Relocating to Asia? – Why the property market is quite exciting

Finding the right place to live is one of the most important decisions you have to make in life and can impact on a healthy work-life balance. Nowhere is it more important than fast-paced, vibrant locations such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, where working hard is the norm but having a place to call home, in a location that suits your living needs is paramount if you’re going to find that healthy balance.

The property market in Asia is an exciting one and Kuala Lumpur is no exception. It has been documented as one of the top five cities in Asia to buy property and arguably described as having the most open and competitively priced market in Southeast Asia.

With a stable property market, Malaysia stands alone as the country in Southeast Asia where non-locals can own 100% of the property in their own name and even get a long-term residence status through property ownership. This opens the door to a viable and secure future in Kuala Lumpur and although there are certain restrictions on foreign ownership, it still leaves a variety of property and locations to choose from.

Move to Kuala Lumpur and you will be living in Malaysia’s most expensive housing, spread throughout eclectic districts that have a variety of living options.

Top of the list of most popular areas to live in Kl is KLCC, unsurprisingly commanding a high price tag for purchases and rentals.

But you will be buying into that city centre lifestyle. Ensuring easy access to the office but also within walking distance to world-class shopping centres and restaurants, and the Golden triangle entertainment district which all help in maintaining that vital work-life balance.

Spacious condominiums and apartments with building facilities of fitness centres and swimming pools are popular here. You’ll find a mix of singles, couples and families from around the world enjoying this lifestyle connected to the heart of the city.

Damansara Heights (Bukit Damansara) is also known to locals as Kuala Lumpur’s Beverly Hills district and there’s no need to explain why when you see the quality of accommodation on offer in one of the most affluent parts of the city.

It’s a leafy neighbourhood but a convenient 15 minutes away from KLCC. Made up of mostly gated communities of bungalows, small houses and scatterings of low rise apartments all within close proximity to schools, makes this a perfect location for families too.

If you are looking for an established but less modern neighbourhood of long-term residents that include ex-pats, then Bangsar is the place for you to nest. Young singles and couples who have a desire to experience community in Kuala Lumpur tend to gravitate here, but the lack of international schools and day-care centres makes Bangsar a little less practical for families.

Bungalows and condos built in peaceful settings are close to the buzz of affordable bars, restaurants and shopping centres.

Desa Sri Hartamas has a get-away-from-it-all feel even though its great road links give quick access to KLCC. It underwent a major, but sympathetic renovation in the 1990s. Low-rise condos and townhouses with lots of green spaces give this district a homely and secure feel with good access to amenities such as childcare facilities, high-end spa facilities and the country club.

Another popular, upmarket area to live in KL is Mont Kiara. There is a wide range of accommodation on offer here from deluxe bungalows, small houses, high- rise apartments and high-end accommodation to suit any lifestyle. This suburban district has everything you will need or want for yourself and your family. But public transport links aren’t as extensive here so a car might need to be considered.

If money isn’t an issue and you are looking for a haven to establish a perfect work-life balance, then look at what Bukit Tunku has to offer. It’s the luxury end of the market outside of KLCC. The affluent lifestyle afforded by a big bank balance or a generous company housing allowance means exclusive condos surrounded by greenery and everything else that might entice you to work from home more often!

Singapore has a property market that is booming. It is the second most expensive housing market in the world, second only to Hong Kong and has revelled in enormous increases in real estate prices over the last few years, due to a high level of development around the city-state. But the market for foreign investors is regulated by the Government who controls prices, allocation and permits in order to prevent speculative buying and selling.

Nevertheless, there’s a huge amount of foreign investment. Property offers a relatively stable and safe investment opportunity compared to some other Asian countries because of a number of factors that include its strong strategic position, neutral stance, low crime and high standards of living.

Singapore is a small island with strong public transport links throughout. This means that you can’t go wrong finding a location to call home. It comes down to what type of property suits your lifestyle and property type here produces a beautiful patchwork of eclectic housing across its landscape, giving you a great deal of choice.

Condominiums and apartments are the most widespread property type in Singapore and a popular choice for those looking to move to the island.  They are usually leased partially furnished with larger items of furniture and appliances included, making it a practical option. Finding the right place to live to establish that perfect work-life balance isn’t hard when you are presented with condos and apartments in complexes that usually have 24-hour security and swimming pools, and many even have tennis courts, squash courts, gyms, saunas, children’s playgrounds and BBQ areas.

Bungalows are independent residence that can be one or multi-storied. There’s no one particular style as they are influenced by colonial, Balinese and modern living. You’ll find a hefty price tag for a bungalow with land and a swimming pool in Singapore’s land-scarce climate.

A particular type of bungalow is the Black & White Houses, tracing back to the Tudor-style house introduced by the English officers in colonial times. Mostly leased out by the Singapore Government now, a few are privately owned and can be seen commanding an impressive foothold in the Singapore landscape.

Quintessentially Singapore-styled detached, semi-Detached and terraced houses are scattered throughout Singapore in rows or as cluster houses. These are arranged as the name suggests, around focal points such as courtyards or swimming pools. They are a popular property type for families wanting that community feel and outside space for their children to play.

And then there are the shophouses or Peranakan Townhouses that colour the landscape throughout Singapore but particularly found in the city centre, Chinatown and Little India. They are again a remnant of British colonialism from the early 20th Century. These two or three-story buildings have been renovated to produce lovely private housing, and businesses such as restaurants, boutiques and hotels

So, there’s undoubtedly a lot of choice in the Asian property market and Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are prime examples of that. It’s good to remember that ‘home is where the heart is’ and heart can certainly be found in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.