Japanese Numbers To Double
 
By DAVID TAN
 
 
They are attracted to the warm weather.
 
The number of Japanese second-home buyers in Penang is likely to double over the next two years to 1,000.
 
Tropical Resort Lifestyle Sdn Bhd managing director Ishihara Shotaro, 48, said in an interview that Japanese were attracted to Penang because of the warm weather, a stable and friendly government, competitive property prices, and low cost of living.
 
Tropical Resort Lifestyle specialises in bringing Japanese second home purchasers into the state.
 
There are 1,600 Japanese in Penang at present, comprising factory supervisors and second-home buyers. About 500 are second-home buyers. This figure is likely to double over the next two years due to the mushrooming of more attractively priced luxurious projects in prime locations of the island, he said.
 
Ishihara said that since 2002, he had arranged for 300 Japanese to buy second homes in Penang.
 
He said Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Tokong, and Pulau Tikus were some of the most sought-after addresses for Japanese second home buyers.
 
Ishihara, whose company operates the Kristal Golf Resort in Sungai Bakap, Seberang Prai, said he planned to develop some 240 units of landed and high-rise properties around the golf resort next year to attract Japanese second-home buyers to stay on the mainland.
 
There are other Japanese second-home buyers who come to Penang to stay because of the unique private club membership system here and the presence of a large Japanese community.
 
Meanwhile, Y. Toshima, 65, said he invested in a second home here because of the unique private club membership system that existed in Penang.
 
Toshima, who is a member of the Penang Sports Club, bought an apartment in Tanjung Bungah for over RM400,000 a year ago.
 
Many people in Penang do not realise that in other countries such as Japan, private clubs are run by large corporations. Members do not have a say in the management of the club, he said.
 
Harumi Toida, 58, who is a potential second-home buyer, said she came to stay in Penang because of her friends here.
 
I am now renting a house in Tanjung Tokong, and will consider buying a second home in Penang in the near future, he said.
 
For Jeff and Dianna Sidebottom, second-home buyers from Britain, it was Penang's charm and serene environment that attracted them.
 
He said that they bought an apartment in Mount Pleasure, Batu Ferringhi, overlooking the sea three years ago for about RM260,000.
 
The property is worth about RM360,000 today, he added.
 
Fem Lighthart from Holland said the family invested in a second home in Tanjung Bungah because her husband operated a business in Penang.
 
We bought two high-rise properties from Hunza Properties Bhd for over RM1mil some 18 months ago. The properties have appreciated by about RM80,000 since then, she said.
 
Lighthart said Penang had very good international schools. This is why we brought our daughter over to Penang to study, she said.
 
According to her, Penang is a very popular second-home destination for many Europeans.
 
I have many friends who have bought second homes in Penang, especially in the Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah areas, she said.
 
 
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