Kota Kinabalu property – top tips

Here are ten insider tips by FazWaz Malaysia for figuring out the Kota Kinabalu property industry.

  1. The much-awaited Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) has begun with a promise of up to RM16 billion in development funds to be allocated over a five-year period. As part of the massive project Kota Kinabalu will be developed into an impressive gateway with improved infrastructure and an expanded airport. Top of the list will be the development of the Kota Kinabalu City Harbour Front project stretching from Tanjung Aru to One Borneo.
  2. Kota Kinabalu has been one of the key beneficiaries of the aforementioned Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MMH2H). It has proved particularly popular with buyers from Arab nations after the Malaysian Tourism Ministry opened offices in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
  3. Buyers should be aware of the various charges they have to pay when purchasing a unit. These include stamp, transfer, agreement and registration duty which amount to between 1.5 and 1.75 per cent, loan agreement of 1.5 to 1.75 per cent, estate agents fees of around 3 per cent on properties valued at less than US$132,000 and 2 per cent thereafter. Bank loan processing fees are normally between US$13 and US$53.
  4. In Malaysia, apartment and condo are the same meaning. Most condo/apartments will have condominium facilities and security services. Flats generally are of medium or low cost and in most cases would not have the facilities enjoyed in condominiums.
  5. Overseas buyers must buy properties with a minimum cost of RM250,000 if they are to avoid having to negotiate the FIC regulations.
  6. The city and its environs have been targeting the high end of the international residential market, and with some considerable success. One development which is proving popular is d’Banyan Residency, five minutes from Kota Kinabalu city centre.
  7. The main residential neighbourhoods, which play host to the existing condo projects and are likely to be subject to the attentions of high rise developers in the future, are divided into the villages of Kampung Ganang, Kampung Inanam Laut, Kampung Kepayan, Kampung Likas, Kampung Menggorok, Kampung Sembulan, Kampung Sukang, and Kampung Tanjong Aru.
  8. Loans of up to 80 per cent of the purchase price are usually available to foreigners on the proviso that the property value is RM 250,000 and above.
  9. Malaysian banks sometimes hold auctions of distressed property and this should be the first port of call for those considering taking on a renovation project in Kota Kinabalu.
  10. Most Malaysian banks will lend up to 80 per cent on bona fide property developments from reputable companies to suitably qualified foreign buyers. If a local Malaysian bank won’t lend on it then don’t buy, even if you don’t need to finance the purchase.