Cement affecting house prices

Cement affecting house prices
Published: 28 August 2007

The Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) has appealed to the State Government to help check rising costs in the State’s real estate and housing development sector.

President Kong Kwok Wah said the members were celebrating this year’s Shareda Nite amid some concerns, especially the sharp rise in the price of steel bars and other building materials as well as the shortage of cement in Sabah.

The inconsistent supply of cement had been adversely affecting house prices, he said, Saturday. Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor was the guest-of-honour.

"This is a serious situation not only to housing developers, but may also affect the implementation of government projects. Although we do not like to see any increase in cement prices, we could understand if supply could be assured," he said.

Shareda hoped Hajiji would use "his influence to open up the market for import of cement". At the same time, Shareda also reiterated its call for the Government to seriously consider setting up a second cement plant in Sabah.

Kong said the rising costs occurred not only in building materials but also in land such as in the State Capital where land prices had appreciated significantly in recent years.

"We appreciate that rising costs are often inevitable, however, we would like to think that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing or the State Government as a whole is monitoring the situation, and will introduce appropriate policy initiatives to prevent costs from running away," he said.

Although in the final analysis the costs are inevitably passed down to consumers, Shareda would wish to continue to build and sell houses at affordable prices, he said.

Besides these concerns, the issue of reasonable time required from the submission of applications to convert land use and subdivision of titles had yet to be resolved.

"The good news is that we have been given assurance by the Director of Land and Survey Department that moving into the new premises coupled with additional senior officers assigned to deal with the matter, I believe we will make good progress in the near future," he said.

On another note, Kong reiterated the call for the State Government through the Tourism Ministry to actively include Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme in its overseas tourism promotion agenda.

"We need the Government’s support to make MM2H a win-win programme for tourism as well as the developers and the State as a whole," he said.

Kong said there was some positive sign when Shareda was invited by the Sabah Tourism Board to discuss overseas promotion a week ago.

Kong also said that Shareda is expected to give out the inaugural Excellence Award for the real estate and housing development industry in Sabah this year.