House owners get good bargain

LIFESTYLE HOMES: Prima Houses comparable to high-end projects

Visitors at the PR1MA Seremban affordable show house yesterday. Pic by Khairull Azry Bidin

SEREMBAN: MIDDLE-INCOME earners from around the state who made a beeline for the unveiling of the 1Malaysia Public Housing (PR1MA) Seremban are counting the days to when the houses go on sale next year.

Their enthusiasm is understandable as not only will they be offered the homes at a price much lower than what’s available in the open market, the designs of the houses will be comparable to high-end projects that would normally be beyond their financial capability.

This observation was in tandem with PR1MA’s claim that their units would be comparable in quality with “private developers’ lifestyle homes”.

PR1MA Seremban, a maiden affordable housing project established by the government to promote home ownership among Malaysians in that income bracket, was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday in conjunction with the Jelajah Janji Ditepati roadshow held here.

The houses, which will be located in Seremban2, Senawang, Rasah and Northern Seremban, are aimed at middle-income earners living and working in Seremban and the surrounding areas.

Offering 5,700 units, comprising double-storey terraced houses and high-rise residential blocks, work on Phase One will begin in the first quarter of next year.

The houses are expected to be completed and ready for occupancy by 2015.

PR1MA chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias said the Industrialised Building System would be applied for the project, adding that he expected that the project would be completed earlier than scheduled.

“PR1MA is mandated with making home ownership more affordable for middle-income earners, and today, we are moving closer to fulfilling those aspirations. If need be, we have land to build up to 10,000 units of PR1MA homes in Seremban,” he said, adding that the project would be the first to be designed, developed and managed by PR1MA.

Najib also took a tour of the show house which featured a green back lane concept with a communal garden.

Mutalib said PR1MA homes would be gated communities and the communal gardens were to foster better interaction between neighbours and encourage more community-related activities.

He said PR1MA was also in the midst of addressing several issues concerning the affordable housing programme, including that of end-financing for those eligible.

Applicants are eligible to take part in the PR1MA programme if they are Malaysian, aged 21 and above, and have a gross household income of between RM2,500 and RM7,500 per month.

They should also work or live in the area where the project would be developed and not own more than one other home in the country.

Meanwhile, PR1MA chairman Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis, when asked about similar projects being carried out in prime areas of the Klang Valley, said while the government was focused on providing public housing, it could not build such homes in “prime” areas, including in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle.

However, he added, this was balanced by ensuring that the houses that are built in “four-star” areas were provided with sound connectivity.

“They will be able to enjoy the quality of life through housing units of this kind,” he said, adding that those under the PR1MA programme could expect to live in a self-sufficient, self-contained neighbourhood where societal infrastructure and facilities like the 1Malaysia Clinic are readily available. They could also expect their quit rent to be subsidised, although this is not a guarantee.

Jamaludin also said the PR1MA system allows mobility for the buyers as those who had purchased smaller units and would later want to upgrade to larger homes, could resell the property to PR1MA and opt for another unit.

However, units purchased cannot be sold in the open market as underlined in a 10-year moratorium clause.

The government, in acknowledging that comfortable and affordable housing was one of the most important basic necessities for the rakyat, announced in the 2013 Budget on Friday that it would allocate RM1.9 billion to build 123,000 affordable housing units in strategic locations next year.

The initiatives will be implemented by PR1MA, Syarikat Perumahan Nasional Bhd (SPNB) and Jabatan Perumahan Negara.

Najib, in tabling the Budget, said a total of RM500 million would be spent by PR1MA to build 80,000 houses in major locations nationwide, sold at between RM100,000 and RM400,000 per unit.

Among the locations are Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, Johor Baru, Seremban and Kuantan.

In addition, PR1MA will provide the Housing Facilitation Fund, totaling RM500 million, to build houses in collaboration with private developers.

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