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Top 3 cities for investment property in South East Asia

According to an article in Huffington Post dated 6 Oct 2016, their top three best investment property cities in South East Asia are as follows: Chiang Mai, Thailand. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and Davao City, The Philippines. Guess which of these three that I have a high-rise unit? Yes, definitely the one in Malaysia. Haha. I still believe that there are sufficient diversity in choices even within Malaysia and will continue to treat my home country as my first preference. To those who are now scratching their heads as to why the article did not state the other cities such as Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur even Bangkok, well I think everyone is entitled to their personal preferences.
Why did Huffington Post say about Kota Kinabalu (KK)? It’s one of the fastest growing cities in the region. It has lots of natural attractions.Thus, KK is both a city and a town. Besides the shopping there are many beautiful attractions and lifestyle is not as fast paced as that of the capital city. Besides, KK is a great place for foreigners looking for a nice vacation. Cost of living is quite low and thus expect a good return of your investment plus saving the best for last, KK has an awesome sunset view!
Why did I buy in KK some years back? It is the capital city of Sabah and virtually all my wife’s friends / classmates who intended to work outside their hometowns in Sabah would make KK their first choice for work, followed by KL or Singapore. Yes, my wife is a Sabahan. So, I could see it growing continuously due to the net migration from smaller towns into KK.
kotakinabaluairportSecond reason was because KK is loved by many visitors, whether local or overseas. KK International Airport is still the second busiest airport in Malaysia as at end of 2015. (As per Wikipedia, image attached) Yes, it is ahead of even Penang InternationalAirport which many would think is the second busiest after KLIA.
Third reason was because of a good potential rental market as well as the affordable property prices. I think the prices are still considered affordable when we look at a comparison with even KL or Penang. However, rental market wise, it would no longer be that easy as there are more high rises these days. Perhaps AirBnB can bean option?
mountkinabaluYes, you can see that what Huffington Post wrote just days ago do mirror my reasons for buying KK many years ago. I think it would continue to be true for some time more. The only caution? Fly there and really understand what you are buying instead of relying on one article from Huffington Post or even a short article from Unfortunately property investment is never as easy as 5 minute article reading. Happy visiting. By the way, I will climb Mount KK for the second time next June. Image from attached. A little old but will do my best.
written on 11 Oct 2016
Next suggested article:   Kota Kinabalu, one of the best forMICE in Asia

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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