How Foreigners Can Invest in Malaysian Real Estate

How Foreigners Can Invest in Malaysian Real Estate

Malaysia is fast becoming one of the most sought-after destinations for real estate investment in Southeast Asia. The country’s stable economic growth, political stability, and diverse culture have made it a popular destination for foreign investors. But for foreigners who are not familiar with the local real estate market, investing in Malaysia can be a daunting task. In this article, we will explore the different ways foreigners can invest in Malaysian real estate.

1. Purchasing Property

Foreigners can buy residential property in Malaysia, subject to certain conditions. The minimum purchase price varies depending on the state and the type of property. In most states, the minimum purchase price for foreigners is RM1 million ($240,000) for landed property and RM2 million ($480,000) for strata-titled property. However, in some states like Johor and Malacca, the minimum purchase price is lower for foreigners.

Foreigners are also required to obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) before buying property in Malaysia. The application can be made directly to the FIC or through a local lawyer or property agent.

2. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

Another option for foreigners is to invest in Malaysian REITs. A REIT is a company that owns and operates income-generating real estate properties such as shopping malls, office buildings, and hotels. Investing in REITs is a passive way to invest in Malaysian real estate without the hassle of managing a physical property.

Foreigners can invest in REITs listed on the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange, subject to the same regulations as local investors. They must have a Malaysian trading account, and dividends and capital gains are subject to withholding tax.

3. Joint Ventures

Foreigners can also invest in Malaysian real estate through a joint venture with a local partner. This option allows investors to leverage the expertise and knowledge of a local partner while also providing access to the local market.

Joint ventures can take many forms, including investing in a development project, buying an existing property together, or forming a property management company. Foreigners need to engage a local partner who is familiar with the local market and regulations to ensure a successful partnership.


1. Can foreigners buy commercial property in Malaysia?
Yes, foreigners can buy commercial property in Malaysia subject to the same conditions as residential property.

2. What are the taxes and fees associated with buying property in Malaysia?
Foreigners are subject to the same taxes and fees as locals, including stamp duty, real estate agent commission, legal fees, and transfer fees. The buyer also needs to pay a withholding tax on the seller’s net gains.

3. Are there any restrictions on selling property as a foreigner?
Foreigners can sell their Malaysian property, subject to a capital gains tax and approval from the FIC.

4. Can foreigners obtain financing to buy property in Malaysia?
Foreigners can obtain financing from Malaysian banks, subject to certain conditions. The loan amount is usually up to 70% of the property value, and the interest rates and terms vary depending on the bank and the foreigners’ creditworthiness.

In conclusion, real estate investment in Malaysia offers a significant opportunity for foreign investors. With the right local partners and thorough research, investing in Malaysian real estate can yield high returns. Whether through purchasing a property, investing in REITs, or joint ventures, foreign investors have various options when it comes to investing in Malaysian real estate.

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