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Shareda fears more cannot afford houses after GST

Published on: Saturday, December 07, 2013

Kota Kinabalu: It is likely that more Sabahans will not be able to afford to buy houses once the six per cent Government Services Tax (GST) is implemented on April 1 next year.

Despite about 50,000 units of affordable homes believed planned for Sabah in five years, Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) fears that more Sabahans may not be eligible for housing loans.

Naturally, with the introduction of the GST, property prices will go up and are expected to slow down due to uncertainties in the bank borrowing policies, said its President Francis Goh, Friday.

"Demand for properties, however, will prevail but loan approvals will dampen.

"Right now many are complaining about not being able to obtain homes although they are earning a monthly salary of RM2,000.

"Imagine those with a way much lower salary, when the GST is implemented," he said after listening to two expert presentations on the impact of the Budget 2014 on the State's real estate industry, here.

Two experts have earlier presented the impacts of the introduction of the GST, Real Property Gain Tax (RPGT) and Developers' Interest-Bearing Schemes under the Budget 2014.

While banks normally approve loans based on the assessments on their creditors, the stringent process is normally regulated by the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia.

Instead, Goh suggested that the Government look into introducing rent-to-own schemes than affordable homes.

He said by providing a low rental fee more will likely purchase the units after a certain period, rather than burden housebuyers with a 10 per cent deposit up front and facing the risk of not getting any loans.

"Affordable homes are also market-driven, whereby the respective buyers need to get their loans approved on tougher borrowing policies," he said.

However, Goh opined that the Real Property Gain Tax will not pose any impact on the speculative buying in Sabah, saying there are more genuine buyers to only about 1 per cent of speculators.

Besides, he said, "How is the RPGT being implemented?

Should housebuyers pay up straight, or is it part of the Sales and Purchase Agreement or whether the RPGT is liquefied into the house selling price?"

He said the Government should be clear on the RPGT which was once known as the Anti-Speculative Act.