Johor may cut RM1m threshold for foreigners to buy homes

JOHOR BARU • The Johor government is looking at lowering the RM1 million (S$330,000) threshold for foreigners to buy property as it aims to clear 51,000 unsold properties in the southern Malaysian state.

Johor's Housing, Communication and Multimedia Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad yesterday said homes 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.

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

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

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

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

Datuk Zuraida drew flak when she suggested that these units should be offered 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 alliance came to power.

Her response to the criticism was: "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 had said last week that the government was looking at organising a home ownership campaign in China or Hong Kong to attract buyers to Malaysian properties.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2019, with the headline 'Johor may cut RM1m threshold for foreigners to buy homes'. Print Edition | Subscribe