Chinese buyers accounted for RM8.4 billion worth of property sales in 2018, which is 12.1% of the total transaction value and 0.4% of total transaction share, Chinese property portal Juwai.com and Malaysian real estate agency network IQI Global said in a report.
The report said Chinese buyers drove a significant multiplier effect as the impact of their investment spread to other sectors, such as retail, hospitality, manufacturing, banking, insurance, and transportation.
“There is a real debate in Malaysia about whether foreign investment is good or bad for the country. We wanted to find out for sure, so we put our researchers on the task.
“It turns out that foreign property buyers have a positive economic impact that goes well beyond the purchase price they pay and also well beyond the related taxes and fees,” said IQI Global group CEO Kashif Ansari.
He said Malaysia is not the only country that is vigorously debating the benefits of foreign real estate buyers.
“What makes Malaysia special is that it has a very vigorous and effective regime of policies that direct foreign buying into those parts of the property market that most benefit the country.
“In the US, for example, there are virtually no restrictions on offshore buyers,” he said.
However, he said the government of Malaysia has much more control over foreign property buyers than does the government in the US and many other countries.
Juwai.com executive chairman Georg Chmiel said the Chinese made 16.5% more enquiries on Malaysian property in the third quarter of this year than in the same quarter of 2018.
He said buying enquiries had declined from their peak in the first quarter of this year but remained above the average level in 2018.
“In the first half of 2019, Malaysia was the fifth most popular country for Chinese property buying enquiries in the world,” he said.
However, he said in terms of the total Chinese property investment value, Malaysia ranked lower with Thailand, Japan, Australia, and Canada, all ahead of Malaysia as the four most popular destinations for Chinese buyers.
“Malaysia is especially appealing to buyers motivated by lifestyle, retirement, or education,” he said.
He said the country has affordable standards of living, high quality of life, medical facilities, and accessible educational institutions.
“Malaysia consistently ranks among the best places to live. It’s simply a fantastic country. I know many Malaysians who are very proud of that,” he said.
He added that the Chinese who bought properties in Malaysia not only created local economic growth and jobs but also paid local taxes and fees and boost the tourism industry.
According to the report, approximately RM4.3 billion worth of new residential building construction in Malaysia is targeted at foreign and Chinese investors.
It said mainland Chinese buyers’ demand for residential property directly supports the employment of some 37,800 Malaysian and local foreign workers in residential building construction.