Property ownership by foreigners stands at just 0.7%: Finance Ministry

MELISSA DARLYNE CHOW

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has given its assurance that foreign property ownership in the country will not jeopardise locals' chances of owning homes.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong said this is because the number of properties owned by foreigners in the country, based on housing, commercial and industrial transaction statistics between 2012 and 2016, obtained from the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) through the evaluation of stamp duties, is very low.

"The percentage of foreign property ownership is 0.7 per cent (1,934 out of 272,669 new housing units) in 2012; 0.7 per cent in 2013 (1,846 out of 246,225); one per cent in 2014 (2,406 out of 247,251); 0.5 per cent in 2015 (1,156 out of 235,967); and 0.3 per cent last year (706 out of 203,064).

"This shows that the percentage of foreign property ownership has dropped," Lee said in reply to a question from Senator Chia Song Cheng in the Dewan Negara today.

Chia had asked about the number of local properties owned by foreigners from 2012 until now, the price reach of these properties, and if these foreign investments are jeopardising locals' chances of owning a home or getting a job.

Lee said based on the policy in place, foreigners can only purchase properties priced at RM1 million and above.

He said records show that unsold housing properties, priced over RM1 million, increased from 413 units in 2014 to 2,116 last year.

"Based on this policy, and the percentage of ownership transfer to foreigners in various property sectors standing at less than two per cent, we can conclude that locals still have the opportunity to own homes," he added.