PETALING JAYA - There is an overwhelming demand for affordable houses and the Government is stepping up efforts to help more Malaysians own homes without having to burn a hole in their pockets.
1Malaysia People Housing programme (PR1MA) chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias said that the demand for affordable homes "far exceeded" its supply.
Fortunately, Malaysians can expect more new housing projects to be announced soon.
Abdul Mutalib said PR1MA was currently identifying more suitable land to be developed, in addition to its previously earmarked 50 locations in key urban areas.
So far, areas identified include Selangor, Johor, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Pahang, Sarawak, Sabah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Malacca.
PR1MA aims to develop 80,000 cheaper homes, catering to middle-income households with a monthly combined household income of between RM2,500 (S$1002) and RM7,500 (S$3008).
Abdul Mutalib assured that PR1MA homes would remain well below 20 per cent of the market price of similar developments even though it collaborated with private developers in certain areas.
Abdul Mutalib said that PR1MA planned to intensify public awareness of its programme by rolling out a more aggressive campaign that would cover all media channels such as print, TV, radio and the Internet.
It was recently reported that the Nusantara PR1MA project in Johor was oversubscribed by six times.
Another Government initiative, My First Home Scheme, saw 441 applications being approved with a total loan amount of RM67.3 million (S$27 million) as at December last year.
Under the scheme, one can obtain 100 per cent financing from banks and own a home without needing to pay a 10 per cent down payment.
Cagamas SRP Bhd will guarantee 10 per cent of the financing.
Cagamas Bhd president and chief executive officer Chung Chee Leong said changes were made to the eligibility criteria to make the scheme more sustainable, in line with the increased ceiling price of houses from RM200,000 to RM400,000.
"The criteria of the scheme will be reviewed from time to time, in line with market conditions to ensure that it continues to serve its objective," he said.
Under the new conditions effective this year, the monthly income limit of borrowers was raised to RM5,000 (S$2005) from RM3,000 (S$1203) previously, among others.
Meanwhile, the Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd's (SPNB) affordable housing projects in Sungai Buloh and Shah Alam have been oversubscribed by four times.
SPNB chairman Datuk Idris Haron said providing cheaper homes for Malaysians was a goal that was close to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's heart.
"In order to build a wholesome community, one must start with providing homes for all," he said.