The government of Johor plans to unveil new laws which will restrict foreign home buyers to new international zones to protect locals from being priced out of the market.
According to Datuk Abdul Latif Bandi, Johors Minister for Local Government and Housing, details of the plan will be released in June or in August in order to get feedback from the property industry and the public prior to making a final decision.
The move follows complaints that thousands of residential units built by developers are primarily targeted at foreigners. The units, which include three-storey landed homes and luxury condominiums, are often priced way beyond the reach of most Johoreans.
Last year, the Malaysian government set a minimum price threshold of RM1 million for foreign property buyers. Abdul Latif noted that the move only worsened the situation as property developers keen on selling units to foreigners have set RM1 million as the minimum price.
We do not want foreigners to buy all over (Johor), as prices would then go up and the locals cant afford them, he said. We will decide on these areas after engaging with the public and others.
Generally, foreigners are allowed to acquire up to 50 percent of the units at property projects in Iskandar provided the minimum price is RM1 million.
They are prohibited from purchasing units built for low-income Malaysians or for the indigenous bumiputera and Malay communities.
Previously, Abdul Latif said the new zones would allow the government to charge a different property tax rate for foreigners.
The Malaysian government effectively created Iskandars first international zone in 2014 by allowing foreigners to acquire units without any bumiputera quotas within the upcoming Medini township.
The Forest City luxury reclamation project has also shown interest in selling homes to foreign buyers without quota limits.
Meanwhile, Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo, Deputy Chairman of developer Iskandar Waterfront Holdings, said while he supports local housing zones in order to keep prices affordable for Johoreans, Malaysians should be reminded that Iskandar can only thrive if more foreigners buy property there.