Here are nine insider tips for figuring out the Penang property industry. Penang’s property market is set to benefit from the spillover from the government’s NCER infrastructural growth initiative. Potential buyers should examine the various facets of the project to maximise their investment.

Penang State recently made efforts to change leasehold rules. Penang Chief Minister has been encouraging leasehold landowners to apply to the state government for a conversion from leasehold land to freehold. The new land policy would allow 30-year, 60-year or 99-year residential leasehold land to be converted into freehold land on a case-by-case basis. Experts say such initiatives could raise property value by between 25 to 30 per cent.

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Key areas for people moving to Penang to retire and those buying holiday homes are places along coast such as Batu Ferringhi, near the sea or in the Tanjung Bungah.

In Malaysia, the terms apartment and condo have the same meaning. Most condos or apartments will have condominium facilities and security services. The term flats generally means medium or low cost units which in most cases would not have the facilities available in condominiums.

Loans of 60 per cent of the purchase price are usually available to foreigners on the proviso that the property value is RM 250,000 and above. The current base lending rate is 6.8 per cent per annum, and loans are generally available up to a period of 20 years.

Prospective buyers should familiarise themselves with payments and fees involved in their purchase. The first Schedule of the Solicitors Remuneration Order 1991 for example, sets out the fees to be collected by lawyers for work done in handling the sale or purchase of house based on the purchase price. Charges are as follows: 1 per cent on the first RM100,000.00, 0.5 per cent on the next RM4,900,000.00 and 0.25 per cent on the remainder.

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Opening an account in Malaysia is relatively easy. Once you decided to purchase the property your lawyer will introduced to you to a suitable bank. With internet banking you can access your account in English at all times from anywhere, check balance, transfer funds and even pay utilities bills.

When international brand hotels hit locations en masse, it is normally safe to conclude that demand for property in the area subject to their attentions will spiral upwards. The Accor Group will open four new hotels in Malaysia, its regional vice president has Gerrard Guillouet said.

Condominiums go for between US$ 66,000 and US$ 250,000, bungalows for US$ 66,000 to US$ 225,000, two-storey bungalows (five to seven bedrooms) for US$ 396,000 to $US 1.3 million and luxury villas average US$ 925,000 upwards.