Guan Eng sees 20pc increase in housing loan approvals with Bank Negara’s new requirements

Azril Annuar
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference at the Housing and Local Government Ministry in Putrajaya August 22, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 22 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today predicted that Bank Negara Malaysia’s expanded eligibility criteria for its RM1 billion Affordable Housing Fund will boost first-time home buyers’ loan approval by at least another 20 per cent.

Lim said his prediction is on the back of the extended repayment duration to 40 years from 30 years, which will help first-time home owners reduce their monthly housing loan repayment by 20 per cent, while making it easier for them to obtain a housing loan.

“If monthly repayment has been reduced by 20 per cent, more people can afford to purchase a home and we predict that it will increase homeownership by another 20 per cent. But of course, we hope more people will be able to afford to buy a home.

“That also depends on the individual or household income but monthly repayment has been reduced,” said Lim in a joint press conference with Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin today.

Yesterday, Bank Negara governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the maximum monthly household income has been increased to RM4,360 from RM2,300, while the maximum property price has been increased to RM300,000 from RM150,000 previously.

The enhancement, which takes effect on September 1, is an additional initiative by the central bank to help citizens in the bottom 40 income group to own their first home, she said at the launch of the Financing Advisory Services (MyKNP).

The Fund, which has a maximum financing rate of 3.5 per cent per annum, is available for properties in the primary market only.

Borrowers must be salaried workers or self-employed and do not have any record of impaired financing for the past 12 months.

Zuraida also added that she has asked banks to relax some of the requirements to fund housing projects, with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration promising to deliver one million affordable homes by 2028.

“We need developers’ support to build more homes seeing that we have a one-million-home target and many developers have switched their focus from building expensive high-end homes to affordable homes.

“Now that there is a lot of demand, we asked that the banks relax some of their conditions to fund housing project finances,” said Zuraida.

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