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Where to invest: the popular places to buy property in Malaysia

If you’re thinking Malaysia may be the right place for you (and your money), the next question is where to make your property investment. Here are some of the places around Malaysia which are attracting buyers.

Kuala Lumpur

Population: 1.6 million

The financial heart and cultural mind of Malaysia, KL is at the centre of the action and the forefront of fashion. A city of approximately 1.8 million people (surrounded by a ring of satellite cities), KL offers an expat all the comforts of home. There are thriving commercial centres throughout the city with ample opportunity for shoppers and an endless string of world-class restaurants as well as humble hawker stalls.

Homes in KL vary from Semi-D bungalows along quiet residential streets to sky-high condominiums in the city’s “Golden Triangle” district.

Living near Putrajaya, the administrative capital, makes dealing with government services a bit easier, and with KLIA only an hour’s drive away, it makes home feel a lot closer.

Hotspots: Mont Kiara, Bangsar, Damansara Heights, Sri Hartamas, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Ampang, Golden Triangle/KLCC. If you’re coming from any urban centre, you’ll feel right at home. However, if KL isn’t what you’re looking for or if you prefer something outside the hustle and bustle of the city, here’s an overview of properties in other states. You should also bear in mind the further you’re out of KL, property prices are relatively cheaper.

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A closer look at the greater Kuala Lumpur property market

Selangor

Population: 6 million

Selangor is also the richest state in Malaysia in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) and second richest in terms of GDP per capita (at RM18,157 or US$4,907), behind Penang. On 27 August 2005, Selangor was officially declared the first developed state in Malaysia by the then state government.

Of the many urban centres in Selangor, Petaling Jaya is the prosperous region in terms of property development.

The Klang-Shah Alam corridor has also seen potential growth for residential addresses with the launch of projects such as Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Setia Alam, Setia Eco Park.

Promoted

Hotspots: Tropicana, Damansara Perdana, Kota Damansara, Bandar Utama, Puchong, Serdang in Seri Kembangan, Ampang.

Penang

Population: 1.5 million

The government recently revealed plans to develop the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) – an economic and social development initiative aimed at increasing the potential and income levels of Malaysia’s four northern states of Penang, northern Perak, Kedah and Perlis.

Penang will be heavily involved in the NCER and it is learnt that many highprofile projects have already been earmarked for the state. A second bridge to the island was completed in late 2013 to help with the traffic congestion on the current bridge.

The property market in Penang is also set to benefit from the NCER structural growth extension, according to a recent report released by Deutsche Bank. The developers too have high hopes of Penang competing for foreign investment under the MM2H programme, especially those high-end projects on the seafront.

Penang Island is beloved by expats who cite its cultural mix, heritage, food, and quality of life as some of its appealing factors.

Hotspots: Gelugor, Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi, Gurney Drive.

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The Penang property market and its special considerations

Johor

Population: 3.4 million

The third-largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, Johor neighbours Singapore and is a mix of modern culture, island life, urban settings, and ancient biodiversity.

Iskandar Malaysia, formerly known as Iskandar Development Region (IDR) and South Johor Economic Region (SJER) is the new main southern development corridor in Johor. The massive 2,217 sq kilometre enclave of Iskandar is 48 times the size of Putrajaya and three times the size of Singapore. The Iskandar Region is a major government initiative to attract foreign investment. Larger than Singapore, the area has residential, commercial, education and entertainment zones. It now boasts the first Legoland in Asia, which opened in 2012.

Promoted

The residential area is called Nusajaya and there are several new property developments completed or under construction which are attracting foreign buyers. Taman Laguna is also said to be the rising star in Johor Bahru’s property market. The development will be completed in stages and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

Hotspots: Johor Bahru, Danga Bay Area, Leisure Farm Resort, Taman Laguna, Bandar Nusajaya, Horizon Hills.

Read more
Iskandar Malaysia: “the world’s most ambitious development project”

Sabah

Population: 3.3 million

Abundant in lush rainforests, sub-aquatic splendour, magnificent mountains and colourful cultures, Sabah is a rugged place for adventurers, playground for divers and a paradise for anyone with the adventure to explore. As such, many expats have chosen to retire here.

Property developers have responded to demand by launching new projects for foreigners who are looking for exotic products under MM2H for investment purposes. Kota Kinabalu and Karambunai Peninsula are the top areas for people looking to invest. Sabah has one of the highest tourism growth rates in Malaysia. Suffice to say that the demand for holiday property is expected to rise.

Hotspots: Kota Kinabalu, Karambunai, Bandar Sierra.

Melaka

Population: 800,000 (state); 504,000 (city)

Melaka is a beautiful, historic town, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since July 2008. Schools such as a the Melaka International School and the Melaka Expatriate School cater to expatriate students, and hospitals such as Hospital Melaka and Putra Specialist Hospital (Melaka) offer good health services for those in need.

The tourism and manufacturing sectors are the two most important sectors in the state economy. Melaka has adopted as its slogan, “Visiting Melaka Means Visiting Malaysia.” It is rich in cultural heritage and has several places of historical interest.

Hotspots: A’ Famosa, Batu Gajah, Bukit Baru, Tanjung Kling, Melaka Raya.

Perak

Population: 2.3 million

The second-largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, the state of Perak (which means “silver” in Malay) derives its name from the silvery colour of tin, a once-abundant resource there in the late 19th century.

Ipoh, the capital of Perak, was renowned throughout the world in the 1800s for its tin mining industry. The city still maintains much of its quaint, classic, colonial charm and the surrounding environment is breathtakingly lush. With several high-end developments in and around Ipoh, this area is rapidly becoming a popular place to invest in property.

Hotspots: Ipoh and its surrounding areas, The Haven, Meru Valley, The Enclave.

Langkawi

Population: 64,800 (Langkawi Island)

Officially known as “The Jewel of Kedah”, Langkawi has been a popular tourist destination in Malaysia for many years now, but is increasingly attracting those looking to purchase or rent property.

This cluster of 99 islands (or 104 at low tide) is a haven for some of the world’s most beautiful rainforests, waterfalls, marine and coral reef life, and the slower pace of life is an added bonus to those seeking a new home. The main island of Pulau Langkawi is easily accessed by air or sea through its airport at Padang Matsirat and jetty at Kuah town. The island itself possesses an excellent road system and is one of the few duty-free zones in the country.

In June 2007, Langkawi Island was given World Geopark status by UNESCO. The three main conservation areas, popular with tourists, are Machincang Cambrian Geoforest Park, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest park (Island of the Pregnant Maiden Lake).

Another member of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) development programme, tourism and agriculture are the main sources of the island’s economic growth. Langkawi also hosts some major events throughout the year including the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition, the Langkawi Arts and Crafts Festival (LACRAF), the Langkawi International Water Festival, and the biennial Langkawi International Festival of Arts (LIFA).

Most of the land in Langkawi is designated as Malay Reserve Land, so owning property is very limited on the island itself. That said, as the international demand for second homes grows, any property that can be located and purchased would likely represent a sound investment.

Hot spots: Pulau Langkawi (the main island), Pulau Tuba, Pulau Rebak, and Pulau Dayang Bunting.

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