Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

House Hunting in … Bali | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55384004

Image by CreditDasha Almazova via New York Times

Bali – This villa, built in 2009, is on a lushly landscaped, one-acre beachfront lot on Bali’s southeastern coast, in the village of Ketewel. In the approximately 7,500-square-foot main building with four bedrooms, a foyer gives way to the spacious living room and a wall of sliding glass doors that open onto the pool deck and garden. Past that, several steps lead down to the beach. Because of its eastern orientation, facing the water, the house has views of “some of the best sunrises you could have in Bali,” said Joe White, the sales director of Seven Stones Indonesia, which has the listing.

To the left of the foyer is an open kitchen with cinnamon-red cabinets and a dining area with a table for 12. The seller is a professional chef who designed the kitchen, Mr. White said. To the right of the foyer are three bedrooms, one of which is now used as a television room. Two bedrooms are en suite and there is a half bath near the entrance of the villa. A staircase from the foyer leads to the master suite, which has a sitting area, a bathroom with an outdoor tub, and a long terrace with an ornamental pond. This property is being sold furnished, and it is available as a leasehold or freehold acquisition.

The 1,880-square-foot guesthouse has two en suite bedrooms and an open kitchen, dining and living area. The landscaping and gardening were designed to create privacy between the dwellings, Mr. White said. The lot’s beach frontage — around 330 feet — is exceptionally large for Bali, he added. The property has parking for seven cars, including four covered spaces, and staff lodging near the parking area.

The house is about a 25 minute drive east of the center of Denpasar, Bali’s capital city, which has a population of about 800,000. The area attracts surfers, scuba divers and cultural tourists, Mr. White said. Ngurah Rai International Airport is about 15 miles to the southwest of the property.

Market Overview

Bali’s real estate market has weathered various local and international events — from the SARS epidemic of 2003 to the global financial crisis — with resilience, agents said.

Andy Gray, a partner with Seven Stones Indonesia, estimated that between 2003 and 2014 prices for land in some places multiplied by 10. But that growth temporarily stalled in 2015 and 2016, with prices flattening for the first time in at least a decade and transaction volume dropping by about half, he said.

“Everyone seemed to think Bali was bulletproof. And it wasn’t,” he said. Mr. Gray attributed the price plateau to two factors: Buyers began resisting prices they saw as too high, and the influx of wealthy Indonesians who had been investing in Bali tapered for a while.

Since about 2005, new construction developments, including condo-hotel hybrids and resort-style apartments, have proliferated around the island’s southern side, said Dan Miller, head of the Bali office of Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate and investment company. Today the new resort-style construction developments make up about 10 percent of Bali’s real estate market and roughly 20 percent of its luxury market, he said.

Karl Wilkins, a marketing executive with Paradise Property Group, observed that prices last year continued to grow, but at a lesser rate than before — 10 or 15 percent, compared to 20 to 30 percent three to five years ago. He said Indonesian investors started returning this spring. Mr. Gray said that this year there have been more inquiries and transactions at both his firm and others, while prices have remained stable.

As a result of the earlier price growth and the recent stagnation, Mr. Gray described a “two-tier vendor system,” where sellers who bought 8 to 10 years ago are able to sell at “realistic” prices, while sellers who bought when prices were higher — three to four years ago — will struggle to make a profit. “It’s still absolutely a buyer’s market,” he said. He added that properties are closing at around 80 to 85 percent of their asking price.

Mr. Wilkins said luxury properties start at around $1 million and reach more than $10 million. Most fall between $1 million and $2 million. He has been introducing buyers to less developed islands in the country’s east, where prices are lower. He mentioned Flores, Rote, Lombok and Sumbawa as options in the 17,000 island archipelago.

Who Buys in Bali

Agents said the vast majority of their clients are Indonesian. Foreign buyers tend to come from around the region — Australia, Hong Kong, China and Singapore. Farther afield: Germany, Italy and France, agents said.

Buying Basics

Foreigners who wish to buy real estate in Indonesia face several restrictions that are determined by the type of title a property has, said Manish Antal, the sales manager with Kibarer Property, a Bali real estate agency and legal services firm. Leasehold titles are available to foreigners with a time limit. Freehold titles are reserved for Indonesians, he said.

To buy a property listed with a freehold title, a foreign buyer has several options. One is to first convert it to a right to use title, which is available to foreigners, said Devy Susanti, a notary based in Bali. This title allows for ownership of a property for a fixed term that can be extended and renewed, for a total of up to 80 years. This option is available to foreigners with residence permits, in cases where a property meets certain size and price criteria.

Foreigners do not use mortgages in Indonesia. Mr. Antal said.

Languages and Currency


Indonesian Rupiah ($1 = 13,351 rupiahs)

Taxes and Fees

Annual property taxes on this home are around $320, Mr. White said. Monthly payments to the banjar, a local community organization that provides maintenance, security and that organizes celebrations, are around $200, he said.

*The New York Times*