Low-cost homes a fading dream

Low-cost homes a fading dream 

 

Construction costs in M’sia skyrocket

 

AFTER getting married, Malaysian teacher C S Chong and his wife wanted to build a four-bedroom house on a plot of land they bought in Ipoh, in the northern Malaysian state of Perak.

.

Instead, because of rising construction costs, they will live with his parents.

.

“We wanted a house before we got married, but changed our minds after our contractor told us that the rising costs of materials and of hiring workers would inflate our bill,” Mr Chong said.

.

It’s a similar story elsewhere in Malaysia.

.

Developers in Penang are complaining it is no longer viable to build RM42,000 ($17,600) low-cost houses there.

.

Describing the increase in the price of building materials as “traumatic”, Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Penang chairman Jerry Chan told The Star newspaper such houses were now impossible to build because there was no such thing as “low-cost labour” or “low-cost materials”.

.

“Cement price has increased by 30 per cent in the last two years while the price of steel bars has increased by 80 per cent to about RM4,000 a tonne today,” he said.

.

“So, obviously, property prices are going to go up even more.”

.

As such, he believes housing for the poor should be funded by the government, as is the case with healthcare and education.

.

The Malaysian government recently decided to liberalise the steel bar and billets market.

.

“I am all for total liberalisation but what’s happening now is that locally, pricesare still fixed by suppliers through informal agreements,” said Mr Chan.

.

“There is no healthy competition. Instead of supplying to the domestic market, they are opting to export because of better global market rates.”

.

Penang Master Builders and Building Materials Dealers Association president Finn Choong said local construction companies were “at the mercy” of cement and steel suppliers until the government announces new import guidelines.

.

“Right now, the demand is definitely more than the supply,” he told The Star.

.

“Because we are still unclear about the import guidelines, construction companies here are not going to take the risk to import these materials and will still have to depend on local suppliers.”

.

On Saturday, Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Chuan said his ministry would appeal to the Finance Ministry to restructure taxes for certain construction materials to ensure that prices do not skyrocket.

.

He also said the Government would look into removing ceiling prices for other construction materials.

.

In Sabah, Chief Minister Musa Aman yesterday called for the abolition of import duties on cement from Asean countries as his state government announced cost-cutting measures to mitigate rising fuel costs.

 

Source: Today Newspaper

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s