Prices for heritage properties in George Town have risen drastically since the city was named a UNESCO world heritage site in July 2008.
Nonetheless, older properties here remain a good investment. The stock is of these historic properties is unique and finite, and are accorded extra value thanks to George Town's UNESCO listing, which prohibits their demolition.
George Town's popularity as a tourist destination continues to rise, and Penang has been recognised as one of the world's best places to retire.
Owners of unique, attractive and fairly-priced AirBnB properties in the center of George Town enjoy 80% occupancy and higher, annually. (We can introduce you to trustworthy individuals who manage vacation rental properties on behalf of absentee property owners.)
The currently depressed value of the ringgit makes investing in a unique heritage property in George Town more sensible than ever.
Foreigners can own landed property in Malaysia, freehold. You do not need to be a resident of Malaysia to purchase here. Mortgages are easily obtained by non-residents, from Malaysian banks (the current owners have one), generally up to 40% of the sales price and extendable to 30 to 40 years. Interest rates in Malaysia are low, and predicted to remain so for the foreseeable future.
In recent years, in a bid to protect George Town's unique heritage, the Penang state government has placed limitations on foreign purchases in the UNESCO world heritage site. Foreigners are now restricted to purchasing landed properties in George Town priced above 3 million ringgit.
The purchase process is straight-forward and transparent, requiring the buyer to retain a lawyer, apply to the state government for approval (a rubber-stamp process that takes about 3 months) and pay a fee of 3% of the sales price. The current owners are happy to provide a list of reputable local lawyers. (The lawyer does not negotiate price on behalf of a client; he or she merely facilitates the purchase.)
For those considering retiring in Malaysia, or obtaining a Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) retirement visa, it is worth noting that one-third of the amount of cash that foreigners are required to park in a Malaysian bank as part of the visa process can be withdrawn and put towards the purchase of a property.