Housing in Malaysia

Housing considerations are primarily based on location. Prices and amenities (transport, dining, entertainment, medical, education etc) tend to vary based on this as well. Just like anywhere else in the world the closer the property is to urban centers the higher the prices are likely to be, this is naturally offset by the convenience and facilities that these up-market properties are likely to offer. Prices also tend to fluctuate and you would be well advised to seek the services of a reputable and professional real-estate agency in whichever location you are considering settling in.

If at all possible try to get references from any contacts or friends already working and living in your desired location with regard to this, indeed if possible try getting references from your employer as there are many less scrupulous real-estate agents who will not hesitate to take advantage of an expatriate who is not well informed of the situation.

Property in Malaysia can still be construed as being cheap, and choices are still quite good, generally apartments, houses (linked, semi-detached, bungalows) and condominiums are of good quality. Make absolutely sure that you review the tenancy agreement if you are renting a semi or fully furnished property to make sure everything is in order before signing anything. If you plan to be in Malaysia in the long term purchasing property may be a profitable option.

Renting

Renting a property usually entails the following:

1. Signing a letter of offer and paying one month rent as an “Earnest Deposit”.

2. Pay two months rent, as a “Security Deposit”, paying a “Utility Deposit” (for electricity, power etc) the amount varies and depends on the property and landlord and lastly the payment of stamp duties and disbursements. All of which should be done within the next 7 days.

3. The Tenancy Agreement must then be signed and stamped and a copy must be retained by both you and your landlord.

In Kuala Lumpur, besides the criteria mentioned above, your choice of a property should also be influenced by traffic conditions. Quite apart from the usual crawl in the city center during rush hour, many highways leading into and out from the city are also regularly congested. Lately this problem has even spread to some primarily commercial and residential areas in the suburbs.

Therefore it is prudent to find a location close to where you will be working. If you are working in the city, the Bangsar, Bukit Tunku, and Ampang areas are choice. Prices in Bangsar and Bukit Tunku tend to be a little steep compared to Ampang but the dining and entertainment facilities in Bangsar and the natural, quiet surroundings of Bukit Tunku make up for it. Ampang is just straddling the city’s commercial / financial centre as well as embassy row; unfortunately, all too often it’s also ground zero for the city’s traffic problems. In the city fringes locations like Sri Hartamas, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam will be better if you’re working in the more industrial parts of the Klang Valley.

As a very rough guideline a comfortable house or apartment in the parts of K.L which expatriates favor such as Bangsar, Sri Hartamas and Ampang would cost roughly RM1500 to RM2000 in rental per month, a similar property in a quiet, respectable township further from the city centre such as Subang Jaya or USJ may cost RM1000 to RM1500, on the highest end, properties in the very affluent suburbs of Bukit Tunku or Bukit Damansara may go up to RM 15000 and beyond. However as indicated previously, these are rough “ballpark” figures and with time and a little effort you will definitely be able to find an affordable property in an area of your choice that will meet your personal requirements.

Buying Property in Malaysia

Popular buying areas : High-end residential property in the affluent Klang Valley continues to dominate the residential market. Other favoured areas are Bandar Utama, Kota Damansara, Sunway Damansara and Mutiara Damansara.

Price ranges : Vary as ever by quality and popularity of area but Malaysia offers a very wide spread of pricing bands. A 20% deposit of the house value is usually required.

Budgetary guide : Condominiums: US$ 66,000 to US$ 250,000, Bungalow: US$ 66,000 to US$ 225,000, Two Storey Bungalow (5 to 7 bedrooms): US$ 396,000 to $US 1.3 million, Luxury Villas: average US$ 925,000 upwards.

Overseas Investors : Foreign owners are permitted to buy up to two houses at a cost of not less than US$ 66,000 each, which also entitles them to a housing loan from a local bank. If selling a property they are subject to 30% Capital Gains tax.

Service Fees : Stamp, Transfer, Agreement and Registration Duty 1.5% to 1.75%, Loan Agreement 1.5% to 1.75%, Estate Agents Fees 3% up to US$ 132,000 2% thereafter. Bank loan processing fee US$ 13 US$ 53.

Mortgages : Loans of 60% of the purchase price are available to foreigners on the proviso that the property value is RM 250,000 and above. Current Base Lending Rate 6.8% per annum; loans are available up to a period of 20 years.

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