Thursday February 28, 2013
State makes it easier for more people to own low and medium low-cost houses
By RAYNORE MERING
KUCHING: The criteria for the purchase of low and medium-low cost houses, which are built by the private sector, has been revised to give more people the opportunity to own homes.
Besides raising the maximum household income for applicants, the state government has also agreed to allow bachelors, single fathers and mothers, and widowers to buy the houses.
The new criteria was announced by Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday and it takes effect immediately.
“The construction of low and medium-low cost houses is one of the efforts of the state government to get private housing developers involved in providing homes for those in the low income bracket. Besides that, the construction of low-cost houses can also be a corporate social responsibility of the developers,” he said.
In this respect, he said the new criteria was decided after a thorough review including dialogues with stakeholders.
For low-cost houses, the eligible household income has been raised from RM2,500 to RM3,000; while for medium low-cost houses, the household income is now RM5,000 and below, compared to RM3,000 previously.
Besides being open to single parents and widowers, applicants must be from 18 to 65 years old if they are married and above 30 years old if they are single men or women.
They must all be Malaysians from Sarawak and do not own any other houses.
Johari said one of the reasons why the household income was raised was because there were people who previously earned too much for a low cost house but too little for medium-low cost houses.
“We also decided to allow bachelors to buy the houses because we realise there are those single people, especially women, who become breadwinners for their family or have to take care of their parents,” he said.
With the review in the criteria, the price of the houses had also been increased from RM42,000 for an intermediate low-cost unit to RM50,400.
A corner low-cost unit is now RM59,220 and a medium low-cost house is now RM80,000 for an intermediate unit and up to RM100,000 for a corner unit. Generally, the increase is about RM10,000 for the two categories of houses. The government is currently subsidising about 70% of the cost of low and medium low-cost houses.
Johari said with the price increase, housebuyers could expect better quality homes. “Last time, the floor was just cemented but the new houses will be tiled.”
That said, Johari emphasised that there were moratoriums that successful housebuyers must abide by.
They are not permitted to sale their house for five years after the sales and purchase agreements have been signed unless the houses were mortgage off by the bank and whereby the value would be determined by the market price.
And after the five years are up, the owners can sell their houses according to the market value and this would not be bound by the conditions or criteria for ownership of low-cost houses developed by the private sector.
On top of that, owners are reminded that the re-sale of low and medium low-cost houses must be with approval from the Housing Ministry.
“We put the moratorium in place because we don’t want owners to sell their houses immediately. This is because the prices will appreciate and may encourage speculation,” said Johari.
From 2001 to June 2012, more than 60,000 low and medium low-cost houses were built. This year, the public sector and the government are expected to build more than 5,000 houses in areas with high population density in the state.