units have always been heavily subsidised and such properties are always in high demand and taken advantage of so this policy is a good move to prevent it,” he said.
Lim had defended the state’s new housing policies as measures to prevent a property bubble in the state and to enable more first time buyers the chance to own homes in the state.
He noted the concerns raised by Chan and admit that there may be some efficiency issues when it comes to implementing the affordable housing policy especially the civil sector is yet to achieve the efficiency similar to that of the private sector.
“We know we will not be popular for implementing this but it needs to be done to prevent a property bubble,” Lim said.