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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        17  May 2011

No takers for "first homes"

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There has been poor response to 4,516 housing units under the My First Home scheme in Malaysia.

The units were completed by Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) and were priced within the RM100,000 to RM220,000 range.

The scheme, launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in March, is opened to private sector employees aged between 18 and 35 years-old; drawing a monthly salary of not more than RM3,000.

Potential buyers can get 100 percent financing and a repayment period of up to 30 years. According to SPNB chairman Datuk Idris Haron, the company has completed 11,400 low and medium cost houses valued at RM1.1bil which remained unsold.

"Of these, 4,516 housing units in 12 development projects can be categorised under the My First Home scheme.

"The response has not been encouraging, perhaps due to the lack of publicity. "We need to step up our marketing efforts," Idris said at the opening of the new SPNB headquarters in Wisma Perkeso, Jalan Tun Razak yesterday.

SPNB signed MoUs with and 19 banks, witnessed by Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, for the scheme.

Ahmad Husni said as of April 30, 772 applications had been received for the My First Home Scheme. "A total of 143 applications have been approved, amounting to RM21.3mil in housing loans. The average loan is RM149,365," he said.

Idris said 8,991 housing units, which fell under the My First Home scheme, were being built in 16 development projects in Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

"For future developments in the Klang Valley, we are also in talks with landowners in Puchong, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Damansara, Rawang, Klang and Shah Alam," said Idris.

He pointed out that it was not realistic to build homes under the scheme in prime areas in the Klang Valley due to high land values.

"We work with private land owners. However, in areas that we have built homes, such as Laguna Biru apartments in Sungai Buloh, have good potential to become prime locations in five or 10 years."

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