Real estate expert Ernest Cheong reckons that the cheapest home on the market probably costs about RM100,000 unless it is heavily subsidised by the government.
He explained that the typical construction cost is around RM100 per square foot (psf).
"So if you're building a house or apartment spanning 1,000 sq ft, it will cost RM100,000. And the units can't be smaller than 800 sq ft or they will be too small to live in. Even for a 800 sq ft unit, the construction cost alone would be RM80,000. And then there'll be the consultation fee.â€
This is his response to REHDA President Seri Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor's statement that there is no demand for low-cost flats in Bukit Beruntung priced at RM42,000.
"This is due to the lack of job opportunities in Bukit Beruntung. The developers initially hoped to cash in on Proton and others planning to set up factories and firms there to create a satellite town 20 years ago. However, this did not happen" Cheong noted.
"The developers were hoping that Bukit Beruntung would turn out to be like Petaling Jaya. So, they developed houses there, hoping people would move there. Unfortunately, there was a sudden change of plans.â€
But the property surveyor pointed out that if the affordable dwellings are near job opportunities, there would be many potential buyers as these people won't have to spend too much on transportation.
In regards to Iskandar's suggestion that 40 percent to 50 percent of low-cost houses should be constructed by the government near MRT lines, he agrees that the typical Malaysian would want live near transport infrastructure.
However, Cheong noted that the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Corp had already snapped up all land near MRT stations two years ago. Even if private developers manage to secure a site near them, these companies are unlikely to build low-cost homes as these plots are expensive.
"MRT Corp is not going to surrender these valuable pieces of land to developers to build affordable homes. If MRT Corp wants to build homes, it will do so on its own" he added.