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Going long-haul Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 09:55

There are bargains and good investments to be had for those willing to go long-haul. Richard Neville finds out what Malaysia has to offer second-home buyers

Published: 10/02/2009

FOR those in search of that perfect second home in the sun, it might be time to look to more distant horizons.

With the pound struggling against the euro, Mediterranean countries might not seem so attractive. There are still plenty of bargain flights to Europe, but they do not feel as cheap as they used to.

Waiting in the wings to capture the second-home market is Malaysia. Far away you might think, but there are bargains, and good investments, to be had for those willing to try the concept of long-haul living.

The Malaysian government is investing in its flagship Malaysia My 2nd Home (MM2H) programme, which offers settlers a range of tax benefits and a long-term visa. The only rule is that settlers must maintain a set bank balance, and they are not allowed to earn money in Malaysia other than from property.

So what is on offer in Malaysia?

Value for money for a start.

You can pay £500,000 for a huge house with umpteen bedrooms, a swimming pool, maids’ quarters, top-of-the-range fixtures and fittings in the most trendy areas of Kuala Lumpur, or you could restrict your budget to £50,000-£100,000 and get a new two or three-bedroom apartment in a condo development with communal pool on the holiday island of Penang.

Developers are falling over themselves to design new apartments and houses to suit European tastes. The Clearwater Group, for example, has three main developments in KL to cater for different sectors. The Clearwater Residence is described as “boutique serviced residences with a wellness and holistic concept”. Its Bluwater Estate is a combination of green and luxury living and its Heritage development is designed for families.

Elsewhere in KL, there are golf developments, such as Valencia, where luxury villas have been developed around an existing golf course. Choice is not a problem.

Under the MM2H programme, you do not even have to buy a property to benefit from having a tax-free income. Likewise, there is no need to commit to buying a property to secure the 10-year visa.

Several of the leading estate agents and property agents, including Henry Butcher, offer five-star “golden holidays” where your flights and accommodation are free if you decide to buy a property during your trip.

The long-term economic situation is as difficult to predict in Malaysia as it is anywhere else in the world. However, the Asian banking system is in better shape than in Europe and America after learning lessons from its own crisis in the mid-1990s. Malaysian banks are willing to sell mortgages to buyers from Britain of up to 80% of the value of the property.

Having a second home so far away does have its disadvantages. Travel is obviously more difficult, so the choice of country is important.

The MM2H programme is targeting the generation who are retired or semi-retired – people who can commit to more than a two-week holiday and the odd weekend here and there.

Foreigners who have bought homes under the MM2H programme have formed their own community with the help of the Expat Group, a company that acts as an agent for would-be property buyers. There are social events and gatherings to swap experiences and advice, or to simply to make friends.

Few people who have chosen to settle in Malaysia have anything negative to say about the country, other than the driving and choked-up roads.

Many point out that the relative affluence of the country and its multicultural and multi-faith society make it a safe place to put down roots.

But it is Asia, not Europe, and it is a long way away.

The key to buying or renting property anywhere abroad, especially somewhere like Malaysia, is to try before you buy. Holiday anyone?

For more information:

www.mm2h.com

www.expatkl.com

www.clearwater.com.my

www.valencia.com.my

www.henrybutcher penang.com

 

Source : Press and Journal



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