Langkawi property – top tips
Here are ten insider tips for figuring out the Langkawi property industry.
- Langkawi’s cost of living is particularly low thanks in part to its status as a tax-free island.
- Langkawi’s tourism industry received a major boost last year when it was granted World Geopark status by Unesco. This move is bound to provide a visitor surge which in turn will have a knock on effect on the island’s popularity as a location for investment by overseas buyers.
- Langkawi’s geographical position means it is sheltered by the mountainous backbone of Peninsular Malaysia, and therefore escapes the northeastern winter monsoon entirely. Langkawi enjoys sunny skies when the eastern provinces are largely flooded.
- Much of Langkawi’s overseas property market stems from the countries in its immediate vicinity with buyers from Singapore, which is only 32km away, being chief among them. Singaporeans, at present, make up 14 per cent of overall buyers
- Foreign buyers in Malaysia have also been encouraged by the recent abolishment of the real estate property gains tax and the fact that there is currently no more need to see FIC approval (for properties above RM250,000).
- The main island’s town of Kuah, situated on the south-east coast of Langkawi island, is the main focus of property investors. Further, the area around the recently-completed 205 berth marina is proving to be of particular interest where those who buy into the locale have easy access to duty-free shops and a range of business facilities.
- The recent trend towards private villa residences attached to major hotel chains has really taken hold in Langkawi, and not just in Kuah’s marina area. One such project is the Westin Langkawi Resort and Spa which opened last December on a peninsula to the south of Kuah.
- Malaysian banks sometimes hold auctions of distressed property and this should be the first port of call for those considering taking on a renovation project in Langkawi. Many units however, are left to fall in disrepair and wind up on auction due to the fact that buyers were hasty in their purchase and ended up with a unit in a bad location.
- Much of the land in Langkawi has been designated as Malay Reserve Land by the Malay Reservations Enactments. It appears however, that with the help of legal experts land designated as Malay Reserve Land can have its title changed and can then be bought by a foreigner and used for building a villa, or indeed bought with a villa in place.
- Most Malaysian banks will lend up to 80 per cent on bona fide property developments from reputable companies to suitably qualified foreign buyers. If a local Malaysian bank won’t lend on it then don’t buy; even if you don’t need to finance the purchase.