Malaysia’s movie buzz on properties

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Investing in properties that have been in movies or have the potential to be in one can be an exciting and alluring prospect.

Investing in properties that have been in movies or have the potential to be in one can be an exciting and alluring prospect.

 

Malaysia's thriving film and television industry has captured the attention of viewers all over the world by showcasing the breathtaking scenery, varied cultures and rich legacy of the nation. Beyond the big screen, though, these shooting sites are creating a stir in the real estate market by drawing in both domestic and foreign investors and buyers.

The gig economy has been touted to provide Malaysia with sustainable and inclusive economic growth as seen in the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025), and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is estimating that the gig economy could be worth RM650mil by 2025. Essentially, the best time to venture into filmmaking would be, well, now!

Malaysia’s diversity of locations

The geographical diversity of Malaysia provides filmmakers with an abundance of backdrop options. The jungles of Taman Negara and the lush hills of Cameron Highlands create a calming environment, while vibrant cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang provide an insight into contemporary, vibrant Asia. A timeless charm can be found in charming towns like Ipoh and Malacca, and perfect island getaways can be had on the pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters of Langkawi and Pangkor Island.

Hong Kong to the United States

A variety of productions have been drawn to this diversity, ranging from Hong Kong movies like Viral Factor to Hollywood blockbusters like Crazy Rich Asians, Blackhat and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Malaysia has also made waves in the film industry with homegrown hits like the touching Ola Bola, Garden of the Evening Mist and the recently critically acclaimed Abang Adik.

The local real estate market is directly impacted by the increased filming activity. There is frequently a spike in demand for filming locations, which raises property values and rental costs. For instance, there was an increase in interest in both real estate values and tourism around the old Peranakan-style estate Blue Mansion in Penang after the film Crazy Rich Asians. The registered house-turned-boutique-hotel under Cheong Fatt Tze mansion collections has become a hotspot for tourism thanks to the Hollywood blockbuster, along with several other locations featured in the film such as British Carcosa Seri Negara and the Dutch Belanda House.

Similarly, luxury real estate investments have been steadily increasing on the picturesque island of Langkawi, which is a well-liked location for romantic comedies and reality shows. Despite the notable lack of tourism recently in Langkawi, new developments have been announced for the little island. For example, Langkawi Skywalk Sdn Bhd received a Letter of Grant (LoG) to construct the world’s longest free-standing cantilever glass skywalk that is expected to be 38 metres long and 645 metres above sea level. Several other luxury projects are being planned, such as the Hangouts Urban and Eco Langkawi resort by SMS Retreat Company Sdn Bhd offering 44 chalet units to enjoy the sparkling sea views.

Local gems in the spotlight

The film industry's focus on Malaysia's hidden gems puts lesser-known towns and villages on the map. This newfound exposure can revitalise local economies, leading to increased property values and investment opportunities. An example is the American movie Blackhat starring Chris Hemsworth had him running around the Perak-based town of Seri Manjung. Another example is the anime series Jujutsu Kaisen which boosted the popularity of Kuantan, with even the erection of a mural on a beach where a popular character wanted to visit. These have been incredible for the locals in bringing about tourism.

A place's appeal can be greatly increased by the publicity it receives from appearing in a movie or television series. The temporary demand for lodging brought on by the influx of cast members and production crews will raise rental costs and occupancy rates, which is great for the business. A location's favourable image can also draw in new customers and businesses, fostering long-term economic expansion and real estate appreciation.

Buzz or buzzkill?

Investing in properties that have been in movies or have the potential to be in one can be an exciting and alluring prospect, but there are some important issues to consider. First off, is it sustainable? It is possible that the initial excitement from a single production won't translate into sustained growth. Researching the overall economic and infrastructure development prospects of the location will give the investor a good idea of the market’s current conditions and whether it will be a viable investment option. Of course, having a clear exit strategy is also essential, be it through resale or rental.

Prospects for the film and television industries in Malaysia appear promising due to the government's dedication, demonstrated by initiatives such as the central governmental agency National Film Development Corporation (FINAS). Property prices in these hotspot areas are predicted to rise further as Malaysia solidifies its standing as a popular destination for movies. Knowing how movies and real estate are related can open up exciting opportunities for astute investors.

This article was first published on Starbiz7.

 


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