Malaysian property experts looking for 'far-sighted' budget
By James Roberts

Malaysian property experts looking for 'far-sighted' budget

Malaysian property experts are keeping their fingers crossed for a "far-sighted" and "proactive" Budget 2014. Speaking at a property developers forum, PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager, Gerard Kho, explained that when the government lays down its financial plans on October 25th, they must not be dovish and reactionary. By looking forward, consistency in policy, increased investor confidence and a "robust market that offers long-term investment prospects with lower risk" will be achieved.

It is currently believed Budget 2014 will be a positive one for the property sector, with stamp duty exemptions or bonus incentives for first-time buyers. In a bid to attract more investors into the rental market, Mr Kho also believes the government should introduce tax exemptions on rental income for the first three years. This will also serve to encourage buyers to keep properties for longer and discourage speculation.

Vincent Tiew, Andaman Group of Companies' managing director, also spoke at the forum and added that policies included in Budget 2014 must be focused and targeted."If the government intends to do some adjustment on policy, or guidelines, it would be easy for property developers if it is focused, clear and precise," he said. "For example, higher real property gains tax (RPGT) is not really an issue in curbing the rising property prices. However, if the government still wants to impose higher RPGT, it must come out on specific details such as how much exactly one has to pay, when it will be imposed and which particular category will it be applying and so forth."

Increases of RGPT are strongly expected, with the government exploring the viability of upping the levy to control house prices and speculations. While the move may dent the market, failure to take action could leave Malaysia vulnerable to a price bubble. Housing minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan told news agency Bernama that current property tax levels are unable to stabilise prices and if increasing RGPT can cool the market, it is a move worth taking.
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