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Housing industry trapped in its own folly

Photograph: Choo Choy May/Malay Mail

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Greed and profiteering in the building and housing industry will never guarantee every citizen the right to an affordable home, writes JD Lovrenciear.

What is made out to be good news is not going to be any good. Truth be told, the RM22bn in property sales announced come March 2019 will be another hot air balloon that will fall.

The truth is a home priced at around RM300,000 requires a buyer to have a monthly salary of about RM6, 000.

Now tell me how many of the graduates who truly need a roof over their heads can afford a RM300,000 home given their pay packets well below that.

The pundits will retort, “What about joint incomes?” And all the freebies like no stamp fees or free air conditioniers and the like or even a free satay party while you shop – will these really make any difference? Not likely.

We are saddled with a privatised building and construction industry that has held citizens at ransom for far too long sometimes, it would seem, backed by a political agenda.

The fact that developers are raking in huge profits and becoming tycoons and oligarchs is testimony to how much wage-earning buyers have been burdened. Some of them have even been pressured into taking on two jobs to make ends meet.

Our entire national housing policy, just like the education system, has failed. You need courage to agree. All else is a bluff.

We lost the path to a progressive society of providing affordable, price-controlled housing schemes, ensuring that every adult starting a family could have a roof over their heads, without having to cut back on their quality of life.

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Even our property marketing strategy is a giveaway. It clearly shows that sales pitches have stampeded the moral obligation of providing homes for the people as the obligation of the government of the day.

The property market today seems targets as an investment strategy that tempts buyers with the possibility of collecting huge rentals that will pay off their bank loan leaving some extra cash in the pocket.

Believe me, you can have all kinds of mega sales carnivals. You can make all kinds of political promises and announcements of apparently “affordable” housing.

But the truth is greed, profiteering and privatisation in the building and housing industry will never guarantee every citizen the right to own a desirable, affordable home without suffering considerable risk.

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