Don’t lower prices for foreigners, house buyers tell Johor

The National House Buyers Association fears developers may build condos and houses to cater to rich Singaporeans.

PETALING JAYA: The National House Buyers Association is against any move to lower prices for foreigners to buy high-end properties.

It fears this will encourage developers to build more high-end properties to cater to rich Singaporeans, instead of affordable homes for Malaysians.

This comes after Johor Housing, Communication and Multimedia Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad said the state was considering lowering the price threshold for foreigners to own properties from the present RM1 million to RM600,000.

HBA honorary secretary Chang Kim Loong said it will “open the floodgates for Singaporeans” to own homes costing them S$200,000, after the currency conversion.

He said this proposal was similar to that by Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin to market unsold high-end properties to foreigners from Hong Kong and China.

“In the case of Johor, the natural target market will obviously be Singaporeans or professionals working in Singapore,” he said in a statement.

Chang said developers may not be in favour of building affordable properties costing below RM300,000 and it will inadvertently push housing developers in Johor to raise the price of properties to between RM400,000 and RM500,000.

“Or they may go even beyond the RM600,000 price range to capture this lucrative Singapore market, resulting in locals being squeezed out of the housing market in Johor,” he added.

Chang reminded the government that it was its duty to ensure their citizens have access to affordable housing and not draw up policies that may assist foreigners in buying properties at a much cheaper price.

HBA acknowledged the problem of unsold high-end properties in the country but said it was caused by the “greed of the developers” to make money.

He said they were doing this while ignoring the need to build affordable homes despite the high demand from locals.

He urged the Johor state government to rethink its proposal as policies should favour the locals.