Hopes high Budget 2017 will help first-time house buyers

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PETALING JAYA: Housing industry players are hoping the Government will allow first-time house buyers to get full stamp duty exemption when Budget 2017 is announced.

They also welcomed reports that first-time house buyers might be allowed to withdraw higher amounts from their Employees Provident Fund accounts.

A report in The Sun quoted CH Williams Talhar & Wong Managing Director Foo Gee Jen as saying a 100 per cent stamp duty exemption would help first-time home buyers as it could result in a RM2,000 to RM3,000 difference in stamp duty payment.

“That is something that would help. The other option available is to give grants to first-time home buyers. At the end of the day, we do not want to give the impression that you must rush into buying houses, even for first-time home buyers. You must be able to afford before you jump into this big ticket item,” he said.

VPC Alliance (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Managing Director James Wong was quoted as saying the stamp duty exemption, currently 50 per cent, could be enhanced to 100 per cent for first-time home buyers and expanded to houses below RM750,000 from the current RM500,000 limit to allow more first-time home buyers to qualify.

National House Buyers Association of Malaysia (HBA) Secretary-General Chang Kim Loong was quoted as saying: “I would support it (100 per cent stamp duty exemption) as it helps the new generation of home buyers but the selection criteria is very important. Making them swear a statutory declaration is important.

“However, prosecuting on false declaration is equally important as there are a lot of cases where there’s been a lot of deviation.”

Commenting on the move to allow higher withdrawals from the EPF, Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents immediate past president Siva Shanker said:

“A better bet than allowing developers to give out loans (under the moneylending licence) is to allow first-time home buyers to take extra money from EPF to bridge the gap. That is your own money. Whether you are investing it in EPF or in your home, it is fine because a home is an appreciating asset.”

Wong, who also hoped the withdrawal limit would be raised, said the move would result in higher equity and lower loan margin, thus reducing the total principal and interest cost to the buyer, The Sun reported.