Putrajaya says FundMyHome not a monopoly, more players welcome

Tony Pua said the government expects more platforms like FundMyHome to surface once the nuts and bolts of the scheme have been ironed out by the first quarter of 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Tony Pua said the government expects more platforms like FundMyHome to surface once the nuts and bolts of the scheme have been ironed out by the first quarter of 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — The peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform, FundMyHome, will not have a monopoly over the newly-proposed home financing scheme sector, the political secretary to Minister of Finance Tony Pua said today.

The Damansara MP said the government expects more platforms to surface once the nuts and bolts of the scheme have been ironed out by the first quarter of 2019.

“Let me explain, FundMyHome is not a monopoly,” Pua told a forum on Budget 2019 organised by AmBank here.

Sceptics of the scheme have raised questions over how FundMyHome have been entrusted to lead the pilot project, after it was revealed that the platform’s owners are linked to leaders within the Pakatan Harapan government.

Pua explained that the scheme was included under PH’s maiden budget as part of efforts to seek “innovative” solutions to the country’s housing problem.

Financing has been found to be the chief factor preventing lower income earners, or the “B40s”, to buy homes. Most are unable to pass banks’ strict loan requirements and buy their first home.

But even for aspiring homebuyers, many aspects of the new scheme remain murky and confusing.

Interest groups have also echoed their scepticism over how effective the financing vehicle can be in addressing structural issues facing the housing market.

Among crucial problems raised are the ability for buyers to secure even a 10 per cent down payment and eligibility.

AmBank group chief executive Datuk Sulaiman Mohd. Tahir, who was among the panellists at the forum, said surveys found most lower income earners cannot even afford the 10 per cent minimum upfront payment.

The peer-to-peer scheme ostensibly matches new home buyers with financial institutions.

Buyers must put up 20 per cent of the purchase price while the remainder will be borne by potential investors that will gain an interest in the appreciation of the property.

“So where are they going to get the remaining 10 per cent from for example?” The AmBank executive said.

“I think these are some of the issues that must be looked into.”

There is also the question around risk. Rehda chairman, Datuk Jeffrey Ng, said there were concerns about how the buyer would bear all the risk if the home value depreciates.

Pua in response said the concerns raised were valid, and that Putrajaya will look into the scheme’s potential loopholes as they work towards regulating and tightening the policy.

Among the stringent measures will be requirements for platforms to meet a capital threshold.

“If something wrong happens, than they will bear all the wrongs,” the Damansara MP said.

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