Expat Exchange
Free MembershipSign In
View from The Kuala Lumpur Tower

Real Estate in Malaysia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Expats and retirees talk about real estate in Malaysia? How do you find a home in Malaysia? Should you buy or rent? What is the cost of housing?

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Malaysia?

"We live in a 4 bedroom standalone house [bungalow]. Most expats take either a house or apartment, depending on whether or not they have children, or major security concerns. Apartments have better security and amenities, but are typically smaller. Many houses have pools," remarked another foreigner who made the move to Kuala Lumpur.

Answer this Question

What is the average cost of housing in Malaysia?

If you are thinking about moving to Malaysia, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"It's higher. A good furnished apartment in Georgetown would cost around RM.1500-3500 ($450 - 1100)," said another person in Penang.

"Housing rental charges are a lot higher here than in my native New Zealand. Typical monthly rental for a house is between 8000 and 12000 ringgit - say 2500 to 4000 USD. Apartments are cheaper, maybe 1000 to 2500 USD per month," added another expat who made the move to Kuala Lumpur.

Answer this Question

Should I buy or rent a home in Malaysia?

If you have not spent a lot of time in Malaysia, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"If you are over 50 or have children attending a Sarawak school (including International Schools) you are not REQUIRED to purchase property. Those 40-50 without kids can purchase a property to qulify though. BUT anyone on S-MM2H CAN buy property if they wish. There are some restrictions. It must be zoned residentially and have a structure on it or being constructed. It cannot be land zoned exclusively commercially, zoned for agricultural, or reserved native land. And if Landed Property it must be valued above a floor of RM600,000 in Kuching, or RM500,000 elsewhere. That's about US$135,000-$113,000. According to the Sarawak Lands Ordinance of 2019 one can purchase strata property (apartments or condos with no ownership of the underlying land) at any price. There is no floor. And one can rent property virtually anywhere and at any price. I rent, primarily because the property market is a buyers/renters market with a lot of vacancies. If a bargain dream-home emerged I might jump. But I live in the midtown area and prices are a little higher here. Downside of condo life is that many units don't allow pets," said another person in Kuching.

"We have rented an apt, fully furnished. It's wonderful. We pay more than the average rent for a local because of the location and size. The best way to find good apartments is to walk around in areas you like and talk to the security guards. They know everything," remarked another foreigner who made the move to Penang.

Answer this Question

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

View from The Kuala Lumpur Tower

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Contribute to Malaysia Network Contribute
Help others in Malaysia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Malaysia.

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Guides to Cities in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Malacca Penang
Country Resources
Health Insurance Moving & Shipping More Resources

Copyright 1997-2022 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal