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Move to stretch housing loans over two generations
The Star 26/1/2005 BY NICK LEONG

KUALA LUMPUR: Housing mortgage payments will be stretched over two generations to lessen the burden on borrowers under a move being studied by the Government.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said the idea was conceived to make it easier for poor and hardcore poor families to buy low-cost houses or apartments.

“For poor families – those earning less than RM600 a month – how can they afford to buy a house? Banks will not lend them any money and they cannot even afford the down payment.

“We are thinking of how to overcome this and one idea is to allow a child, when he or she grows up, to continue paying the mortgage,” he said after a meet-the-people session at Kampung Chubadak, here, yesterday.

Ong said the amount poor families came up with for down payments and monthly repayments would be lowered if the mortgage period was lengthened.

“We hope this proposal will be considered for the Ninth Malaysia Plan to help the poor buy their own houses,” he said.

Ong said the ministry also planned to expand the scope of urban poverty to include townships away from city centres.

He said urban poverty did not just refer to the poor living in big cities like the federal capital or Johor Baru.

“There are many people living under the local councils outside the cities who are poor and need attention,” he said.

He said the ministry had identified five key areas – a steady income, good health, social facilities, education and housing – to combat poverty.

Housing developers, real estate agents and house buyers welcomed the proposal to stretch mortgage payments.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association president Datuk Jeffrey Ng said it was an effective way to help the poor get out of the poverty cycle.

He said unlike other forms of investment, property was inflation-hedged.

“Over time, the value of the property goes up even after considering inflation,” he said.

Ng said the proposal, if implemented, would create a sustainable demand for property and help the country meet its aim of providing a home for every family.

He said there should be a cap on the type of property the poor and hardcore poor were allowed to buy under the proposal.

“The facility should be given to them based on what they can afford rather than what they want,” he said.

National House Buyers Association secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said the proposal would benefit all parties – poor families, the Government, banks and housing developers.

“I don’t think the child will mind inheriting the mortgage repayment from the father because he will eventually own a house that has been partly paid for,” he said.

Chang said the Government should also focus on educating first-time house buyers on their responsibilities.

He said some house buyers thought all they needed to buy property was to come up with a 10% down payment.

“Many are ignorant about the responsibilities of a property owner such as paying maintenance fees or quit rent,” he said.

A real estate agent who did not want to be identified said some banks were already allowing housing loans to be shared between a parent and a child.


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