Both foreigners and local investors are subject to similar property regulations in Penang and in Malaysia in general. Malaysia’s land tenure is based on the Australian system of land ownership – the Torrens system.
Foreign interests are permitted to acquire residential and commercial properties where the cost exceeds RM150,000 per unit instead of RM250,000. This covers all types of residential property, shop houses, office space and business space.
Acquisitions of land for the purpose of development into a housing project, business property or industrial area must be made through a local company in which the permitted foreign equity is 70 per cent. Land prices are comparatively high in areas close to Georgetown. However, those interested in buying land or houses in Penang tend to take up residence outside the city limits.
Key areas in this regard, which are particularly popular with people moving to Penang to retire and those buying holiday homes rather than ex-pats planning to work in Georgetown, would be along the coast in places such as Batu Ferringhi, near the sea or in the Tanjung Bungah.