WITH RM20 billion worth of residential overhang in the local property sector, Malaysia should be more open to foreign buyers with higher spending power to enter the market.
Encouraging more foreigners to take up the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme and invest in Malaysian properties could help ease the glut in the property sector, said the Malaysian chapter of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI).
Its president Michael Geh said it could help resolve the issue of unsold units in the country.
The Malaysian Institute of Professional Estate Agents and Consultants (MIPEAC) concurred with FIABCI.
MIPEAC president Francis Loh said it would be a waste not to strengthen the promotion of MM2H and encourage more foreign investments in the sector.
MM2His a housing programme catered to foreign retirees and working expatriates who are keen to have a second home in Malaysia.
Foreigners can buy a penthouse, condominium, landed properties including terraced houses, semi-detached homes, villas and bungalows, commercial property, industrial property, agricultural land and land that are priced more than RM1 million each in most of major states.
They are not allowed to buy properties valued less than RM1 million, those built on Malay Reserved land, low- and medium-cost residential units and properties distributed to Bumiputera interest in any development projectas determined by the state authority.
Quite a few expatriates in Malaysia have opted to purchase a residential property either as a second home or for retirement purposes in the last two to three decades.
The applicants are mostly retirees from developed countries such as United States, Europe and Japan, as well as China.
Since its inception in 2002 up to August 2017, the MM2H programme has granted close to 36,000 MM2H visas. A bulk of the approved applicants come from Asian countries (28,652), followed by Europe (4,291),the US (1,334), The Pacific Islands (1,019) and Africa (432).
MIPEAC believes that more can be done to encourage foreign buyers and investors to enter Malaysia’s property market.
“In general, efforts to drive in foreign investments in other segments like commercial and industrial properties should be taken more seriously as well. High-end developments can be marketed more intensively globally, together with the on-going efforts done on the tourism sector.
“Although stricter background checks for MM2H applications have been implemented recently, MIPEAC applauds the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s efforts to speed up the approval process of the backlogged applications by setting up a special task force,” said Loh.