Recently, I’ve begun to look at two countries, Malaysia and Thailand, for buying an apartment or a house. I live in Thailand, but with the xenophobic and anti-westerner restrictions Thailand has in place when it comes to foreigners buying property, on my recent trip to Malaysia I looked at apartments there. Buying property in Malaysia is easy and, with its strong government and economy, makes a lot of sense. If you, like many other westerners who live in south east Asia, are thinking of buying a house or apartment in Malaysia or in Thailand, these are five reasons why Malaysia is better.
Prices of Property – If you compare buying a house or apartment in Malaysia with buying property in Thailand on average Malaysia is cheaper. Not only is the cost of the actual property cheaper, but closing costs etc. are lower than in Thailand.
Foreigners Can Own Land – Unlike in Thailand, where foreigners cannot buy a house as they are not allowed to own land (and you have to own the land your house is built on), Malaysia does not have this restriction. Foreigners can own any freehold or leasehold property with no restrictions, so, right away, your options for the type of property you can buy are many more than in a country like Thailand.
Stable Economy and Political Environment – Unlike Thailand, where the economy is unstable and where the current political situation could actually end up in civil war, Malaysia has a strong government supported by its citizens and one of the most stable economies in south east Asia. While Thailand’s economy fluctuates every year, Malaysia’s consistently grows. Buying property in Malaysia is a more secure investment, as you’re less likely to see the price of your property plummet after another political or economic crisis.
English Language Skills – All over Malaysia, in most areas, English is widely spoken. This means, if you have any problems with your purchase of a home, either before or after purchase, it’s easier to get help as you don’t have to speak Malay, Hindi or Chinese.
In Thailand, unfortunately, a low percentage of people speak enough English to be very helpful. Particularly outside Bangkok, in many areas of the country, you could be hard-pressed to find anyone who speaks English well enough to help. Even in Bangkok, finding workmen, contractors, repairmen that speak English is extremely difficult and can add to the stress of owning a home.
Tax Relief – Malaysia has been running a long-term program for several years called “Malaysia My Second Home”. It specifically allows for tax relief on money brought into the country for purchase of a home, tax relief for purchasing cars or other items relevant to moving to another country. Thailand has no such program.
Visas – Under the “Malysia My Second Home” program, visas are given to those who buy a home in Thailand, plus their immediate family members. These visas are valid for ten years and are renewable.
In Thailand, visas are impossible to get unless you work in Thailand or are retired and have more than $25,000 in a Thai bank account. Even if you own property and get a visa, there is no guarantee your yearly visa will be renewed.
With so many negatives against buying property in Thailand and so many pluses for buying property in Malaysia, I discovered quickly why I’m meeting so many westerners who are moving from Thailand to Malaysia. As one man at the airport told me yesterday, “I can live in Malaysia, cheaper, easier and with everything I can get in Thailand and more. It’s only a two hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok so I can visit if I want to, yet living in Malaysia offers me all the benefits I don’t get in Thailand”.
For others considering buying a home in Thailand or Malaysia, make sure you properly consider the above factors and more.
For more information, check out the Malaysia My Second Home website.
Malaysia My Second Home