M'sia is increasingly popular among foreign property buyers

KUALA LUMPUR (May 15): Malaysia is slowly becoming a popular destination for foreign property buyers around the region, particularly Singaporeans, not only because of geographical reasons but also of its affordability.

Chief executive officer and founder of PropertyGuru Group Steve Melhuish said there was an enormous amount of pressure among Singaporeans to look for affordable housing especially with government housing becoming increasingly out of reach.

Besides, with the hike in sellers' stamp duty to 16% by the Singapore government recently, he said it had heavily impacted on foreign investors who wanted to buy additional properties.

"People are becoming less positive in the Singapore property market. About 26% of the respondents we interviewed recently were considering investing in overseas properties and 35% were actually eyeing Malaysian properties," he said on Tuesday in conjunction with the rebranding of its Malaysian property portal, PropertyGuru.

The portal — formerly known as HomeGuru — has presence in ten countries including offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and partnerships with leading property websites in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Vietnam and China.

Melhuish said the average price of city apartments in Singapore were almost eight times higher than in Malaysia while rental yields in Malaysia were two to three times higher than its republic neighbour.

"A lot of expatriates working in Singapore are now living in Johor Bahru and travelling back and forth to the island everyday," he said.

Meanwhile, group country manager John Paul Sta Maria said the rebranding of HomeGuru and its northern Malaysia portal FullHouse to PropertyGuru Malaysia, had many advantages for foreign property buyers considering the volume and frequency of buyers looking for Malaysian and Singapore properties online.

Since going live in January 2011, HomeGuru has achieved over 120,000 property listings and is used by 3,500 real estate agents.

To strengthen its rebranding exercise, the group will invest more than RM5 million on advertising and publicity to build its brand presence across the nation. — Bernama

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