In the latest budget the government is apparently only allowing foreigners to buy properties in excess of RM1m, or houses in excess of RM2m. So if you just want to rent, then it doesn’t affect you. From memory, Japanese and English people are the two nationalities who have taken up more MM2H visas than others. Japanese mostly rent, so it is no problem for them. But many of us (English) prefer to buy so we can renovate the property to suit our own taste and convenience, and at these prices, many other countries’ property prices are more attractive.
In addition the Penang government wishes to impose a surcharge of 3% on foreigners’ property purchases.
Then the federal government wishes to impose draconian capital gains taxes, making it uneconomic to move, as if your property has increased in value, then so have others, but you lose a large chunk in CGT, so need extra money to cover the increase on the new property you wish to purchase. The most economic place to move is out of the country.
So, they prefer foreigners not to buy property now? Before they wanted us to buy property.
Certainly, we spent a lot of money and employed a lot of people renovating our property. That was a big contribution to the local economy. Had we continued to rent, then they wouldn’t have had this input. And living here we contribute to the local economy, by patronising the local businesses.
Thus, if you already own a property and do not wish to move, or are happy to rent, then MM2H will work for you still. Otherwise… Germany, Malta, Turkey, Thailand, Panama, Ecuador, Uruguay are a few countries you could investigate where you can buy cheaper property and have a nice environment.
But the government changes requirements for the MM2H visa every three months or so, so they may decide these new impositions do not apply to MM2H holders. We shall wait and see.
And then the awful GST is coming soon…
A little more information here.
All this is a pity, because Penang has greatly improved since we first moved here six years ago, and looks like a lot more improvements are coming.