Kuching Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developer Association (Sheda) chairman Sim Kiang Chiok says there are several ways to keep costs down to make property prices attractive in the current market.
"New property prices are determined or based on various costs. The major ones are land, compliance, construction costs and margin the developer would expect for himself to put his capital, time and effort into the development," he opined.
He said on land and compliance costs, several proposals had been made to the government on how to reduce the cost of building homes.
Among the proposals are increasing infrastructure such as roads to open more land for housing to increase supply of land, increasing the number of houses allowed to be built per acre of land, increasing land supply by allowing automatic conversion from native land to mixed zone within 20km radius of cities and 10km within of towns in Sarawak.
"Also reduce compliance costs by reducing the approval time for planning layout, building plan, engineering plan, developer licence, advertising permit, road certification, occupation permit.
"Allow self-certification by consulting architect/engineer of the development to certify road certificates, occupation permit as in West Malaysia Certification of Completion and Compliance or CCC in short," he said.
He added that on construction costs of building houses, which involved many components, the most basic would be cement.
Sim said any increase in price for this basic material would affect the construction cost of building and the price of houses, "as there no other substitute".
"The other important material is steel which is needed in the structure of all modern design building. So, contractors and developers are affected when these prices are adjusted upward and will be passed on to the end users or house buyers.
"Ten years ago in Malaysia, we used to have price control on these basic materials but they were lifted and manufacturers are free to adjust their prices," he said.
He hoped that the prices of these basic building materials would not be increased too much and too quickly "so that we can continue to build houses at an affordable price for all".