for expats in KL rebound


The rental prices in areas commonly inhabited by international executives in Kuala Lumpur (KL) have increased, in tandem with the rise of rental rates for expatriates in most Asian cities.

In its September 2018 Accommodation Survey report, ECA International noted that the average rental prices for an unfurnished, three-bedroom apartment in the mid-range of the expatriate market in the federal capital saw a rebound after a sustained decline between 2015 and 2017.

The current average rental cost for expatriates in the city is at US$1,621 (RM6,633.94) per month, an increase of US$112 from the previous year.

“The domestic economy has been comparatively weak in Malaysia over the past few years, and the delivery of large stocks of properties to the rental market was not balanced by weaker demand.

“Rents for apartments staged a recovery in 2018, but KL is still affordable for a major city in the region,” ECA regional director (Asia) Lee Quane said in a statement yesterday.

According to the survey, the top 10 most expensive locations for the expatriate rental market in Asia are Hong Kong with an average monthly rent of US$10,929, Tokyo (US$8,668), Shanghai (US$5,305), Seoul (US$5,245), Yokohama (US$4,865), Beijing (US$4,638), Mumbai (US$4,342), Singapore (US$4,215), Osaka (US$4,061) and Bangkok (US$3,880).     

Hong Kong remains the most expensive city in the world for expatriate rents with a growth of 4.9% from 2018 due to the limited availability of housing.

The rental costs in Tokyo have risen at a quicker rate than Hong Kong, which is at 6.9% due to a rise in tourism. This is coupled with the accompanying increase in landlords preferring to lease out accommodation on a short-term basis.

As for Shanghai, the new property tax mooted to be introduced in 2020 has led to a reduction in the availability of rented accommodation, prompting rent increases as many landlords are now choosing to sell their properties rather than to continue renting them out.

Shenzhen continues to attract high demand for rented accommodation, with an increase of over 10% as a result of both the local economy and its proximity to Hong Kong.

Bangkok entered the top 10 list for the first time, following the city’s rise in average rental prices this year, which reflects a continuation in foreign investment in Thailand.

Meanwhile, rental prices for expatriates continued to drop in Singapore and are US$500 cheaper on average per month compared to 2016, as the availability of properties increases with little anticipated rise in demand.