Imagine the bliss of owning a house by the sea, where you can work remotely while you revel in the majestic aquamarine view. Sounds cool right? Well, owning a beach home is not without its challenges. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons as well as the costs associated with owning a beach house in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, some of the most popular places to buy a beach house are Penang, Langkawi, and Port Dickson. But before you start your hunting for your dream beach property, let’s first discuss the difference between a beachfront home and an ocean-view house. Later, we will talk about the various factors to consider when buying beach homes, and whether such properties make for an excellent vacation rental property.
What is a beach house or beachfront property in Malaysia?
Generally, beachfront homes are residential properties that are right next to the water. They offer some sort of sea view, but it has the additional perk of providing immediate access to a sandy beach. This means as you stroll out of your house, you can walk directly to the seashore, or there is a short pathway leading to that sandy paradise.
This convenient set-up is coveted by avid swimmers, sunbathers, and those who like spending lots of time on the beach. However, some beachfront homes may have less privacy, particularly those located in popular tourist hotspots, as the public beaches are often bustling with crowds.
What is an ocean view home or property with an ocean view?
On the other hand, an ocean-view home refers to a residential unit that is located directly along the coastline and offers a beautiful sea view. However, it does not have direct access to a sandy beach. Simply put, this home could be perched on higher terrain like a cliff or rocky stretch.
While this residential property offers more privacy and seclusion as the public beach is farther away, going to the beach is not as convenient or quick, unlike a beachfront home. However, this type of beach home offers better views thanks to its vantage point!
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Things to consider when purchasing a beach house
1. Cost involved
Beach houses in Malaysia are significantly more expensive than similar residential properties situated inland. In fact, according to Knight Frank’s 2019 Global Waterfront Report, beachfront homes are 58.5% more expensive than the typical house, while harbourfront properties command a 59.1% premium compared to inland dwellings.
In addition, the interest rates of mortgages for vacation properties are also typically higher than those for primary residential properties at approximately 0.5 % to 1.0% higher.
For property investors wondering if they would need to fork out more tax for beachfront property, it’s good to know that the assessment rate (Cukai Taksiran or Cukai Pintu) isn’t dependent on the location but on the property’s estimated annual rental value. This value also depends on the size and type of property, meaning the bigger the property, the more assessment rates you will need to pay. For more info on the tax, we recommend reading our guide on the different types of real estate taxes in Malaysia.
As such, beach homes are not ideal for first-time house buyers with a limited budget. It is more of the purview for well-off families, property investors, and existing homeowners who have sufficient funding for a second property or a holiday home.
2. Reason for buying
Ask yourself, why do you want a beach house? If you intend to buy because you want an exclusive vacation home, you could opt for an oceanfront home located on a less popular beach as these are more budget-friendly. If you are purchasing for investment purposes, a beachfront home in summer hotspots like popular beach towns is more advisable. Although these are pricier, there is usually strong rental demand for such residential properties.
Some popular beach towns in Malaysia are Mersing, Semporna, Langkawi, Port Dickson, Kota Kinabalu, Batu Ferringhi, and Tanjung Bungah.
3. Proximity to water
For many, proximity to the seashore is the most crucial consideration when purchasing a beach home. But of course, you’ll need to weigh the perks and disadvantages of waterfront living. Living near the water is super convenient. This feature will help boost the property’s appeal and resale value. But this will increase your risk of property floods, in addition to the severe weather usually experienced in coastal areas. In turn, this will raise the amount you need to pay to insure your residential property.
Also, there’s a chance that your beach home could be destroyed by a major calamity if it’s near the seashore. For example, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami impacted several Malaysian states including Kedah, Perlis, and Penang on the Malaysian west coast, destroying hundreds of homes.
4. Building Materials
Because of the geographical risks, like flooding risks and severe weather, as well as the high humidity and salt in the air, you need to thoroughly inspect that the beach home you are buying is built from strong materials. For example, look for a property with a metal roof as these types of roofs are highly wind-resistant. The main structure should also be built from concrete or naturally durable wood. As for the metal fittings, make sure they are either stainless steel or powder-coated metal, which is much more resistant to rust.
5. Maintenance and upkeep
We will be direct – beach houses, especially beachfront homes, are more difficult and costlier to maintain than those located inland. For example, many online publications stated that a higher concentration of salt in the air will lead to rust and corrosion, while higher levels of humidity increase the risks of wood rot and mould infestation.
As such, one good piece of advice is to invest in marine-grade fixtures that can withstand sand, wind, and rain in addition to the fact that they are less likely to corrode. Marine-grade or marine-rated means the product can withstand elements associated with marine environments, like water, strong winds, rough contact and saltwater corrosion. Also, in the property market, fixtures refer to objects permanently attached to a property via bolts, screws, nails, cement or other means. These include curtain rods, towel racks, blinds and window coverings, as well as built-in shelving and cabinets.
But even with marine-grade fixtures, all exterior fixtures need to be thoroughly cleaned every three to six months with non-abrasive soap and microfiber towels.
Pros of owning a beach house / beachfront property
These residential properties come with both upsides and downsides so it won’t always be sunny – there’s some hard work involved too:
1. Breath-taking view
The feeling of being greeted by a picturesque view of the ocean when you wake up every morning is invigorating. Take a picture of it, post it up on social media, and await the envious comments of your friends, family, and colleagues.
2. Healthier lifestyle
The seashore emits lots of negative ions, which help to detoxify our body and improve our immune system according to scientific studies. Being able to swim and exercise will do wonders for your body, while the sound of the waves breaking on the shore is relaxing and can help you get a good night’s rest.
3. Generates rental income
Seaside vacation homes are popular with tourists and wealthy expatriates, so you can easily lease them out as short-term accommodation via home-sharing platforms like Airbnb. However, a rental property in more secluded beaches and areas may see weaker demand outside of summer breaks and public holidays. Investors should find out if short-term rentals like Airbnb are legal in Malaysia?
Disadvantages of owning a beach house / beachfront property
1. Expensive upkeep
As mentioned above, beach houses need more maintenance than city homes due to their environment. If it is a high-rise or strata property, the management corporation will likely charge a higher monthly maintenance fee as they need to hire experts to take care of such properties, as well as engage the right people to carry out inspections.
2. Lower structural lifespan
If your beach home is made from non-marine-grade wood, it can easily decay due to the high humidity and wet environment. The high salt concentration in the air can quickly rust and corrode your metal fixture. If your roof is not made of stainless steel or rust-resistant metal, you may need to replace it every 15 years instead of the typical 20 years.
3. Your home could become uninhabitable
Due to global warming and climate change, the sea level is rising. Hence, scientists expect that many low-lying areas that used to be along the coastline could end up being literally under the sea in the next few decades. As such, consult forecast maps and perform comprehensive research before investing. You may consult government agencies, or you could look up studies. For instance, research by Nature Communications forecasted that parts of Malaysia would be underwater by 2050. These include Port Klang, a large part of Klang, Bagan Datoh, Kuala Selangor, Sekinchan and their surrounding areas, while KLIA will be by the beach.
Should property investors consider beachfront homes as vacation rental property?
We don’t recommend buying a beach house as your maiden property for first-time homebuyers unless you have a substantial war chest and it’s the kind of lifestyle you want.
If you are a property buyer, you need to pay attention to the details, like the construction materials and metal fittings of the home you intend to buy to ensure you will get a durable beach home that won’t suffer serious maintenance issues in its first two decades.
For existing homeowners looking for a second property or holiday home, acquiring a beach home where you and your family can escape from the hustle and bustle of the city sounds like a wonderful idea. But be warned that maintaining a seafront or ocean view home is no easy feat, and if you’re too busy to take care of your beach house, hiring an agency to do this on your behalf is not cheap either. Also, if the property is to be left vacant for many months, there is the risk of burglaries and break-ins.
For seasoned property investors, a beach home can be an excellent addition to your portfolio. But whether the property is newly built or acquired from the resale market, always scrutinise the structure and the fixtures to make sure they can withstand the seashore environment. You don’t want to waste your hard-earned funds on a beach home that will require a major repair in just a few years.
Also, if you only have one or a few beach houses, it may make more financial sense to hire a caretaker on an as-needed basis rather than engaging a property management firm, which charges a percentage based on the annual rent – 5.0% of the gross annual rent on the first RM30,000, 3.0% of the gross annual rent on the remaining up to RM 100,000, and 2.0% of the gross annual rent on the remaining over RM 100,000. But if you have many properties, engaging a reputable property management company is a wise move.
Furthermore, don’t forget to take into account the maintenance fee and sinking fund costs when calculating the rental yield or income of your beach home. Mr Kuan You Wau, a specialist contractor in building repairs and rectification, told us that buyers of beachfront property can expect to pay more than the average homeowner as building damage and corrosion are accelerated in structures directly exposed to seawater spray. This is further compounded if the building experiences a wide variance in temperatures throughout the year.
“Salt spray will corrode materials such as concrete and brick. Salt accumulation in buildings can be very dangerous, as the salt crystallization within a building material’s porous structure (like cement and steel) can generate enough force to destroy the surrounding material, causing the exterior to break down over time,” he explained.
“Take a look at the Champlain Towers incident, where a beachfront condominium in Florida collapsed last year, causing 90 deaths. The cause – severe corrosion of reinforcement steel bars and concrete spalling caused by saltwater.”
As such, he advises that property buyers/owners of a beachfront property should ensure that their Management Committee diligently arranges for scheduled preventive checking by structural engineers to keep tabs on the level of building dilapidation for the safety of its occupants. This is on top of applying the right exterior coatings to prolong building/material longevity.
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List of beachfront homes and oceanview properties in Malaysia
Are you seeking a beachfront or ocean-view property for sale or rent? Well, we have listed down a few in Malaysia according to the popular states:
Beach house property in Penang
1. Infinity Beachfront Condominium in Tanjung Bungah
This freehold condominium with a total of 119 units has a median transacted price of RM 787 per sq. ft. Facilities include a wading pool, playground, sauna, bbq, parking, swimming pool, 24-hour security, jacuzzi, business centre, and gymnasium.
2. Gurney Beach Resort in Gurney
This 39-floor freehold condominium has a median transacted price is RM 573 per sq. ft. Facilities include BBQ, parking, playground, gymnasium, sauna, tennis court, 24-hour security, and swimming pool.
3. 1 Tanjong Condominium in Tanjung Bungah
A 41-floor Freehold Condominium with many listings for both sale and rent. The median transacted price is RM 892 per sq. ft. Facilities include a wading pool, 24-hours security, BBQ, swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, tennis court, parking, jacuzzi, and playground.
4. SkyHome in Tanjong Tokong
This luxury freehold condominium has units starting from 6300 sq ft. The median transacted price is RM 593 per sq. ft. Facilities include a swimming pool, tennis court, playground, gymnasium, squash court, parking, jogging track, and 24-hour security.
5. Concord Garden, Tanjung Bungah
A 950 sq. ft. Freehold 1-Storey Terrace is on sale for RM 760,000. Its land area size is 1,300 sq. Ft and comes with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
Beach house property in Langkawi
1. Tropicana Cenang in Pantai Cenang
A premium seafront integrated development with serviced suites, hotel & retail shops. There are multiple freehold serviced residence units with various built-up sizes between 380 to 1,310sf. Prices range from RM 457,000 to RM1,829,000. There are 30 resort-themed facilities and also professional property management with hotel-grade services for the landlord to manage the unit.
2. The Laguna in Padang Matsirat
With built-up sizes up to 2,482 sq. ft., these fully-furnished Freehold units provide access to facilities such as 24-hours security, parking, BBQ, gymnasium, and swimming pool.
3. Century Suria in Kuah
A 2-bedroom condominium at Century Suria is on sale for RM500,000. With a built-up size of 1,076 sq. ft., it is located on a high floor and offers enviable panoramic views of the sea, mountains, and town. This fully-furnished freehold unit provides facilities such as parking, playground, gymnasium, and swimming pool.
4. Perdana Residence in Padang Matsirat
A renovated and furnished Duplex condominium at Perdana Residence is on sale for RM500,000. With a built-up size of 1,011 sq. ft., it has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 guestroom, an American kitchen, and a big balcony. This fully-furnished freehold unit boats 24-hour security, parking, and a swimming pool.
Beach house property in Johor
A 39-floor Freehold Condominium with many listings for both sale and rent. The price range for sale is RM627,069 to RM2.35 million with a built-up area ranging from 517 sq. ft. to 1,841 sq. ft. The price range for rent is RM850 – RM 1,300 with a built-up area ranging from 480 sq. ft. to 775 sq. ft. Facilities include 24-hour security, parking, BBQ, clubhouse, mini market, and shuttle bus.
2. Somerset Puteri Harbour in Iskandar Puteri (Nusajaya)
The built-up size for these freehold units ranges from 895 sq. ft. to 1,625 sq. ft. The price range for sale is RM369,000 to RM1.36 million while for rent is RM2,100 to RM3,500. Somerset Puteri Harbour is equipped with facilities such as 24-hours security, parking, BBQ, playground, mini market, and swimming pool.
3. Paragon Residences @ Straits View in Jalan Tengku Puteri 1
This freehold service residence features units ranging from 732 sq. ft. to 1,711 sq. ft. The price range for sale is RM421,500 to RM1.08 million while for rent is RM1,500 to RM3,500. Paragon Residences @ Straits View is equipped with facilities such as 24-hours security, a jogging track, playground, BBQ, tennis court, and swimming pool.
4. Crescent Bay Suites (Teluk Bayu) in Taman Bayu Puteri
Crescent Bay Suites (Teluk Bayu) is a leasehold property quipped with facilities such as 24-hours security, parking, BBQ, cafeteria, gymnasium, and swimming pool.
Beach house property in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan
1. Glory Beach Resort in Taman Tanjung
This is a beautiful seafront apartment in Port Dickson with a built-up area of 1,300 sq. ft. This Freehold unit has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It is fully furnished and is on sale for RM408,000. Facilities include 24-hour security, parking, BBQ, clubhouse, playground, tennis court, and cafeteria. Glory Beach Resort has its own beach, so you can just walk down from the apartment and enjoy your time at the beach.
This leasehold serviced residence is sea-facing. Each unit has a total of 2 bathrooms and an additional small study room with a balcony facing the sea. With a built-up area of 1,000 sq. ft., it is on sale for RM298,000. Facilities at Bayu Beach Resort include a swimming pool.
3. The Regency Tanjung Tuan Beach Resort in Batu 5, Jalan Pantai
A 1,220 sq. ft. condominium unit is on sale for RM420,000. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and is equipped with air-conditioning, a kitchen cabinet, and a balcony. Facilities include 24-hour security, parking, a squash court, tennis court, wading pool, swimming pool, and cafeteria.
The built-up size for the units in this serviced residence ranges from 605 sq. ft. to 1,300 sq. ft. The price range for sale is RM350,500 to RM409,000 while for rent is RM2,890 to RM6,310. D’Wharf Residence is equipped with facilities such as a swimming pool, water gardens, a fully equipped gym, over 500 parking spaces, a private beach, and a garden for residents. There are also 24-hour front desk reception services, which allow residents/guests to enjoy concierge service, luggage storage, and express check-in/ check-out.
Beach house property in Pahang
A new semi-detached double-story house is on sale for RM903,000. This freehold ocean view property has a built-up area of 2,341 sq. ft. and a car porch size of 22 ft. X 22 ft. This property also has 4 bedrooms and 4+1 bathrooms.
2. Taman Dato Ibrahim in Kuala Rompin
This semi-detached resort home is just a 1-minute walk from Pantai Hiburan Rompin. With a built-up size of 2,866 sq. ft., it is on sale for RM585,000. This freehold unit has 4 bedrooms, and 4 bathrooms, and is ready to move in.
3. The Parkz in Kuala Rompin
A freehold residential area currently in development consisting of 94 units. Phase 1 has single-storey terrace units with a built-up area of 20 x 40 sq. ft. and 3 Bedrooms + 2 Bathrooms. The selling price starts from RM 238,000 and the completion date is 2025. Phase 2 has single-storey terrace units with a built-up area of 20 x 45 sq. ft. and 4 Bedrooms + 2 Bathrooms. The selling price starts from RM 248,000 and the completion date is June 2025.
Beach house property in Melaka
1. Double Storey Semi-D in Ujong Pasir Permatang Pasir Semabok
A fully renovated double-storey semi-detached home is on sale for RM750,000. With a built-up area of 3,000 sq. ft., it has 4 + 1 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. This leasehold unit with air-conditioning, kitchen cabinets, balcony, and a garden.
2. Bali Residences in Melaka City
A leasehold condominium unit facing both the sea and city which is on sale from RM278,000. With built-up areas starting from 600 sq. ft., it has access to facilities such as a swimming pool, playground, gym, basketball court, barbeque area, cafes, car park, fun pool, jacuzzi, jogging track, 24-hour security, tennis court, and a squash court.
3. Everly Resort Hotel (Riviera Bay) in Tanjong Kling
This freehold, non-bumi lot is fully furnished and has a built-up area of 900 sq. ft. With 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, it has access to facilities such as 24-hours security, a swimming pool, jogging track, and a playground.
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