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Houseowners scaling back on renovation plans

Publish date: Sat, 15 Jun 2024, 08:54 AM

JOHOR BARU: Potential housebuyers are scaling down or even reconsidering their plans to renovate their homes following reports that some types of vehicles, such as those transporting construction materials, are not included in the Subsidised Diesel Control System (SKDS).

Communications executive Muhammad Ariff Mohamad Nizam, 32, who bought his first house two years ago, said he is now reconsidering his plans to renovate it.

Even without the diesel subsidy rationalisation, the cost of living, including construction, had already been rising, he added.

“I plan to renovate my house next year.

“However, I may need to re-evaluate my decision based on my financial situation.

“If I can still afford it, I will continue with my plans,” he said in an interview.

He added that the diesel rationalisation exercise should not be used as an excuse to increase construction and renovation fees.

“The government needs to monitor price hikes and beef up enforcement. Stern action must be taken against those taking advantage of the situation,” he said.

Businessman S. Kumar, 42, who wanted to carry out renovation work for his house porch, was shocked that the price of concrete had increased by almost 10% in the last few days.

“I bought premix concrete for about RM280 but it has gone up to RM305 for each metre.

“When I asked why, the contractors said it’s because of the diesel price increase,” he added.

Kumar said he had not choice but to go ahead with his plans as he had already bought the materials and hired contractors to do the job.

He is postponing other renovation work to his house until the situation stabilises.

Johor Master Builders Association president Dr Kong Weng Keong said the prices of construction materials had already seen an increase of between 2% and 3% since the targeted diesel subsidy exercise was implemented.

Among construction materials that are affected the most are cement, sand, concrete and cement aggregate (a mixture of gravel, sand and crushed rock to make concrete mixes more compact).

“The overall hike is between 2% and 3%.

“But if we take the high gross domestic product (GDP) of the construction sector into consideration, this is actually a very significant figure.

“We also face challenges in getting certain materials with suppliers claiming that they have run out of them,” he said.

Kong urged the government to work closely with the construction industry members, including suppliers, to investigate the reason behind the price hike.

“I am grateful to the government for taking prompt action to investigate the reasons behind the significant rise in prices.

“It is important for those involved to justify and explain their reasons for doing so. Otherwise, there will be a chain reaction that will lead to the rising cost of houses,” he said.

In Seremban, S. Sivam, 54, is worried that his son may not be able to afford to buy his own house.

“My relatives in Ipoh and Taiping have told me that house prices over there have increased recently.

“Young people, including graduates, cannot afford to even pay at current prices”, said Sivam, whose son is planning to buy a house near his workplace in Rawang.

A civil servant who only wished to be known as Rahmat said the authorities should check the quality of building materials used in new housing development projects.

He said since developers were not allowed to increase the prices of affordable houses in Negri Sembilan, he believed some contractors could resort to using inferior quality materials.

“Developers should be required to reveal to the authorities or the housebuyers where they source their building materials from to ensure that quality is good,” said Rahmat, who is in his 40s.

The state government’s housing policy states that at least 50% of a development larger than 4ha should comprise affordable houses costing between RM80,000 and RM450,000 each.

About 30% of houses in smaller developments should be in the affordable price range.

A junior bank officer who wanted to be known as Florence said based on past experience, she believed that a hike in prices would be inevitable.

“Businesses are lamenting the removal of diesel subsidy and we can expect an increase in house prices as well,” she said.

Florence, who is in her 20s, urged the state government to ensure developers strictly comply with the rules on affordable housing such as their size.

Self employed Amarjeet Singh, 48, who will start renovations to his house next week, said his contractor was complaining of the hike in prices of building material even before the increase in diesel price was announced.

“I was planning to renovate my house months ago and have already agreed on the price with my contractor.

“When I met him a few days ago, he did say things were costlier compared to last year, but we have agreed to maintain the cost of the renovation,” he said.

Amarjeet hopes there will be a new ruling where developers are required to state the prices of the houses when they submit applications for planning approvals and make sure these prices are not increased later.

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