Luxury Rentals in the World’s Number One Retirement Destination

Imagine taking in panoramic sea views from your 550-square-metre home. You have five bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms, a library with a wet bar and a kegerator for draft beer. Your entertainment room has a drop-down projector, there are granite counters in the kitchen and your master bathroom is floor to ceiling Italian marble.

Your complex includes two swimming pools; a well-equipped gym, tennis courts, a steam room, a table tennis room and you have two covered car spaces. There’s 24-hour security, too.

Yet you’re paying just $1,600 per month to rent your luxury pad. In Malaysia you really can “live large” for less and renting a property makes good sense. You can settle into a perfectly nice unit—say 120-square-metres with sea views—for as little as $500 a month. To buy rather than rent the apartment would set you back $227,000.

If you want opulence, you can pay $4,000 a month to rent a 111-square-metre apartment with seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms with beach and city views. To buy it would cost you upwards of $3 million.

Developers are buying here in Penang as a long-term investment—an investment they expect to see rise—so they’re not too concerned about their monthly return. These properties are forming part of their international portfolio but they still need maintenance…and the best way to ensure they’re well cared for is to rent them out. It means owners looking for renters are willing to deal and you can bag some incredible bargains as a result.

In Penang’s bohemian heart of George Town you’ll find some of the best movie-star-chic pads around. Apartments sell for up to $4 million in this area, which is home to a swank shopping complexes, international banks, upmarket restaurants, medical clinics and schools. Just a short drive south are beautiful beaches, while a 10-minute drive north will have you at the popular Botanic Gardens.

Situated right next to the luxury heritage E&O Hotel is Shorefront Residences, a spectacular development that plays home to an eclectic mix of cosmopolitan expats, art dealers, discerning locals, CEOs and retirees. The 76 duplex units were completed just last year and range in size from 372- to 419-square-metres and offer views of George Town, Penang Hill and the ocean.

The facilities are second-to-none and include a shared, state-of-the-art gymnasium, clubhouse and function room, covered car parking and 24-hour security. If you were looking to buy one of these units, prices start around the $900,000 mark and keep going up to $3 million. But you can rent here from around $2,500 a month. For a back-home comparison, think of Point Piper, Sydney, where a place of a similar nature would set you back $15,000 a month in rent.

Some of the latest apartments to come on the market are as big as 1,200-square-metres. It can’t be easy figuring out what to do with so much space. One friend of mine, an expat from Melbourne, has used an old Vespa scooter as a decoration. It sits proudly in one corner of his 600-square-metre lounge. He has ridden it around the apartment but there are only so many times that you can do that before the neighbours start complaining. He is thinking of adding a Ducati motorbike as well…he’s certainly got room for it!

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