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52 | MALAYSIA & COSTA RICA LETTER FROM Letter from Malaysia

midst the challenging global environment, the Malaysian economy remains resilient. Growth has been mainly driven by continued robust expansion in domestic demand, supported by a favourable performance of private consumption and investment activities. The pickup in progress of newer projects, namely the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), has supported the growth of the residential and non-residential sub- sectors through the implementation of the Government Transformation Program (GTP) and Economic Transformation Program (ETP). On the property front, demand for


affordable homes and well-planned, high-end developments in the Klang Valley remains strong. It is expected to receive a boost from the ongoing ETP such as the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley development. Kuala Lumpur, Iskandar Malaysia, Penang and Kota Kinabalu are set to become hotspots for foreign property investors. The average

residential selling prices nationwide are expected to range between RM250,000 and RM350,000, with Kuala Lumpur property selling in the range of RM500,000 to RM1 million. Prices of residential properties will continue to rise but at a slower

“Malaysia’s property industry is one of the most affordable and has a very huge potential to grow”

rate. Compared to other South-East Asian regions, Malaysia’s property industry is still one of the most affordable and still has a very huge potential to grow. A survey revealed that Malaysia

is fast becoming the preferred investment destination for Singaporeans, followed by Australia and the United Kingdom. MPI also said that the tightening of property investment regulations in Singapore |MAY 2013

With the government looking to increase investment and the relaxation of restrictions on the ownership of property by foreigners, watch this space!

and Hong Kong will draw more foreign buyers to Malaysian shores. Malaysian property developers

have reported higher take-up rates by foreigners, especially on luxury properties.

For instance, Mirage Residence, a low-density condominium developed by OSK Property, was over 60% sold out during the private preview. The lakefront resort of Mirage in Cyberjaya has had more than 87% of condominiums sold since it fi rst launched at the end of 2011. The luxury market is in demand even during a down cycle as the developers are catering to home buyers who desire both luxury and quality properties. To encourage foreign investment, Malaysia’s government has relaxed tax and home ownership rules for overseas purchasers. The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme is another initiative from the Malaysian Government to increase foreign property ownership. Ten-year multiple entry social visit passes are

Emily Cheng is the Head of Public Relations and Communications at OSK Property (OSKP), Malaysia. It specialises in the development and management of prime residential and commercial properties in Malaysia. Email: Telephone: 603-2161 3322 Website:

issued for eligible participants. It is an attractive program to

foreigners as they can benefi t from lower cost living and other incentives including tax exemption for car purchase, bringing-in own maids, children study passes and no tax for income remitted into Malaysia.

Letter from Costa Rica

Fifty years ago, Costa Rica was nothing more than a “grand coffee field with a light bulb” as the old timers say - it is now a bustling little country.


osta Rica has no army - and the fi nancial savings are used to educate its population and to upgrade its infrastructure, making it one of the most progressive countries in all of Central America. Bordered by Panama and Nicaragua, Costa Rica is home to many large companies from all over the world choosing to conduct business. Many companies come to Costa Rica because of its low labor costs and low costs of conducting business in general. Less restrictive laws and aggravation equal less stress and higher profi ts.

From heavy industry to Mom and Pop operations, Costa Rica seems to draw all walks of life. The Costa Ricans are gracious, proud people. This was evident when they were the fi rst Central American country to complete their part of the Pan American Highway back in the 1940s. Costa Rica contrasts greatly compared to its Central American neighbours, with it often being referred to as second world developing. Today, as most of the world is in a holding pattern, you see Costa Rica constructing as it has

for the past 20 years, with new toll roads linking the Central Valley to the beaches. Many new direct routes are underway, which will make it much easier to link all of the larger towns and cities in the country.

The housing market in Costa Rica is stable at the moment, and we are starting to see more and more of our North American and European investors trickling in to buy up the short sales, and properties being sold under duress. We have experienced over the past three years a drop of up to 35% in property values, thus

“Costa Rica is home to large companies from all over the world choosing to conduct business”

making the market more affordable. Our strongest market now is homes in the USD100,000 to USD200,000 range, and self-sustaining mini farms, also in that same price range. Many

think of Costa Rica as being made up of retirement age expats, however, this is not so: over half of the self- sustaining farms we are selling are being sold to young couples looking to simplify life and live off the land. These couples range in ages from the 30s to mid-40s. Most retirement age individuals entering the country are looking at condos or small homes with little land to tend to. I am often asked what I think the trend of the future will be, and personally, until we see a rise in the world economy, the trend we are experiencing now will remain the same. If you have never visited Costa Rica, you will be amazed at its natural beauty, convenient infrastructure and cleanliness. The national parks are a tribute to the Costa Rican’s love for their country as nature is highly guarded and well respected. Programmes have been implemented to bring back the scarlet and great green macaws, the largest parrots on Earth, which are native to Costa Rica. The corridors that link the forests are also being preserved to protect the migrating monkey populations. I moved here 13

Brad Butler is the owner of Emerald Forest Properties, based in Costa Rica. It specialises in self-sustainable mini farms. Email: Telephone: 506-2461-2262 or 210-399-5513 Website:

years ago for what was to have been a year to observe and write about my experiences. Now, 13 years later, I am totally in love with the country and I live here year-round. Whether seeking a less stressful way of life, or a business venture in a tropical country, Costa Rica is a place to visit and embrace. It is one of the last unspoiled countries in the Americas.

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