Malaysia processing fee for property buyers
By Peter Mindenhall

Malaysian property to be subject to processing fee

The cost of investing in Malaysian property will rise next year when the government introduces a processing fee for overseas buyers of local real estate. Jahor state executive councillor for housing and local government, Datuk Abdul Latiff Bandi, announced the new condition, Bernama reported, which will see an increase from the current RM 10,000 (£1943.46) fee. The government claims the measure is to protect Johorean interests, preventing foreign investors from inflating prices.

The processing fee will be between four and five per cent of the property value purchased indirectly. This will allow the government to better control the sale of properties to foreigners. "For instance, foreigners buying a property worth RM5 million, they have to pay only RM10,000 as processing fee currently. From next year, they have to pay based on the property value," Mr Latiff Bandi told the news provider.

The fee will be used towards projects and programmes to enhance people's development once it comes into force. Currently, the condition is tabled into the budget sitting of the state legislative assembly, Bernama revealed. The budget will take place on October 25th and there is hope it will be a "far-sighted" one. Speaking at a property developers forum, HomeGuru Sdn Bhd country manager, Gerard Kho explained that this is not the time for being dovish and reactionary. Instead, officials must be proactive to create consistency in policy, increased investor confidence and a "robust market that offers long-term investment prospects with lower risk".

Despite the new processing fee, it is expected the budget will be a positive one for the property sector, with stamp duty exemptions and bonus incentives for first-time buyers. However, to attract more investors - both domestic and international - to the rental market, Mr Kho believes the government should introduce tax exemptions on rental income for the first three years. This is designed to prevent speculation, encouraging buyers to keep properties for longer and ensuring a more sustainable property market condition for Malaysians.
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