State may tighten rules for foreign property buyers

The Penang government may revise present guidelines for foreigners buying property in the state in view of the declining value of the ringgit.

State Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said he would meet with stakeholders next week to discuss the guidelines which restrict foreigners from buying landed homes of not more than RM2mil on the island and RM1mil on the mainland.

“We’re concerned about the spiralling property prices which have been compounded by foreigners snapping up homes due to a weaker ringgit,” he said after closing the Property and Investment Expo at Sunway Carnival Convention Centre in Seberang Jaya yesterday.

Jagdeep said there had been a steady increase of foreigners buying property in Penang since 2012.

“A RM1mil home may cost only US$250,000 now which is an attractive purchase for foreigners.

“If the value of ringgit declines further, the property market will get extremely hot,” he said.

“While we believe in the free market and encourage foreigners to buy property here, it must not be at the expense of the locals who will not be able to buy property in their home state if the prices continue to increase,” he added.

Jagdeep said the rise in property prices affected mainly the high-end units as the government was controlling the prices of the low-cost and low medium-cost units to enable the locals to buy them. - By The Star

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