HK investors eye Malaysian property

PETALING JAYA: The ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong have resulted in a spike in interest in Malaysian property and in private international school enquiries.

A check with four property consultancies and a couple of international schools suggest that interest rose towards late June and early July this year. Hong Kong street demonstrations started in March/April but have become increasingly violent since.

SK Brothers Realty (M) Sdn Bhd general manager Chan Ai Cheng said there has been growing interest in Malaysian properties from Hong Kong investors.

“The interest is growing and I have heard that there has been an increase in property visits to Malaysia by Hong Kong tourists, ” she said.

Following the deepening political crisis in Hong Kong, Chan said many property investors there are looking to countries such as Taiwan and even Malaysia as a safer, alternative investment destination.

“Malaysia is certainly one of the countries on their list as an investment destination and there are a number of reasons for that. They feel that our property is of decent value and also very affordable.

“Culturally, they also feel comfortable with our environment.”

Chan added that language is also not a barrier to investors from Hong Kong.

“In Malaysia, speaking English, Cantonese and Mandarin is an appealing trait. They also like our country for the educational facilities and amenities. We have a number of good international schools here.

“Another attractive quality is the food. So, it’s not surprising why many choose Malaysia as an ideal place to invest or even stay, ” she said.

A check with property developer Sheng Tai International Sdn Bhd, which has been organising “property tourism” trips to Malaysia in the last two to three years, showed that there has been “more interest” in its properties starting June, a staff said, requesting anonymity.

As interest starts to swirl in the property sector, the local education system is also seen as a beneficiary from the ongoing turmoil in Hong Kong.

A private international school which offers Australian and British education in Malaysia said it has noticed a spike in enquiries for its Australian intake which begins in January 2020. The British syllabus trimester begins in August.

The source said that it did not have many students from Hong Kong prior to the street demonstrations and is uncertain if the enquiries would result in registrations.

“Interest centres on primary school and below, for children aged three to 11 years old, ” the source, who is involved in the Australian syllabus, said.

Interest in Australian education started coming in early July. Another education source said her school saw a spike in enquiries in late June and early July.

Property consultancy Rahim & Co said the ongoing public demonstration and violence is “likely” to spur more interest here, as Malaysia is already known as “a good value option”.

Malaysian properties cost a fraction of those in Hong Kong and come with a larger space.

A tourist considering a Malaysian purchase said it is common for an entire family to live in a 500-sq-ft space, considered as a shoe-box sized unit here.

Street demonstrations have rocked Hong Kong of late. The now-abandoned extradition bill, which revolved around extraditing alleged criminals to China for trial, caused unhappiness which has evolved into pro-democracy violence on the streets, in the airport and on its public train transport system.

It was also reported recently that people from Hong Kong are increasingly seeking out properties in Singapore.

VPC Alliance Kuala Lumpur managing director James Wong said more Hong Kong people would be buying property in Malaysia to retire or as their second home under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

“The Hong Kong people have a general tendency to migrate to Canada, Australia and New Zealand rather than to Malaysia. Some may consider buying and living in Malaysia but no strong buying wave is expected, as Malaysian immigration laws for emigration are strict, ” Wong said in an email.

Guidelines for foreigners to purchase property in Malaysia need to be further relaxed, including state governments, to remove the price threshold for foreigners to purchase property in Malaysia and for further relaxation of the MM2H, said Wong.

Singapore property developer CapitaLand’s joint-venture residential project with Malaysia’s ParkCity Group in Kuala Lumpur achieved strong sales during its priority sales launch over the weekend of July 27 and 28. The 505-unit development, called Park Regent, saw more than 353 units (70%) being sold at an average selling price of RM1, 100 per square foot.

CapitaLand is one of Asia’s largest diversified groups. The development is located in Desa ParkCity, Kuala Lumpur, and comprises six apartment types of one- to four-bedroom units. Prices start from RM860, 000, and units range from 872 sq ft for a one-bedder to 4, 887 sq ft for a four-bedder. About 80% of buyers are Malaysians.

A source related to the project said they would be marketing the project abroad, including Hong Kong.

Also set for a possible launch in Hong Kong, among other destinations, is Tun Razak Exchange’s TRX Residences, by Lendlease. Australia’s property and infrastructure group, the largest land owner in TRX with 17 acres, is developing a mixed-use project in TRX comprising retail, residential, a hotel and a park.

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