Ministry aims for 25,000 low-cost houses

Ministry aims for 25,000 low-cost houses

PETALING JAYA: The Housing and Local Government Ministry aims to have 25,000 low-cost houses built by private housing developers and the Government this year.

Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said despite a slowdown in the economy, low- and medium-cost housing would always be in demand.

“The Government hopes to build 4,000 units under the public housing project (PPR) and 20,000 units from private housing developers.

“The ministry will push for 25,000 low-cost houses this year,” he said at a press conference after attending the ministry’s monthly gathering with its staff at Bukit Kiara on Thursday.

Ong said that over the past 28 years, about 22.8 million homes have been built, averaging at about 100,000 homes per year.

“It would be a huge challenge this year for the ministry to ensure that the housing sector maintains active despite the economic slowdown.

“There are 140 components involved in building a home, including architects, designers and building materials. If there is a problem in the industry, there would be fewer economic opportunities and fewer jobs.

“This is not a situation we want to see happening,” he said.

He said the low-cost housing scheme would serve to help boost the housing sector and is also part of the RM1.2bil stimulus package for the construction of low- and medium-cost houses which was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last November.

He said the economic situation has instilled uncertainty among developers and buyers.

Buyers are afraid of committing to a purchase as they are unsure if they would still have a job to service the loans; while developers are not confident that their projects would be sold off.

Ong’s ministry is also in the midst of discussions with the Finance Ministry and banking sector to offer better and more attractive housing loans to encourage purchases.

“We are discussing with the Finance Ministry incentives such as the House Credit Scheme where a purchaser without the necessary documents would be able to obtain a loan from a bank.

“We are also looking into having a two-generation loan with the banks, where a son can take over his aging father’s loan,” he said.

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