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I recently came back from my 3rd visit to Kuala Lumpur.
Every time I go there, I understand more and more why it’s ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Southeast Asia.
It’s developed, has great medical care, nice weather, and one of the best cuisines in Asia. You have no issues to communicate in English as it’s an official language.
And maybe most importantly, property is surprisingly cheap with prices that are incomparable to places like Singapore, Mainland China, and Hong Kong.
In fact, property prices are on par with Manila and Ho Chi Minh City. At the same time, yields average of around 5% in a city that’s way more developed.
In this article, I explain how you can buy a condo or apartment as a foreigner in Kuala Lumpur, one of the major hubs in Southeast Asia.
Minimum investment requirements in Kuala Lumpur
Even if Malaysia allows foreigners to buy and own any kind of property, including landed houses and commercial property, people often decide to buy a unit in a condo. The main reason is the convenience and standards that follows.
Each province has a minimum investment requirement when foreigners buy property. In Kuala Lumpur, the minimum price is RM 1 million (around USD 250,000).
The average price of housing is a bit more than RM 750,000 in KL at the moment I’m writing this article (around twice as much compared to Malaysia as a whole).
Thus, the minimum requirement of RM 1 million leaves you with the option to buy a condo that is well above the average standard.
You’ll have no difficulties to buy a unit in a condo in one of the central areas.
Kuala Lumpur’s property market
Property prices have been in decline in Malaysia since 2012, Kuala Lumpur has been hit hard too. With the new government in place, the future looks a bit brighter though.
Still, we cannot expect extraordinary price increases in Kuala Lumpur during the coming time. Hopefully, the property market will improve from the second half of 2019 and beyond.
Rental yields are still fairly high and average at around 5%.
Thus, don’t stare blindly on price appreciations, buying a condo unit in KL can bring in good rental incomes.
Best areas to buy property in Kuala Lumpur
Foreigners often tend to buy property in areas that are safer and host a larger amount of expats, and other foreigners. Such places include Bangsar, Mont Kiara, KLCC, and areas close to Changkat road.
Properties in these areas are usually sold with a higher price tag, but are still affordable compared to Singapore and Shanghai, for example.
Buying a condo at Changkat road (Bukit Bintang)
The downtown area of Bukit Bintang is one of my favourite places in KL. You’ll be able to find everything from shopping malls, bars and Japanese restaurants here.
Just meet up at the Pavillion, take the escalator to the 6th floor and you arrive at Tokyo Street, where you can find all-you-can-eat Yakiniku restaurants for as little as RM 50 (USD 12).
Even if this area is quite touristy, you’ll also meet many locals that spend a couple of nights here every week.
When I lived in KL, I escaped the loneliness in the local areas of Gurney, often moving to a café or bar in Bukit Bintang.
One of the most popular bar streets, Changkat, is also located here and many foreigners look for condos that offer a view of the spectacles that occur on this street.
This is the place where you can go alone, ending up talking rugby with locals or talking with foreigners who are just on a short stopover.
If you pass through Changkat, you’ll most likely end up at Jalan Alor which is a huge food street, offering everything from deep fried durian and coconut ice cream, to seafood and Thai delicacies.
Condo prices in Bukit Bintang (near Changkat road):
According to Propertyguru, 1-Bedroom condos and small 2-Bedroom condos can start from as little as RM 400,000 (USD 98,300), while prices go up to RM 5 million (USD 1.25 million).
Just keep in mind that the minimum investment requirement is RM 1 million (USD 250,000) for foreigners in Kuala Lumpur. This leaves you with the option to buy more high-end or bigger units.
For example, Agile Bukit Bintang is an off-plan luxury condominium project set to finish in 2023. Here, you’ll be able to buy a 108 square meter unit starting from RM 1 million (USD 250,000). This equals to RM 9,260 (USD 2,310) per square meter.
Compare that to Bangkok, where new condos often cost as much as USD 7,000 – 8,000 per square meter around Asoke.
Buying a condo at KLCC
If you’ve never visited Kuala Lumpur before, KLCC is the area where Petronas towers are located (in the Northern parts of the city center).
You’ll be able to find many high end hotels and luxury condos in this area, with a walking distance to the major attractions in Central KL, including Bukit Bintang and one of the most popular bar streets, Changkat.
Expats from all over the world buy or rent units I condos here, thanks to the high standards offered. Geographically, it couldn’t be better either.
Kuala Lumpur is expected to grow much the coming decade, it’s been somewhat unnoticed in the past. More and more foreigners from the Middle East, East Asia, and Western countries the potentials here.
This leaves you with an option to also rent out your property, bringing in good rental incomes. In fact, a condo at KLCC can bring you around RM 5,000 or more a month.
Condo prices at KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre):
KLCC is one of the most expensive areas to buy real estate and many developers build luxury condominiums here.
For example, Aria Luxury Residence is a luxury condominium project finished in 2019. Here, units cost around USD 4,500 per square meter.
Stonor 3 is another project built in 2019 and where the price per square meter is around US 4,300.
Buying a condo in Bangsar
Bangsar is located in the Southwestern parts of KL, it’s more relaxed compared to the above mentioned areas and suitable for foreign families who wish to have some peace.
Many of the people living here are wealthy local people or expats, therefore, you’ll have no issues to find high end diners or shopping malls.
But you’ll also find cheaper options.
While Bukit Bintang has Changkat road, Bangsar competes areas like Telawi, which has one of the best bar streets in KL.
Bangsar condo prices:
Bangsar is comparably expensive and a popular area among expats and wealthy Malaysians.
The Establishment is a condominium project finished in 2018 with prices averaging at around around USD 3,800 per square meter.
ViiA Residences is another high-end project to be finished in 2020. Here, the average price is around USD 4,200 per square meter.
Real estate agents in Kuala Lumpur
Some of the biggest and most popular real estate agents in Kuala Lumpur are:
- Henry Butcher
- AVID Estates
- RE/MAX Malaysia
- Huttons OneWorld Property
- Knight Frank
- IQI Realty
- Dutama Properties
- CBD Properties
You can contact a handful of them and see what they have to offer. You’ll have no issues to communicate in English, or find a real estate agent that can offer services in Mandarin or Cantonese, if that’s what you need.
KL is one of the most developed cities in Asia but is surprisingly cheap compared to places like Hong Kong, Singapore and the big cities in Mainland China.
You have no issues to get around in the city and communicate in English or (often) Chinese, which makes it one of the favorite places for expats and foreign investors.
If you buy a property in KL, be prepared to pay at least RM 500,000 (USD 250,000), which is the minimum amount foreigners need to use when investing in a property.
I hope that you found this article interesting and recommend you to read my separate country guide that explains how foreigners can buy property in Malaysia.