Cheaper homes, less stress: Why HK residents are making Malaysia their second home

Ida Lim
More Hong Kong residents are drawn to making Malaysia their second home. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — Hong Kong residents who have chosen to move to Malaysia are drawn to this country as their second home for reasons such as property prices that can be five times cheaper and a less stressful environment to live in, financial paper The Edge’s property portal EdgeProp.my has reported.

The report cited 50-year-old Hongkonger Johnny Yue as an example, where he was inspired to move to Malaysia after visiting Kuala Lumpur for a conference last year and after four subsequent visits with his wife and daughter aged 10.

Yue reportedly received approval under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) 10-year renewable visa programme after applying for a year, with his family managing to locate a 1,700 sq ft condominium near Kepong in Kuala Lumpur that was being rented out at RM4,000 per month.

“The apartment is double the size of my rental apartment in Hong Kong. There are also sports facilities and parks within the township. Schools are just within walking distance. This is the life we are looking for,” he was quoted saying by EdgeProp.my.

As a comparison of prices in Hong Kong, the Yue family was renting an apartment measuring 800 sq feet with a rent of HK$27,000 (around RM14,300) per month.

Drawn by factors such as Malaysia’s food and friendly locals, Yue wanted a change in lifestyle and is mulling starting a small business here to have more time with his family and to provide them with a better living environment, the EdgeProp.my reported.

As a sign of Hong Kong residents’ interest in Malaysia, EdgePro.my noted that Yue’s sharing of his experience in shifting from Hong Kong to Malaysia on video-sharing website YouTube unexpectedly picked up over 10,000 views mostly from Hong Kong.

Social media platform “Hongkongers in Malaysia” administrator Gary Crestejo reportedly said a minimum of 2,000 residents from Hong Kong have moved to Malaysia.

The Hong Kong-born Crestejo with a Canadian passport has been calling Kuala Lumpur home for the last six years, attracted by factors such as the weather, lower living costs and less stress, as well as frequent flights to Hong Kong from the relatively close Malaysia, the EdgeProp reported.

His wife and two daughters were initially reluctant to move here despite favouring Malaysia’s space, entertainment and food, but the increasing living costs, political uncertainties and stress of studying in Hong Kong have pushed them to decide to also settle here next year, the report said.

The EdgeProp.my compiled a list of 10 reasons that sum up Hongkongers’ love for Malaysia, namely friendly people, quality living environment and spacious homes, easy communication with locals, good international schools and healthcare, lower cost of living and to do business, food paradise, political stability, natural-disaster-free, similar culture with local Malaysian Chinese, and with Hong Kong less than five hours’ flight away.

The EdgeProp.my separately reported Hartamas Real Estate Group managing director Eric Lim as saying that Hongkongers have become more interested in Malaysian properties after Hong Kong artiste Chapman To’s travel show Pick Me Up to Malaysia, with the report noting that such interest was present even before the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

MM2H agency Starcity Global managing director Florence Ten was also reported confirming the increased interest after the travel show and after unrest in Hong Kong, with the company’s seminars on MM2H in Hong Kong increasing from monthly sessions with 70 attendees to four weekend sessions every two weeks with more than 400 attendees.

Starcity Global has also been organising more familiarisation trips to Malaysia with two Hong Kong families per week on average as compared to a few spread out over a few months in the past, with the agency having helped over 30 such families settle down in Malaysia with a majority of them eventually buying a home here after renting at the start, the EdgeProp.my reported.

The agency reportedly noted that Hong Kong residents typically wanted a less competitive and less stressful education environment for their children and opt for homes with quality schools nearby, or a place to retire with good public transportation access and near to medical facilities, while others seek for vacation homes that can also serve as an investment.

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