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Property News

National initiatives well received by home seekers

National initiatives to ease the burden of the COVID-19 outbreak, while stimulating property sentiment, have been well received by home seekers, according to the PropertyGuru Malaysia Consumer Sentiment Study second half (2H) 2020.

The study showed that Malaysians were mostly satisfied with Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM’s) six-month financing moratorium, as reported by the majority (39 per cent) of respondents.

It said this was followed by the government’s Short-term Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) announcement on June 5 to tackle key homeownership challenges as cited by property stakeholders and home seekers, including high property prices and stamp duty.

“The BNM moratorium was the right measure at the right time, garnering accolades over and above those of other initiatives such as Bantuan Prihatin Nasional financial aid (11 per cent) and Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Account 2 withdrawal revisions (nine per cent) by a wide margin,” Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez said in a statement today.

He said although the first phase of the moratorium is ending in September, it has already helped 43 per cent of participants to rebuild financial buffers.

He added that it also assisted them to manage costs of living (34 per cent) and redirect resources to alternative investments (16 per cent) thus facilitating all the desirable outcomes given the challenges faced by many Malaysians in the wake of the pandemic.

The study said young Malaysians and those from low-income backgrounds were most likely to cite satisfaction with measures introduced, due to the targeted nature of relief provisions in PENJANA and other recovery packages.

The study also found that 44 per cent of respondents opted in for the moratorium, indicating that many (48 per cent) homeowners were confident in their ability to service loan instalments during the various Movement Control Orders (MCOs) and opted out.

“For those who opted in, the measure represents the much-needed and timely assistance,” it said.

It said younger Malaysians were among the demographics most likely to opt in, with 43 per cent of respondents aged between 22 and 29 years old participating.

This demographic was also most likely (34 per cent) to be satisfied with government measures to stabilise the property market overall, along with those from low-income backgrounds (39 per cent).

The study also polled Malaysians on which aspects of the property ownership journey that they felt required government attention during the MCO.

It said these included reduction of interest rates for home loans (81 per cent), Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) reform (73 per cent), reduction of stamp duty (61 per cent) and down payments (54 per cent), as well as expansion in maximum loan tenures (24 per cent).

“Significantly, many of these challenges have been addressed by recent national initiatives, with the revision of BNM’s Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) to 1.75 per cent, for example, bringing down home loan interest rates nationwide,” it said.

In addition, it said PENJANA included provisions for RPGT and stamp duty exemption into 2021, with discounts of 10 per cent and more via the reintroduced Home Ownership Campaign to tackle the issue of property prices which is cited as the primary deterrent to property purchases by 93 per cent of respondents.

“The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak will take time to get the economy back on track as many Malaysians struggle with loss of income and employment,” Fernandez said.

However, he said for those with financial buffers, this is the most conducive lending and policy environment seen in recent years.

“At the end of the day, a home is a long-term financial commitment, and requires financial literacy and awareness on the part of home seekers,” he added.


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