What You Should Know About Buying Properties in Malaysia as a Foreigner
Are you looking to buy properties in Malaysia as a foreigner? If you are interested, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will cover some of the basic points of buying properties as a foreigner in Malaysia.
Malaysia is one of the most popular destinations for expatriates to live on the planet. It’s a relatively inexpensive country to live in for foreigners. The food here in Malaysia is great, the weather is always sunny if not wet during certain times of the year. Locals know how to speak English on top of their own mother tongue and Bahasa Melayu. What’s not to love?
However, if you wish to buy properties in Malaysia then there are some things you should know first. Before you buy that property, here are some things you should know about buying properties in Malaysia as a foreigner.
I am a Foreigner. Can I Buy Properties in Malaysia?
The short answer: yes you can. There are even housing programs just for expatriates and foreigners too.
The biggest question to ask as a foreigner who wishes to own a property in Malaysia is the location. Where should you buy your property? Where do you look? By the way, the definition of a foreigner is outlined in the National Land Code 1965 – any natural citizen who is not a permanent resident of Malaysia.
You will first need to attain permission to buy properties in Malaysia as a foreigner. The permission has to be granted by Malaysian lawmakers for a start. The state is able to mandate individual requirements or payment terms at its own discretion. Though you may be able to buy properties in Malaysia, you may have to pay a transaction sum for the privilege in some cases.
What Property Can A Foreigner Buy?
Before we go any further in this article, we must mention here that there’s no complete definition and law that covers all of Malaysia (West Malaysia and East Malaysia). West Malaysia has its own set of rules on what properties a foreigner can buy. So do Sabah and Sarawak, which both states are in East Malaysia (Borneo Island). However, the general rules are the same (or at least close).
Here are a few basic established rules when it comes to foreigners who wish to buy properties in Malaysia:
- Foreigners cannot buy properties that are built on Malay reserved lands
- Foreigners cannot buy low-cost and medium-cost affordable properties as ruled by the Malaysian government and its state governments.
- Foreigners cannot buy properties that are allocated to Bumiputera groups as part of any development project.
- Certain properties valued at less than RM1,000,000 cannot be bought by foreigners.
Though these rules and laws may come across as a tad bit excessive, we’d say you shouldn’t worry too much about it. There are so many other kinds of properties you can still buy as a foreigner in Malaysia. You can buy anything from townhouses to condominiums. These are everywhere in the country.
Perhaps to help you kick start your search for a property to buy, check out this article on what kind of common properties you can find in Malaysia.
Buy a Property Under the MM2H Scheme
The Malaysia My 2nd Home (MM2H for short) is a Malaysian scheme to allow foreigners to buy properties in the country. It offers a renewable 10 year (maximum) multiple entry visa for foreigners.
Note that the criteria may differ between West Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak. It needs you to show a certain level of financial liquidity. These are usually proven through offshore income or cash in your bank.
After that, you will need to be sponsored by a Malaysian citizen. However, if you are in West Malaysia, you can get a registered MM2H agent to replace a citizen sponsor. You can also get certain benefits in owning properties in Malaysia, such as discounts on certain kinds of available properties.
Do note that since August 2020, this MM2H programme has been halted and frozen by the Malaysian government until further notice. This suspension is due to the current ongoing COVID19 infections that’s hit every country.
Can My Foreign Spouse Inherit my Malaysian Properties?
Property Ownership by States for Foreigners
Here is a series of tables of minimum prices if you wish to buy properties in Malaysia as a foreigner. Each state has different rates.
Stamp Duty and Legal Cost
When buying a property anywhere in the world, it’s only normal to have to pay for stamp duties and legal costs. Here are the legal cost and stamp duty stipulations for any foreigners who wish to buy properties in Malaysia.