Malaysia Ranks Second Among China Residential Buyers in SEA, Reports Real Estate Firm

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Malaysia has consistently ranked among the top three Southeast Asian countries favored by Chinese property purchasers over the last five years. Explore the factors driving this trend.

KUALA LUMPUR, 4th Apr 2024 – In 2023, Malaysia ranked as the second most sought-after Southeast Asian destination for China property buyers, attributed to its strategic location, economic stability, education opportunities, and expanding real estate sector, as reported by IQI Global.

On Wednesday, IQI Global, a part of the real estate technology conglomerate Juwai IQI, revealed that Malaysia has consistently ranked among the top three Southeast Asian countries favored by Chinese property purchasers over the last five years. In 2023, Malaysia surpassed Vietnam to claim the second spot.

Juwai IQI co-founder and group CEO Kashif Ansari stated that Thailand has consistently held a higher rank than Malaysia as a preferred destination among Southeast Asian countries. Thailand has maintained its position as the top choice for Chinese buyers since before 2018.

“We anticipate Malaysia will continue to hold its ground in the competitive Southeast Asian market for the next couple of years,” he remarked.

IQI’s research revealed that Chinese buyers express a desire to reside in Malaysia while also viewing their property acquisitions in the country as lucrative investments.

In addition to the prevalent motivation among China buyers to enroll their children in local international schools, IQI highlighted the lucrative segment of retirees as well.

According to IQI, retirees from China, alongside those from the UK and various European regions, are increasingly selecting Malaysia as a retirement destination due to its lifestyle offerings and cost-effectiveness.


“Retirees opting for the Platinum MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) visa must deposit a minimum of RM5 million upon entry to Malaysia. Consequently, these retirees contribute substantially to the local economy.”

“Chinese retirees usually don’t reside here throughout the entire year. They frequently return to China to visit relatives and friends. Based on our interactions with clients, our best estimate indicates that Chinese retirees with residences in Malaysia spend approximately 150 days annually here. While there isn’t concrete data available, this estimate is derived from our client discussions,” Kashif explained.

Malaysia competes for investments into Southeast Asia

While Malaysia remains a favored investment destination, Kashif noted that the landscape of foreign buyers in Malaysia mirrors the rivalry among Southeast Asian countries for Chinese investment, spanning residential real estate and other economic domains.

“The economic growth in China over recent decades relied heavily on foreign investment. However, Southeast Asia now surpasses China in receiving foreign direct investment. With Malaysia actively attracting a portion of this investment, it anticipates rising levels of prosperity and economic advancement in the future,” he stated.

“Moreover, significant investments in new infrastructure projects like the Johor Bahru–Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link attract substantial funding. Buyers perceive these developments as enhancing property values, creating a self-fulfilling cycle,” Kashif explained.

“We anticipate ongoing fluctuations in conditions, with Malaysia continuing to reap the rewards of investment shifts towards ASEAN. Foreign buyers are attracted to the country’s desirable lifestyle offerings, affordability, and strategic location,” he commented.

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