Posted: 10 January 2013 2132 hrs

JOHOR BAHARU, Malaysia

Johor state will review procedures and conditions for foreigners to own houses due to spiralling house prices in the state, especially in Iskandar Malaysia.

Bernama news agency quoted Local Government, Housing, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Ahmad Zahri Jamil as saying that the state Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) was studying ways to tighten the rules on foreign ownership.

He said this is to control spiralling house prices since locals are finding it difficult to buy houses.

“The price of property is determined by the market force. However, the prices also reflect on demand and supply or just because of extreme speculation. So, we have to conduct a detailed study,” he told reporters at Kota Iskandar, Nusajaya, on Thursday.

Foreigners are currently allowed to purchase houses priced at a minimum of RM500,000, according to specific quota.

For example, for double-storey houses, only 30 per cent of the units are allocated for foreigners and the move was to attract foreign investment.

Foreigners may only be allowed to purchase houses above RM1 million.

Mr Ahmad Zahri said Singaporeans accounted for 90 per cent of foreigners who bought houses in Johor state, followed by Britain, United States and China.

– Bernama/de