Guide to various property types in Malaysia

Guide to various property types in Malaysia

Three main types of properties in Malaysia one can consider investing in. These are vacant land, commercial properties, and residential properties and within the three categories, there are subcategories to simplify your search for the right property to put your money into. Here are the simplified categories of properties in Malaysia.

Residential property
This category includes a large group of assets types like residential houses, condominiums, apartments, and serviced apartments. These property types are used solely for residential purposes and not for any commercial use. These are further analyzed below. 

Residential houses
Landed property that are single-detached houses, semi-detached houses, or terrace houses. A single detached house in most cases is freestanding with greater privacy and have no common walls. 

Both terrace and semi-detached house are separated by common walls. They come in one, two or three story buildings but are seldom taller than that. Without a doubt these houses will have a larger built-up area as opposed to other form of property types. 

This type of housing is quite common and perhaps one of the most popular in big cities like Kuala Lumpur or within Klang Valley. These multi-storied buildings are very popular with the mid-sized apartments highly sought for by most homeowners. Apartments refer to a residential establishment owned by one entity rather than individual landlords. They are available mostly in 2-3 bedrooms, one or two bathrooms and an inside car parking for residents. 

In Europe, a flat may mean the same thing as an apartment, however, in Malaysia; it refers to government subsidized residential property. They tend to have an average of five stories and in most cases lack lifts. Those with basic facilities don’t include guard security or gate. They are often affordable and are built on Bumi lots. 

These types are self-contained properties that are either low or high risers. Most of them comprise of recreational facilities, round the clock security, and amenities like swimming pool, gym, tennis court, and convenience stores among others. A single building can have variations of floor plans to cater for different preferences. Don’t confuse this with studio apartments that are self-contained small apartments that combine the bedrooms with the living room and kitchenette into a single space with only the bathroom barred. 

These are among the biggest residential properties in Malaysia. They take up the entire top floor of serviced apartments or condominium with private lifts and lobbies. These types of properties are often deemed as the house for the rich as the ceiling price is indeed too overwhelming for the masses.  

Also known as banglo in Malay, this is a standalone house sitting on its land and has no size limit. There are so many bungalows in Malaysia surrounded by large plots of land and lush vegetation. Some are built up in areas larger than 10,000 square feet. A regular bungalow has 4-5 bedrooms and goes for RM3.5-6 million in Bangsar. 

Semi-Detached houses
This type of property is that which shares a common wall with other units where two houses make one building. Sometimes called semi-D, these houses usually have mirrored layouts. 

This comprises of two houses one on top of the other. The ground floor unit is usually smaller and has convenient entry through the ground floor, whereas the first-floor unit is larger and tenants enter through a side staircase. 

Linked / Superlink Properties
These essentially are terraced houses at a larger proportion. The land and the built-up area are both large, and the link homes are more expensive and bigger. Superlink Homes usually average 5-6 bedrooms and almost the same number of toilets. 

Commercial properties
These are buildings used solely for commercial use. Among these are retail outlets, warehouses, office buildings, and even serviced apartments. Here is a deeper analysis of commercial properties in Malaysia. 

Retail stores
This is a store providing retail services like a boutique, bookstore, or any other shop. They are commonly found in residential streets and shopping streets. Some can be found in shopping malls. A retail store can be found in both business districts and the urban areas. 

Shopping malls
This type of commercial property is one or more buildings that form a complex of shops and interconnecting walkways to allow easy passage of visitors. It is a modern version of the regular marketplace that brings together various merchandisers and shoppers. They are equipped with escalators and elevators to facilitate easy access all through the building. Typically, you can find anything and everything in a mall from dairy products to financial institutions to movie theaters. 

Office buildings
Malaysia property categories cannot be complete without mentioning office buildings. These are built to provide working space for businesses primarily for administrative and managerial workers. The rental income for office building generally fluctuates with the economic conditions. An economy that has vitality and growth will cause a rise in demand for office spaces hence arise in rental income. 

Serviced apartments
These are furnished apartments that can be rented or leased for short stay. They are preferred by tourists and business travelers who want a longer stay in a spacious place without the restrictions of a hotel. Corporations can buy serviced apartments for use by executives who frequent the city or town. People have gained more interest in these types of Malaysia property due to their relatively lower cost compared to hotel stays. The main difference between serviced apartments and condos is their land status. Condos are residential properties while serviced apartments are considered commercial and are managed more like a hotel. They include front desk concierge, housekeeping, main lobby, towels and even saucepans. 

Vacant land
In Malaysia, there are three types of land: freehold, leasehold and reserve land. 

Freehold land
With freehold land, you can enjoy its ownership forever. The title of this type of land lies with the holder unless it is transferred to someone else. The owner owns the freehold land and any building on it. It is preferable but fetches higher prices. 

Leasehold land
This type involves buying the right to occupy the land for a prescribed period. It belongs to the government, and the leaser can buy the right for up to 99 years, and once this expires, the land reverts to the government. Its value diminishes as the remaining lease years continue to run out. 

Malay reserve land
This type of land cannot be sold to someone who is not Malay. Only Bumiputras can purchase reserve land. It poses lower investment returns compared to the other types of land and can only be transferred among Malays and Bumiputras. 

Bumi lot
This is related but should not be confused with Malay reserve land. It is possible to lease a Bumi lot to a non-Bumi, but the land status does not change, once the lease lapses, it reverts to its original status.


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