Saturday, 30 March 2013

Take note of market change, property developers told

March 30, 2013, Saturday

KUCHING: Property developers must respond to market change by providing houses that accommodate people with different needs and preferences.

In giving the advice yesterday, Assistant Minister of Housing Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said there would be an increase in the number of single households and people living with disabilities.

“We have to listen and better understand their needs so that our houses, neighbourhoods and services within them (the neighbourhoods) provide the support they require,” he said when opening the Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Home and Property Road Show 2013 at Boulevard Shopping Mall here.

Abdul Karim said the ministry would also ensure that some units of rental apartments were specially designed to meet the needs of the disabled and the elderly.

“For instance, the ground floor will be catered to the handicapped and those with special needs.”

He believed that more condominium projects would take place in the city in tune with the demand of the younger generation, particularly those who have resided abroad.

“Some young graduates who have lived overseas may prefer either condominiums or gated communities. There is no need for gardens and they can enjoy better security.”

The property market, he said, was expected to grow further this year in view of the encouraging trend last year.

The third quarter of last year registered a 65 per cent take-up rate on new launches, he added.

“New launches themselves were up by 10 to 15 per cent in 2011 overall, releasing pent-up demand after less than robust consumer sentiment in the previous 12 months.”

Given a population of close to 2.5 million in the state, Abdul Karim said it would mean a significant number of young Sarawakians “are now entering the property market, prompting more residential and commercial demand.”

He said 9,213 houses were built in 2010 against 11,004 units constructed in 2011, marking an increase of 20 per cent.

“As of third quarter of last year, 141 new housing projects were launched with 8,700 unit of houses constructed. The housing industry is booming indeed.”

He said the residential sector would make a prime driver of growth in the industry especially under the current economic climate, which saw Sarawakians becoming more affluent.

“This would mean that they would have more income at their disposal.”

He also called on private developers to provide affordable housing for the people to complement the government’s efforts.

“They should undertake this as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) because the government alone would not be able to fully meet the demand for affordable housing.”

To meet the rising demand for affordable housing, he said the ministry was in the midst of reviewing the policy to come up with a comprehensive approach and solutions.

Among those present were Sheda president Zaidi Ahmad and secretary-general Sim Kiang Chiok.

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