Foreign investors flocking to Malaysia
By James Roberts

Foreign investors flocking to Malaysia

Malaysian property looks set to be the subject of considerable foreign investment, according to the Global Property Guide. Property analysts told the Malaysian Insider that buyers from Singapore and Hong Kong are now looking to the country to escape high taxes. For Singaporeans in particular, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Iskandar-Malaysia and Penang are proving to be the most popular spots for real estate holdings.

A recent survey by iProperty.com also revealed that among Singaporeans, Britons and Australians, Malaysia is now the next top preference for overseas investment. For Singaporeans, the strength of their currency against the Malaysian ringgit is a particular draw for the country. However, buyers are unlikely to be entering the country in a mad frenzy over the coming months. According to Seulyn Wong, a property investment strategist at Ironfish Australia, people are now being more selective.

She told the Borneo Post that the market's momentum is slowing, causing investors to take a slightly different approach. “While there are still good factors around, such as the relatively low interest rates in Malaysia, investors are watchful of developments in political and economical fronts in Malaysia, regional and worldwide,” she said.

Currently, rental yields in the country stand at 6.21 per cent and property price rises are slowing, making conditions attractive to buyers. This slowdown began in the first quarter of 2012, with the Global Property Guide reporting Valuation and Property Services Department figures showing a 2.8 percentage point decrease in growth between Q1 2012 and Q1 2011.

This has arguably made the market more attractive to investors, particularly from Singapore. In December 2012, Steve Melhuish, co-founder and chief executive of Property Guru Malaysia, explained to The Edge that Singaporeans are drawn to the country due to its near proximity to their home nation and its comparatively lower cost of purchasing real estate. It is also cheaper to maintain property in the country, which makes real estate ideal for release into the buy-to-let or holiday rental markets.
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