PETALING JAYA – So-called affordable homes are too small, too far away and too few, the national house-buyers’ association said today, disputing a claim by developers of an oversupply of affordable homes.
The National House Buyers Association (HBA) also criticised the unrealistic definition of “affordable homes” used by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda).
HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong concurred with Bank Negara Malaysia that most Malaysians could not afford homes costing between RM300,000 and RM500,000, which falls within Rehda’s definition of affordable housing.
Chang said the price should be between RM150,000 and RM300,000.
Speaking to FMT, he pointed out that Bank Negara had in fact estimated the maximum price of an affordable home to be only RM282,000, derived from a formula using the housing cost-burden approach, and based on a Malaysian median household income of RM5,228 in 2016.
On Saturday, Rehda patron Eddy Chen was quoted by The Edge as saying that there was “quite severe” over-building of affordable homes and that many developers had shifted into that property segment to counter high loan rejection rates for higher-end properties.
He said affordable houses in the range of RM300,000 to RM500,000 were being built “everywhere” and the quota for such housing had been imposed on property development projects.
However, Chang said developers had by and large failed to provide affordable homes with realistic price tags and good accessibility to public amenities and transport, with some being 35km away from city centres.
Many were too small for comfortable living, with some having built-up areas of only 450-600 sq ft. He contended that there should be a built-up area of at least 800 sq ft, excluding a balcony, and at least two bedrooms.
“Affordable homes must be located in areas that are well accessible and served by public transport networks, such as buses or rail links like LRT and MRT,” he said.
“There should also be sufficient public amenities such as schools or a hospital close by,” he added.
He said there was still strong genuine demand for affordable properties as Malaysia is still considered to be a young country with urban migration as more people flock to the city centres in search of greener pastures.
“Affordable homes will be well received if they are built at the right location, in the right numbers, are of the right types and sold at the right price,” Chang added.
The issue of affordable homes has also become an important focus of political parties contesting the general election.