Buying Property in Penang

Hi All

My husband and I are planning on retiring in Penang.  We are currently investigating the difference between purchasing a property and renting.

We know that on an MM2H visa we have to spend a minmum of 500K to purchase.  What we would like to know is what ongoing costs are involved in owning property eg council rates, body corporate fees etc

Any information would be appreciated.


As an owner you would have to pay any communal maintenance charges which pays for the upkeep of common areas, pool maintenance, security etc. This is agreed by the Joint Management Committee and levied as a fee per sq m of the property owned (that is why it's impossible to quote charges here). Other fees are local council ground rent and annual building insurance and possibly something called "quit rent". Apart from that it would be services as per consumption for water, sewerage, electricity, etc. The issue with purchase is that because of an oversupply of properties and a penchant to buy the latest developments, the resale market is sluggish in many cases. Rents are highly negotiable as well. It may be advisable to get to know Penang before buying, especially as there are major infrastructure developments slated where the final impact will not be known for several years.

Thanks - that is all very helpful.

Definitely would advise to rent for a year or two, before deciding whether to buy.There are Facebook Groups in Penang which are very interactive and property purchase and renting was discussed recently. Perhaps signing up would keep you in the loop of daily life here (mainly about living on the island). They are Expats in Penang, Partners in Penang and Penang Expat Women.

renting is definitely our first port of call - we want to make sure we settle in the location that best suits us.

I will have alook into the FB groups - appreciate the tip.

There are some very major infrastructure projects at the moment either starting or in the pipeline. So their impact is important to take into consideration and being on the spot is the best way to hear about developments. It looks as though some of them will be affecting the up until now most popular areas for expats in the NE part of the island. (I live most of the time in Penang).

Oh good to know.  Do you anticipate the impact being positive or negative?
somewhere between Tanjung Bungah and Georgetown is where we have been looking.

We haven't settled on a final location yet but at this point in time Penang is at the top of our list.

My husband is very keen on golf so wherever we end up will have to have easy access to a golf course or 2.

Tanjung Bungah and Tanjong Tokong are likely to be affected by new roads and flyover construction plus there is a monorail slated from the Straits Quay area down through Gurney / Kelawai, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah and into GT. At the moment the whole of the foreshore in Gurney Drive is a constuction site and a tunnel is planned to have it's entrance in this area, as well as a major inter-change at the "Plaza" end of Gurney. A new island is also being built off Straits Quay. So nothing is what it seems on paper right now. Everything changing.

WOW - we are coming over at Christmas for a week so I guess we will see for ourselves then.

Here is the plan on different levels … ster-plan/

thanks - massive project - based on our limited experience of traffic in Penang I would suggest it will be strongly supported by the residents.

We are currently undergoing similar instrastructure changes in Melbounre CBD.  They are causing short term pain for long term gain.

This plan for the development of Gurney Drive (reclaim and foreshore) has just been released  It's well underway and expected to be completed in 2018 (apparently) Note entry into tunnel..... It does rather play down the highway that will be present.

There is something which most people from other countries cannot understand is why in Penang, when a buyer purchases a subsale  property through a housing agent he/she is being asked to pay 1% commission plus 6% GST on the commission to the agent instead of the seller paying everything. Is this a norm for all or  is it only for  foreigners who has to pay.

Property is a State matter so normal practice differs. In Penang commission is shared between owner tenant and owner purchaser. But feel free to negotiate

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