June 21, 2024

Understanding the Regulations

Malaysia is a beautiful country with a booming real estate market, making it an attractive destination for foreigners looking to invest in property. However, before diving into the market, it is important to understand the regulations surrounding foreign ownership of real estate in Malaysia.

Foreigners are allowed to purchase residential properties in Malaysia, but with certain restrictions. The minimum purchase price for foreigners is set at RM1 million (approximately USD 240,000) in most states, although some states require a higher minimum purchase price. Additionally, foreign buyers are not allowed to purchase properties designated for low-cost housing or properties on Malay reserved land.

Types of Properties Foreigners Can Buy

Foreigners can choose from a wide range of properties in Malaysia, including condominiums, serviced apartments, and landed properties. Condominiums and serviced apartments are especially popular among foreigners due to their modern amenities and convenient locations. These types of properties often come with facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, and 24-hour security.

When it comes to landed properties, foreigners are subject to certain restrictions. They can only purchase landed properties if the property is located in specific areas designated as “international zones” or if they obtain special approval from the state authorities. However, it is worth noting that these restrictions may vary from state to state, so it is important to consult with a professional before making any decisions.

Foreign Ownership of Commercial Properties

In addition to residential properties, foreigners are also allowed to purchase commercial properties in Malaysia. This opens up opportunities for foreign investors who are interested in starting their own businesses or expanding their existing ventures in the country.

Foreigners can own up to 100% of the shares in Malaysian companies that are involved in property development projects. This means that they can have full ownership and control over commercial properties that are developed by their own company. However, it is important to note that this is only applicable to certain types of commercial properties, and there may be additional regulations and restrictions depending on the specific type of business.

The Buying Process for Foreigners

Buying real estate in Malaysia as a foreigner involves several steps. The first step is to engage the services of a qualified real estate agent or lawyer who is familiar with the regulations and can guide you through the process.

Once you have found a property that you are interested in, you will need to prepare the necessary documents. This typically includes your passport, proof of income or financial capability, and a completed purchase application form. You may also be required to pay a booking fee or deposit to secure the property.

After the necessary documents have been submitted, the purchase process can begin. This involves signing the Sale and Purchase Agreement and paying the required fees and taxes. It is important to conduct a thorough inspection of the property and ensure that all necessary repairs or renovations are accounted for before finalizing the purchase.

The Benefits of Investing in Malaysian Real Estate

Investing in real estate in Malaysia offers several benefits for foreigners. Firstly, Malaysia has a relatively low cost of living compared to many other countries, making it an attractive destination for retirees or those looking to relocate.

Additionally, Malaysia has a stable economy and a well-regulated property market, providing a safe and secure investment environment. The country also offers a range of incentives for foreign investors, including tax incentives and the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program, which allows foreigners to obtain long-term residency in Malaysia.


While there are certain restrictions and regulations surrounding foreign ownership of real estate in Malaysia, it is still an attractive market for foreigners looking to invest in property. With the help of qualified professionals and a thorough understanding of the regulations, foreigners can navigate the buying process and take advantage of the opportunities available in the Malaysian real estate market.