Wednesday, October 16

Property market in Sarawak to see slowdown ahead

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KUCHING: The property market market in Sarawak will slow down further in news sales, coming from weaker household incomes and higher-than-expected property prices.

According to Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Sheda) president Joseph Wong, launches of new developments were smaller in number and are of selective types of properties due to market sentiment.

“Developers will be compelled to build according to what the market demands, and what buyers can afford rather than what developers prefer,” he said during his speech yesterday.

“The main contributing factor is that Sarawak suffers from a combination of weak household incomes and house prices that are far higher than what the average household could afford,” he added.

“Research by Institute Rakyat has revealed that the price of an average home in Sarawak is over nine times more than the annual income of a typical Sarawakian family. This ranks Sarawak under the severly unaffordable category in the Malaysian housing affordability index – even beating metropolitan Kuala Lumpur.”

On this point, Wong said Sheda has put forward its Sheda Affordable Housing scheme to aid in resolving this problem.

“Under the scheme, it is proposed that houses with a minimum area of 850 square feet could be built and sold at a maximum selling price of RM250,000.

The scheme, however, requires that amendments be made to certain planning criteria such as the removal of density control for landed properties, adoption of plot ratio density for strata development, and the removal of mandatory criteria to build low cost homes or SPEKTRA.

“More than a year ago, Sheda member developers have agreed to take up the challenge to build 10,000 units of the above proposed affordable houses in Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri over the next five years if the state government agrees to the proposal.

“In line with this proposed solutino, Sheda created a survey with the aim of using the data collected as evidence for the state government that such a scheem is necessary for Sarawak to resolve this widening vacuum in the market.

“Visitors to the expo this weekend will be able to participate in the survey,” he added.