Welcome to the land world
Can Foreigners Buy Land in Malaysia?
2020-11-10

Malaysia is one of the few Southeast Asian countries where foreigners are allowed to buy and own land. In Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, and some other countries, foreigners cannot buy or own land and it is even impossible to buy a house attached to the land. However, in Malaysia, the law was amended in 2006 to allow foreigners to purchase land. As a result, you can purchase a detached house with land in Malaysia. However, under certain circumstances, foreigners are restricted from buying. Buyers must pay full attention to these restrictions before purchasing.

  1. What are the Title types in Malaysia?

Property ownership in Malaysia can be divided into the following 3 categories.

a. Freehold: property rights are permanent

b. Leasehold: generally a 99-year title, the right to use the land is held by the cantonal government, and the land may be transferred, bought, or sold within this period of time. When the term expires, the land use right together with the property on the ground reverts to the government for free; when the term is about to expire, the land user has the right to apply to the state government to renew the use of the land and pay the necessary fees to the state government.

c. Bumiputera Reserve: The land is owned by Malays or natives. Non-Malays or natives are not allowed to buy or own the reserve in question.

It is also important to understand what is meant by Master Title, Individual Title, or Strata Title when buying property in Malaysia.

a. Master title: When a developer is granted a permit to develop a piece of land, the Land Administration will issue a master title to the developer for the entire development plan.

b. Individual title: When the building development is completed, the house will be handed over to the purchaser of the property. At the same time, the developer will start to apply for individual title deeds from the Land Administration. This type of building is mainly townhouses, villas, etc. where there is only one owner on the same piece of land, and the owner is the titleholder. It is also called landed title.

c. Strata title: This is generally used for multi-story buildings such as apartments, condominiums, commercial buildings, etc. It means that there are multiple owners on the same piece of land.

In addition, depending on the use of the land, the property can be divided into residential units, industrial units, and agricultural land. Different states have different requirements for the type of property that a foreigner can buy. Buyers need to be clear about the requirements of each state.

 

  1. What are the restrictions on foreigners buying properties in Malaysia

Although foreigners are entitled to buying property in Malaysia, foreigners must meet specific price requirements. Since each state has different laws regarding the acquisition of real estate by foreigners, the minimum price threshold limit varies from state to state.

Before we understand the price requirements of each state, we also need to understand something very useful, the MM2H visa. The Malaysia My Second Home Program program is a policy of the Malaysian government to attract foreign capital, promote tourism, and develop the economy in order to encourage foreigners to live in Malaysia for a longer period of time. The MM2H program has attracted a large number of foreigners to settle in Malaysia due to its lower threshold, easier procedures, and more favorable treatment, which has paved the way for Malaysia to attract foreign investment. Foreigners who have been granted the MM2H visa are also entitled to special concessions in the purchase of the property.

Following are the price threshold in different states.

State

Minimum Price

Under MM2H

Johor

RM2 million (landed property in international zones)

RM1 million (strata title & landed property within non-international zones, except for Medini)

RM1 million

Kedah

RM600,000 (Kedah)

RM1 million (Langkawi)

No requirement

Kelantan

RM1 million

RM500,000

Malacca

RM1 million (landed title)

RM500,000 (strata title)

RM1 million (landed title)

RM500,000 (strata title)

Negeri Sembilan

RM1 million (overhang landed property)

RM600,000 (overhang high-rise property)

RM 1 million

Penang

Overhang Landed property: 

RM1.8 million (island)

RM750,000(mainland)

Overhang Strata properties: RM800,000 (island)

RM400,000 (mainland)

RM500,000

Perak

RM1 million

RM350,000

Perlis

RM500,000

RM1 million

Sabah

RM750,000 (overhang units)

RM500,000

Sarawak

RM500,000

RM300,000

Selangor

RM2 million (for Zones 1 & 2)

RM 1.5 million for strata properties (overhang units in Zones 1 & 2)

RM1 million (for Zone 3)

RM2 million (for Zones 1 & 2)

RM1 million (for Zone 3)

Terengganu, Pahang, WPKL, Putrajaya

RM1 million

RM1 million

 

*Zones in Selangor

Zone 1 – Districts of Petaling, Gombak, Hulu Langat, Sepang and Klang

Zone 2 – Districts of Kuala Selangor & Kuala Langat,

Zone 3 – Districts of Hulu Selangor and Sabak Bernam

  1. What are the Property taxes in Malaysia

a. Stamp duty

Property Price

Stamp Duty

≤RM100,000

1%

RM101,000 – RM500,000

2%

RM500,001 – RM 1 million

3%

>1 million

4%

 

b. RPGT

RPGT represents the real property gains tax. Although not a cost of purchase, all individuals, including foreign buyers, are subject to RPGT on the taxable gain on the disposition of any property. However, the applicable RPGT rates for capital gains arising on the sale of the property will be different for citizens and non-citizens. For the sale of property by foreign buyers, the RPGT increases from 5% to 10% from the sixth year onwards. However, if you sell the property within the first five years of purchase, you will have to pay RPGT on 30% of the taxable gain.

 

c. Legal Fees

Property Value

Legal Fee

≤RM500,000

RM500

RM500,001 – RM 1 million

0.8%

RM1,000,001 – RM 3 million

0.7%

RM3,000,001 – RM 5 million

0.6%

> RM 5 million

0.5%

 

d. Agent Fees

A minimum of RM1,000 and a maximum of 3% of the selling price of the property as the commission is also payable if one seeks help from a realtor during the purchase process.

 

  1. Can foreigners get mortgages when buying properties?

Expats working in Malaysia, and MM2H visa holders, or those who have been granted permanent residency, can apply for a loan of up to 70% of the property value/sale value amount; other ex-pats can apply for a loan amount of up to 50% of the property value/sale value. Lenders can apply for loans up to age 70, but the loan term is limited to a maximum of 30 years. HSBC Malaysia, CIMB Band Malaysia, and Maybank are the major banks that provide mortgages to foreigners.

To apply for a loan from a Malaysian bank, you will need to join MRTA (Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance) which is a type of life insurance. However, the beneficiary here is the bank. It means that in case of death or Total Permanent Disable (TPD), the insurance company will pay the remaining loan amount to the bank on behalf of the borrower. The policy needs to be signed and concluded in person in Malaysia.

 

Conclusion

Malaysia is welcoming foreigners to invest in buying property and hence the restrictions on the number of property purchases, loan policies, etc. are very low. If the investor intends to live in Malaysia for a long period of time, the MM2H program is also a good choice, which will allow them to enjoy greater benefits in terms of education, property purchase and taxation.