Many Hong Kong people are looking to Malaysia as a venue to invest in properties for their second home or retirement. Popular areas are the urban centres of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru owing to "affordable prices amid a supply glut", wrote the South China Morning Post. Terence Law, Senior Principle Project Director at Centaline Property Agency, told SCMP that about 35% of his Hong Kong clients were buying Malaysian property for retirement or as a second home.
Of note, Law revealed that "more than half of the 21 units released on June 7 at a condo project in Johor Bahru" were taken up "within the weekend by buyers from Hong Kong".
He explained to the daily that property prices in Johor Bahru are "much lower" compared with other cities in the region. "Much lower" means about "half the price of an average home in Bangkok and about 20 times cheaper than prime locations in neighbouring Singapore", Law said.
Meanwhile, according to Melissa Lee, Associate Director of valuation and advisory services at Colliers International, Johor's cost of living "remains among the lowest in the world".
"Particularly with the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme. It remains a target for retirees," she told the Hong Kong-based English daily.
Meanwhile, National Property Information Centre (Napic) records show that in 2018, about 32,000 residential properties worth about RM19.9 billion "remained unsold across the country, almost a threefold increase over four years". Johor accounted for the largest number at 6,066 unsold units.
"Currently, the occupancy rate for high-rise apartments in Johor is about 50%."
"For newer high-rise apartment developments, the present occupancy rate is estimated to be about 30% or less," Tan Ka Leong, Director of property firm CBRE-WTW (Johor) told SCMP.
He added that his figures do not include unsold units in the Forest City mega-development, which will be able to host about 700,000 residents when completed by 2035.