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Malaysia as a second home, anyone? Print E-mail
Sunday, 17 January 2010 00:57

The number offoreign buyers has quadrupled since 2004.

Malaysia is a “hidden real estate paradise” with affordable commercial space and choice of a home-away-from-home, says Mr Kumar Tharmalingam, Member, Board of Governors, Malaysia Property Incorporated.

Mr Tharmalingam is in India promoting Malaysia as an option for those looking at investing in real estate overseas. Whether it is a company expanding its operations or someone on the lookout for quality living space Malaysia can cater to their needs, he says.

Selling in India

Malaysia has so far promoted real estate investments opportunities in markets in South East Asia, Australia, the UK and the Middle East and is now promoting itself in India. Increasingly Indian companies are looking at Malaysia — costs are growing for them in Singapore and other South East Asian countries — for its lower land cost, he says.

MPI, a Malaysian Government initiative, is organising a property expo in Chennai from January 22 to 24 featuring ‘the best of Malaysian Real Estate' which coincides with the CII's partnership summit 2010.

Real estate business contributes to about a third of Malaysia's GDP. In 2008 it accounted for about RM 1 billion in revenue, about 10 per cent more than it contributed in the previous year. Persons of Indian origin contribute a significant portion , says Mr Tharmalingam whose family migrated from India to Malaysia four generations back. Indians are also among the leading property investors in Malaysia after Singapore, the UK and Korea.

Malaysian real estate has weathered the downturn of 2008 better than most other countries in the South East and market sentiments have been on the upswing from the end of 2009. This year “a flurry of launches” is anticipated for both commercial and residential space in major cities such as KL, Penang, Johor and Kota Kinabalu which is a reflection of the market demand. Depending on the location, properties in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor could range from $150,000 to $300,000.

Govt policy

Foreign investments in Malaysian real estate are driven by the Government policy. Foreigners can own freehold property in Malaysia unlike elsewhere in the South East; and property values are among the lowest in the region with capital appreciation at 5-6 per cent, a reason why the downturn in 2008 was not a major shock to investors in Malaysian real-estate. Malaysia-My-Second-Home encourages overseas pensioners and expatriates who have worked in Malaysia to buy property. They can stretch there pension funds more in Malaysia, he says.

Most important, the Torrens land law system is transparent and title disputes are avoided. “If your name is on the title you are the owner,” says Mr Tharmalingam. The number of transactions by foreign buyers has increased four-fold to more than 5,000 in 2008 from 1,275 in 2004. . These do not include those of foreign companies that set up shop in Malaysia. Typically, companies first lease property and after consolidation begin to own property.

Over 120,000 residential units are built every year in Malaysia and 90 per cent of them are sold leaving a small surplus. Home loan rates are around 7 per cent with a buyers' margin around 15 per cent. Commercial property supply matches demand with 1.8-2 million sq.ft built every year , he said.

Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/iw/2010/01/17/stories/2010011750801300.htm



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