Govt to draft anti-discrimination law to protect landlords, tenants
The government is looking into drafting new legislation to protect tenants against discrimination based on their ethnicity when seeking a place to rent, says Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. The National Housing Policy 2018-2025 report launched by the ministry on Monday. “We are looking at drafting a Residential Tenancy Act to better protect landlords and tenants,” she said. The government expects to formalize the act by 2020. (The Star Online)

Malaysia to put RM22.8bil of unsold homes on sale rack in March
Malaysia is planning a sale for RM22.5 billion of real estate to bridge the gap between property oversupply and lack of affordable homes, with developers asked to offer at least a 10% discount. About 180 developers will offer 22,000 units worth a total of RM22.5 billion at an expo planned for March 1 to 3. About a quarter of the properties on offer will be priced at RM300,000 or less, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, adding that the transactions will be exempted from stamp duty fees. The average cost of a Malaysian home was five times the annual median household income in 2016, above the global standard of three times, said BNM. (The Edge Markets)

Prices, rental for low-cost homes to be regulated under National Housing Policy
Rent and prices for low-cost houses will soon be regulated once Putrajaya introduces the Rent Control Bill to clamp down on profiteering. Putrajaya said rent control was crucial towards making homes accessible to bottom and middle-income earners, particularly in crowded urban centres where property prices have quadrupled in the last decade. The Bill was among various measures to address the country’s housing problems under the National Housing Policy 2019-2025. It is unclear if the regulation will cover rental for homes in different price brackets. Under the new policy, rent will be capped at 25% to 30% of household income, while tenancy will be kept at not more than three years. To encourage ownership, the rent will be gradually increased after the period. (Malay Mail)

The National Housing Policy 2019-2015 was launched on Jan 27 (Photo from The Sun Daily)

Penang introduces steps to spur housing industry
Penang has announced several measures to drive the housing sector in the state and address the current overhang of units. State exco Jagdeep Singh Deo said the oversupply in Penang is still manageable but the industry needed extra assistance to clear up the unsold stock. One of the measures is to allow more affordable housing units to be opened up to the general market instead of limiting all to eligible first-time buyers. The state has also decided to raise the household income cap so that more applicants will be eligible for affordable housing. These two new measures are effective immediately. Meanwhile, for properties above RM1 million, Jagdeep announced a measure to encourage foreign buyers. The 3% approval fee for foreign purchasers will be waived starting from Feb 1, but the minimum price remains in force. This is to encourage sales of overhang high-end properties. (Malay Mail)

Rent-to-own for now, build-then-sell by 2023
Malaysia will focus on the rent-to-own (RTO) concept in the housing market for now and later move towards build-then-sell (BTS) by 2023, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. She said RTO schemes are already in Selangor and Penang where, in the sixth year, renters can own their houses depending on their financial capabilities. “BTS not yet… In 2013, there were six (BTS) projects but they were not viable…we need more time to further study to make it happen,” she explained. Depending on the findings, by 2023, it should come up with a BTS model. Under the National Housing Policy, the government plans to hit 90% BTS by 2020 and 100% BTS by 2023. (The Sun Daily)