News: KL Homes Remain Affordable For Foreigners Despite Rent Increase

Mar 14, 2019

Average expatriate rents in Malaysia’s capital increased by 7.42 percent to US$1,621 per month in 2018 compared to US$1,509 in the prior year, according to the result of the latest accommodation survey conducted by ECA International.

Previously, rents in Kuala Lumpur saw a sustained drop in 2015 to 2017, as the local economy has been comparatively soft in the past few years. Another reason was that there was a large supply of rental properties despite weaker demand. Nonetheless, rents rebounded last year.

“Rents for apartments staged a recovery in 2018, but Kuala Lumpur is still very affordable for a major city in the region,” said ECA’s Regional Director for Asia Lee Quane.

In fact, average rents in neighbouring Singapore dipped 1.3 percent to US$4,215 per month, but the city-state still remains as Asia’s eighth most expensive location for expatriate to rent a home.

Looking for a property to rent? Check out these 4 things that make an apartment unsuitable. 

Meanwhile, Hong Kong is once again the most expensive place to rent a home, with foreigners needing an average of US$10,929 to lease a flat for a month. It is followed by Tokyo (US$8,668), Shanghai (US$5,305), Seoul (US$5,245) and Yokohama (US$ 4,865).

“The main driver of increased rent across Hong Kong in 2018 was the limited availability
of housing, which has been a long-term issue for its housing market. Rent increases are not just limited to central Hong Kong anymore either; rents are expected to rise throughout outlying neighbourhoods in 2019 too, as international firms seek more affordable office spaces and leverage options in cheaper suburbs,” noted Quane.

Did you know that rental income is tax exempted? Read more here! 

The survey was based on the average rental prices of an unfurnished, three-bedroom apartment in the midrange of the expatriate market. Rental prices were collected last September and have been converted into US dollars based on the exchange rate at that time.


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James Teoh
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Total Realty Sdn Bhd
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