BUDGET 2021 should focus on job creation and income growth drivers, particularly for the youth and first-time house seekers, said online property site PropertyGuru Malaysia.

It said home ownership interest has surged, but employment and income loss following the COVID-19 outbreak are hindering buyers from making property purchases.

In a statement today, PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez said the most prominent request in the industry’s wishlist is the expansion of the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) incentives, such as stamp duty and instrument of transfer exemptions, to the secondary market.

There have also been calls to extend the HOC incentives to May 31, 2021.

According to the PropertyGuru Malaysia Consumer Sentiment Study conducted for the second half of 2020, 39 per cent and 11 per cent of participants said they were satisfied with Bank Negara Malaysia’s financing moratorium and Bantuan Prihatin Nasional, respectively.

According to the study, house seekers aged 22-29 and renters are most likely to buy properties post-Movement Control Order (MCO), with 47 per cent of house seekers and 51 per cent of renters sharing that the outbreak would not delay their potential purchases.

“As such, economic drivers to foster job creation and income growth, along with digitalisation and property technology (proptech) incentives to enhance awareness of available initiatives and opportunities, are key priorities for the property market as Malaysians recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” Fernandez said.

Meanwhile, property players have highlighted the possibility of extending maximum loan tenures and reviewing the eligibility criteria for home loan applicants.

“When it comes to reviewing loan tenures and eligibility criteria, financial institutions naturally have their own priorities in terms of risk management and minimising non-performing loans.

“On another note, developer concerns regarding compliance costs, if addressed, would promote ease of doing business, and a review of foreign ownership guidelines may address overhang concerns to some extent, but this is unlikely to be popular with Malaysian house seekers,” he said.

Fernandez added that a continued focus on digital incentives, such as grant funds for pilot projects on digital applications – particularly for proptech players – would help foster innovation and uptake in the industry.

This is to enhance the awareness on current initiatives, both in terms of property and other areas as well, such as re-skilling opportunities, he said.

“PropertyGuru has spearheaded numerous proptech initiatives, including PropertyGuru Loan Pre-Approval, PropertyGuru FastKey, PropertyGuru Lens and more, such as a one-stop hub consolidating over 100 HOC projects for convenient home seeker review,” he added.