Malaysia beats home ownership campaign target

Diminishing the housing overhang still a struggle though

Tourists enjoy dragon boat racing at the lake near the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya. SL Chen/Shutterstock

Malaysian housing authorities had sanguine numbers to show for its yearlong campaign promoting home ownership, the Malay Mail has learned.

Sales under the home ownership campaign, originally set to run for just six months but extended until December, hit 8,823 units worth MYR5.72 billion (USD1.37 billion) as of June, according to figures revealed by the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT).

The sales value far exceeds the MYR2 billion targeted at the start of the campaign.

Housing minister Zuraida Kamaruddin had told parliament that the campaign sold only 1,144 homes worth MYR650.87 million as of 7 June.

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Critics charged that the campaign, which entices property seekers with such incentives as the waiver of stamp duties and discounts on selling prices, still could not unload the country’s property overhang.

Completed, unsold homes in Malaysia hit 32,936 units worth a combined MYR37.23 billion in April, up 1.9 percent and 0.5 percent year-on-year for volume and value, respectively.

“The negative stage experienced by the housing sector is recognisable in the increasing number of unsold units, in the declining number of transactions and the progressive cooling down of prices,” wrote Carmelo Ferlito, a senior fellow at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, in a recently published paper on the domestic housing market.

Around 15,843 of the unsold units fetch prices between MYR200,000 and MYR300,000, a pricing bracket widely regarded as affordable.