Access to financing is not the primary issue for affordable housing

July 19th, 2017 3 comments

bnmThis is with reference to media reports on calls to review housing loan criteria for potential buyers of affordable houses. The comments made by some parties had caused confusion and were not based on facts and accurate information. If the issue of affordable housing is to be resolved, all parties must be clear on the root cause of the matter and honestly strive to help those affected by it.

Eligible home buyers will continue to have access to financing. In the first five months of 2017, RM40 billion of housing loans were approved to more than 152,000 borrowers. Three quarters of these borrowers were first time house buyers. The approval rate for housing loans has also been stable at 74%.

Banks have also introduced more flexible financing solutions to improve affordability, such as that offered for PRIMA homes. Outstanding housing loans has continued to outpace overall loan growth, increasing by 8.6% y-o-y to RM493 billion as at end-May 2017.

The responsible financing guidelines are in place to protect the interests of borrowers by ensuring that those who borrow are within their capacity to honour their financial obligation. Financial institutions will offer financing to all eligible borrowers and only reject loan applicants who are clearly over-extended in terms of the ability to take on more debt and have adverse credit repayment histories. It is worth reminding that banking institutions’ core business is to provide financing.

Based on engagements with banking institutions, housing loans rejected by banking institutions mostly involved borrowers with high levels of pre-existing debt obligations that would expose them to severe financial risk if further debt is extended. For such borrowers, the risk of foreclosure is significantly higher and they are much more likely to fall in financial hardship in the event of income shocks or large medical expenses.

Solutions to affordable housing need to address the shortage of affordable houses and the high house prices relative to income. Based on National Property Information Centre’s data, less than 30% of new housing launches in 2015-2016 were for houses priced less than RM250,000, compared to 70% during the 2008-2009 period. Housing affordability has not improved significantly where average national house prices remained at 4.4 times of median income (affordable range is 3.0 and below), with lower affordability recorded for some major states and urban cities. Housing developers, working together with authorities and relevant stakeholders, should therefore intensify efforts to reduce costs and accelerate supply.

Source: BNM


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Survey shows Penang is the happiest state

July 18th, 2017 8 comments

lafargehappinessSo it’s true — Klang Valley folks are less happy living in the city compared with those living in Penang and Johor Bahru. That is according to Happiness in the City Index 2017 survey.

The survey showed that as many as 49% of respondents in the Klang Valley found city life merely “tolerable” while another 9% and 3% were unhappy and very unhappy, respectively.

That’s hardly surprising, but what will probably make us sit up more is that only 3% of Penang and Johor Bahru respondents were unhappy/very unhappy living in their respective cities.

Penang seems to have gotten the happiness formula right as 47% of respondents from the state said they were very happy while another 30% said they were happy. As for Johor Bahru, about 24% of respondents from there were very happy and 37% were happy.

Why are Penang and Johor Bahru folks so much happier than those in the Klang Valley?

Could it be something in the air? Or could it be that they are living in a less stressful environment? Happiness in the City Index 2017 survey found that 54% of Klang Valley respondents felt stressed out living in the city compared with only 7% and 17% Penang and Johor Bahru respondents, respectively.

“Generally, people living in urban areas especially big cities such as Kuala Lumpur face a lot of stress. Stress could come from dealing with traffic congestion, higher cost of living, and demanding jobs and workplaces,” says Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) secretary-general Datin Ang Kim Teng.

Ang tells that stress is essential to keep one moving forward, but too much stress can lead to mental illness.

Citing a survey carried out by the Ministry of Health in 2015, she points out that 39.8% of KL folks have different levels of mental illness, such as stress, anxiety and depression. The figure was lower in Penang and Johor Bahru, at 19.1% and 22.2%, respectively.

“The findings of the ministry’s study and Happiness in the City Index 2017 survey correlate, although the latter mentions stress but not mental illness. However, as Ang said, if you are not handling stress carefully, it will slowly transform into mental illness,” says MMHA president See Cheng Siang.

See says stress may also come from loneliness and the lack of an extensive family support, especially for those who are not originally from KL.

“KL is a migrant city — many people came here to further their studies and work. Most of them have to depend on themselves without the mental and emotional support of their families,” he shares.

Ang also adds that many people choose to face their stress-related problems on their own rather than seek help because of the stigma attached to mental illness.

“There are many reasons for the number of people suffering from serious stress problems and mental illness. I think one crucial problem is that Asians still view seeking help from psychiatrists or even counsellors as a stigma,” says Ang.

She stresses that mental illness is just like any other physical illness such as fever and flu. “You will go to a doctor if you feel feverish and your throat is sore, but why wouldn’t you go to a professional if you are mentally sick?” Besides seeking professional help, other options that Ang and See suggest to de-stress are balancing out the time for work and leisure, talking to people and enjoying nature.

“It is proven that greenery will help you relax. However, I would not say KL people are stressed out because we do not have enough green spaces.

“Green spaces can help people de-stress only if people use them. Many people in the city would rather go indoors in their leisure time,” See points out.



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Coming soon: Penang Property Convention 2017

July 17th, 2017 Comments off

An event that you must not missed! An opportunity to meet up face-to-face with all the property experts and property gurus. Either you are a first time home buyer or a property investor, this event is cater just for you.  

See you on 29 July!

Click here for event details

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UPCOMING: Tanjung Tokong / Urbanhue Development Sdn. Bhd.

July 17th, 2017 No comments


A proposed low density residential development by Urbanhue Development Sdn. Bhd. at Tanjung Tokong. Located along Jalan Bunga Hinai, right opposite of Desa Bella Apartment. It is only just a mere minutes drive to Straits Quay Marina Mall at Seri Tanjung Pinang, and walking distance to Hun Bin Primary School.

This development will see the demolition of the existing bungalows, for the construction of 22 units 5-storey town house.

The project is still pending for approval. More details to be available upon official launch.

Project Name : (to be cofirmed)
Location : Tanjung Tokong
Property Type : Town house
Built-up Size: (to be confirmed)
Total Units: 22
Indicative Price: (to be confirmed)
Developer : Urbanhue Development Sdn. Bhd.

Register your interest here

(This information may be used by the developer or their appointed agent to initiate follow-up communications with you on the project.)

Location Map:


How much do you think land costs in Penang?

July 13th, 2017 8 comments

Land is the most important asset to a property developer as it enables the developer to sustain and grow its business. The constant rise in land prices is the simplest reason that explains the escalating property price especially those in prime areas.

We have solicited some actual data from reliable sources (mostly from NAPIC) for land transacted in 2016/2017. Hopefully this will shed some lights for those who has been very curious on land prices in Penang. For those who own a land or any landed property in those areas, you can do a quick math to figure out how much your property is worth now.

Land transacted at more than RM10mil in 2016/2017

Land transacted at more than RM10mil in 2016/2017


A 12,000 sq.ft. bungalow lot at Macalister Road is so far the most expensive land transacted in 2016 at RM14.5mil, equivalent to RM1,208 per sq.ft.

It is also worth mentioning that the land in Northern and Central Seberang Perai is coming on par with some areas in the Island.


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