Penang Island vs Mainland (Part 1/4)

There are a few people I talk to when I want to know latest updates for Penang property market. One of them is the founder of, Mr. Ken Lim. Many weeks back, we spoke about how mainland may be changing and he said that he would research and do articles to compare mainland and island. After all, if one were to just say something without any support from facts and figures, it would amount to just preference and not an objective opinion. For knowledge, please refer below: (Part 1/4)
In Penang, one of the most intense debated topic is the property investment and purchase decision between the properties in island and mainland. The island which is well-known for its “scarcity of land” has always been the top property investment choice for both locals and foreigners, whereas the mainland is always named as the secondary option for a bigger house or an affordable alternative.
Many people told me that they prefer to invest into property in the island due to its limited land, higher-class shopping malls, well-known tourist hotspot, beautiful beaches and not forgetting the good food. I would have to agree that these are some valid reasons. But if we are buying a property for own stay, how much does it really matter to us?
A branded location
The branding of a location can give it a competitive edge. Sometimes this can be one of the most powerful factors in a property investment decision. When we mention “Penang”, the first thing that comes to our mind is the Penang Island – A glamorous location that is well known for land scarcity. To some people, Penang Island is a branded city with pride in its properties, beaches and food.
Georgetown, Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong and Gurney Drive are some of the top location brands in Penang Island. Properties in those areas are usually at least ~30% more expensive than the properties of similar density in other locations within the Island. RM800k is the sweet spot. Anything around this price range would likely to see a respectable take up rate.
Mainland on the other hand, has always been perceived as an affordable alternative for those who cannot afford a landed in the island. Most people knew Butterworth, Perai, Seberang Jaya and Bukit Mertajam. But none of them is perceived as a prominent brand to the penangites.
However, things has started to change in the recent years. Developers have started to focus into the mainland, taking advantage of the cheaper land cost that they have purchased many years back. For example, Alma, some used to have a certain perception about it. But DNP has changed the perception of that area with series of well planned residential and commercial developments such as AEON mall and Tesco hypermarket along Jalan Rozhan. Landed property at a strategic location in mainland is no longer cheap. Newly launched terrace houses are mostly more than RM600K. If you are looking for something less than RM500K, you would have to go to the southern part of Seberang Perai, namely Simpang Ampat, Jawi and Sungai Bakap.
For Batu Kawan, the upcoming development by Eco World, Aspen Group and PE Land is expected to have a positive and transformative effect on the property market in the region. The rapid development toward urbanization makes location branding an important determinant of its success over the next decade. Desa ParkCity is one unique example how Perdana ParkCity Sdn. Bhd. has transformed a piece of vacant land in Kepong into one of the most sought after self-contained township in Klang Valley. Who knows? May be one day you will feel proud to have owned a property at Batu Kawan.:)
Coming back to the reality, today there is nothing wrong if you were to choose a branded location like Gurney Drive, or a less-branded location like Simpang Ampat, or a new brand at Batu Kawan. Most importantly it fits your budget and suits your lifestyles. At the end, we may be working at the same place, eating in the same restaurant, shopping in the same mall and watching movie in the same cinema.


  1. Agreed with your statement “we may be working at the same place, eating in the same restaurant, shopping in the same mall and watching movie in the same cinema”
    There is also one important factor need to put into consideration for choosing your property, the relative plays a pull factor as one of important pull factor whether to buy within the island or mainland. if your parent or most of relatives and friends are staying in Island, what would you buy? my common sense tells me that, it is unlikely in difference side, general, people tend to be making decision not only based on perception but also with series of the following, relative (important), convenience, life balance, work, lifestyle and so on.
    To be frank, taking affordability as a main factor to buy property in mainland, it is inadequate, there is something you really need to consider for long term perspective with the following factor mentioned above, for example, buying the property in mainland because of affordability for staying in landed house without considering about your lifestyle other than affordability, there is something that you need to sacrifice. everything is not perfect, you may need to ask your self, what is important in your life, of course, the choice is still in your hand for making your own right decision but not the speculative NEWS from developers, just listen to yourself. : )

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