Guidelines for foreigners buying property

Buying a property in your home country can be pretty daunting, let alone buying it in a foreign country like Malaysia. 

When my folks were looking for a condo in Penang, Malaysia in 2004, I must have viewed more than 30 properties with them. And that was just the beginning of the process! That was also beforethe increased buying restrictions on foreigners came in.

But, to be honest, Malaysia’s a pretty great place to buy (and live), and my folks haven’t looked back since.

And whether you’re planning to buy here as an expat or as a foreign investor, there are plenty of reasons to get stuck in.

So, to help you along, I’ve put together this guide to buying property in Malaysia as a foreigner...

Whether you’re reading this from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, the US, the UK, Hong Kong, or somewhere else - you’ll definitely find it useful.

Why you should buy property in Malaysia

If you’re reading this, you’ll probably have your own reasons for looking to buy property in Malaysia.

But in case you’re just exploring or not sure, here are a few great reasons:

  • Still super affordable. Despite the high growth over the last two decades, Malaysia remains an affordable place to buy. In the right places, you can get great value for money. The Ringgit is also relatively weak in relation to many currencies at the time of writing this.
  • Buying costs are low. Compared to Singapore, Thailand, Australia or the UK, the buying costs are still incredibly low at circa 4-5%.
  • Financing available, and free flow of capital. Firstly, a number of the banks are eager to lend to foreigners. And Malaysia places no restrictions on the transfer of capital (funds) to and from other countries.
  • Relatively low capital gains tax. The capital gains tax that the Malaysian government imposes on the sale of property, Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), is relatively low compared to other countries in the region - especially if you hold the property for more than 5 years.