Johor govt mulling over lowering RM1m threshold for property purchases by foreign buyers

A photo taken on Aug 28, 2018, shows a model of the Forest City project at the showflat gallery in Johor Baru. PHOTO: ST FILE

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Johor government is looking at lowering the current RM1 million (S$330,000) threshold for foreigners to buy property, as an incentive to clear 51,000 unsold properties in the southern state.

Johor's Housing, Communication and Multimedia Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad said properties priced at RM600,000 and above make up between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of unsold properties in the state.

"Among the incentives that we are looking at is to review the RM1 million threshold of property prices for foreigners to buy property in Johor."

"The matter will be reviewed by the state Land and Mines Office as the matter comes under their jurisdiction," he said, when met at a property fair held at a shopping mall here on Friday (Sept 20).

The Kota Iskandar assemblyman said lowering of the minimum threshold for foreign buyers would not lead to an increase in property prices for Johoreans.

The minimum RM1 million property prices for foreigners was introduced by the previous administration to stabilise domestic prices. The move forces foreigners to buy units in the upper end of the real estate market, while leaving the cheaper-priced options for Malaysians.

Federal Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said on Monday that "luxury properties", including commercial units, valued at around RM100 billion were unsold in Malaysia.

Property units each costing RM1 million and above are usually deemed luxury properties in Malaysia.

Datuk Zuraida drew flak when she suggested that these luxury units should be sold to mainland Chinese and Hong Kong buyers, as the Pakatan Harapan government had campaigned against foreigners buying many units of Johor's Forest City project before the four-party alliance came to power.

Her response to the criticisms: "We are trying to resolve the current (oversupply) situation to spur the economy.

"It will help in terms of economic prospects, job market, and to invigorate affordable housing projects."

Ms Zuraida last week said the government was looking at organising a Home Ownership Campaign in China or Hong Kong to attract buyers to invest in Malaysian properties.

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