Penang is a great place to visit and an even better place to live in. What makes this Malaysian state, comprising an island and part of the mainland, such a desirable destination? And where should you buy if money is no object?
We speak to the executive director of Knight Frank Penang, Mark Saw about the most expensive neighbourhoods in Penang, why they are prized, and what the forecast is if you're thinking of investing in real estate there.
Why is buying property in Penang a good investment?
Penang has a rich historical background of multiculturalism and the best culinary scene that has seen the state ranked as the 1st Best Island in Asia and 3rd Best Island in the world to retire in 2021 by Travel Awaits. Penang also started the new year of 2022 being named by CNN Travel as one of the 22 best destinations to visit in 2022. The uniqueness of her community has influenced the unique architecture and townscape of Penang for generations.
The strategic location between the Straits of Malacca and the Andaman Sea has made Penang one of the favourite tourism destinations as well as strong foreign buyers coming from China, Europe, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Indonesia.
The Penang residential property market has seen recovery with the volume of transactions recording an increase of 18.8 per cent to 9,192 units in 1Q-3Q2021 compared to 7,739 units in 1Q-3Q2020. The total transacted value in the residential sub-sector also increased by 37 per cent in 1Q-3Q2021 (RM4,078.48 million) when compared to 1Q-3Q2020 (RM2,977.94 million). The recovery of the property market is probably attributed to various government incentives such as the reintroduced Home Ownership Campaign (which ended on 31 December 2021) and the low-interest-rate environment.
Generally, Penang has five districts of which three are on the mainland, namely Seberang Perai Utara, Seberang Perai Tengah and Seberang Perai Selatan while the districts of Timur Laut and Barat Daya are located on the island. Timur Laut on Penang Island, being the most attractive district is where the capital city George Town is located. George Town, which has been gazetted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, has become a favourite spot for its variety of cuisines, historic architecture, luxury properties and beaches.
District of Timur Laut is ranked top as a popular location by foreign buyers and continues to record the highest number of transactions on a year to year basis. Land scarcity coupled with high demand are amongst the key factors driving up both property values and rental prices within this District.
The future development of the Penang Transport under its Master Plan, the upgrading and refurbishment of Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT), development at Gurney Wharf are among the mega projects expected to boost Penang’s attraction and its property market as well as increase lifestyle living of those residing in Penang. Thus, Penang is definitely a great destination and wonderful location not only for property investment but also to live.