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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Penang to unveil stricter housing rules

Owners of low-cost and affordable houses in Penang will find it harder to sell their properties as the state government eyes to introduce stricter housing rules to rein in property speculation, reported The Star.

With effect from 1 February 2014, owners of affordable houses acquired for less than RM250,000 on the mainland and RM400,000 on the island are prohibited from reselling their units during the first five years of ownership.

Owners of public housing (low-medium and low cost units) acquired for RM72,500 or less are barred from selling their properties for 10 years.

Owners of said units who still wish to sell them during the moratorium period will have to appeal to the state government, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Once the appeal is approved, the owner can only sell the unit to qualified 'listed buyers' registered with the state housing department.

Lim noted that the new rule will cover past and future acquisitions.

Moreover, the new rule also states that foreigners can only acquire properties valued at RM1 million and above, and RM2 million if it is a landed property on the island.

For their acquisitions, foreigners will be imposed a three percent levy. However, an exemption will be granted if the property is used for industrial purposes or to promote “employment, education and human talent.”

Meanwhile, “a two percent levy will be imposed on the seller, for all properties sold within three years from the date of the Sales & Purchase Agreement signed from February 1, 2014. Property bought with the SPA signed before February 1, 2014, will not be subject to this levy,” noted Lim.

He also clarified that the two percent levy will not be applicable to affordable housing.

Announced during the tabling of the 2014 budget, the new housing rules was refined for certainty and clarity during the last Penang state exco meeting.

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