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MMK - Kyats (Lakh)
Learn more about the Myanmar apartment market through trends and average prices.
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia and the second-largest in the entire region. It is situated on the northeast edge of Southeast Asia and it borders China, India, Laos, Thailand, Tibet, and Bangladesh. Some people consider this country as a part of South Asia, but it is an official member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
The country was under a military junta up until 2011 when the country started moving towards democracy. It held its first democratic election in 2015, and has gone through significant changes since then; the poverty rates have decreased significantly and its economy is one of the fastest-growing in Asia.
Home to over 54 million people, Myanmar is the 5th most populous country in Southeast Asia. More than 5 million of the country’s population live in Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon), making it the most populous city in the country. Yangon was the capital of the country until 2006 when the government decided to move the capital to Nay Pyi Taw (Naypyidaw). However, Yangon still serves as the country’s important commercial and financial hub. It is mostly popular for its golden pagoda, the Shwedagon Pagoda. Just like its nickname, Shwedagon Pagoda is literally covered entirely in gold and the tower is encrusted in precious stones, such as diamonds and sapphires. Besides the Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon is also famous for Sule Pagoda and the Bogyoke Aung San Market.
Although Yangon is very popular among international visitors, the main tourist destination in Myanmar is the ancient city of Bagan. This UNESCO World Heritage Site served as the capital of the powerful Pagan Kingdom from the 9th to 13th centuries. In its glory days, it was one of the greatest cities in Southeast Asia and it had over 10,000 monuments. Today, only around 2,000 monuments remain due to natural disasters. Some of the most popular temples are Ananda Temple, Shwezigon Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple, Htilominlo Temple, Shwesandaw Temple, and Manuha Temple. Visitors can explore the temples by bike, electric motorbike, car, or even from above in a hot air balloon.
Besides Yangon and Bagan, Mandalay is also a popular city for tourism. Some of the more popular attractions in the city are the Snake Pagoda, Mahumuhi Buddha Temple, and Mandalay Hill. Not too far from the city, visitors can also find the magnificent Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall.
The term “apartment” in Myanmar is defined as developments with no elevators. However, some of the newer apartments in the country do have elevators. The main type of apartments available for buyers is standard apartments, high-end apartments, and serviced apartments. Although there are old apartments in the country, most foreigners live in newly built, modern ones.
Standard apartments usually offer standard amenities, such as parking spaces. However, they may not have any elevator. Buyers can choose between studio rooms or rooms with slim partitions imitating walls instead of concrete walls.
High-end apartments are developed by reputable construction companies. They usually have a well-structured room and each room is separated by a real concrete wall. The room size ranges from studio room to one to three bedrooms, and the most common size is the three-bedroom apartment. High-end apartments usually offer more amenities than standard apartments, such as elevators, designated parking spaces, and security guards.
The most luxurious type of apartment is serviced apartments. These are fully decorated and come with upscale amenities, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, children’s playgrounds, parks, parking spaces, and 24-hour security systems, including security guards, CCTVs, and fingerprint or card-lock system.
As in many other Southeast Asian countries, the cost of living in Myanmar is relatively affordable for most foreigners. On average, the living cost is 40% lower than in the United States (excluding rents). A single person generally needs a minimum of 1,900,000 MMK (approximately 1,400 USD) a month to be able to live comfortably, while a family of four needs a minimum of 3,300,000 MMK (approximately 2,500 USD).
Burmese Kyats (MMK) is the official currency used in the country. 1 USD converts to around 1,360 MMK. In the past, finding an ATM that accept international cards was not an easy task, but today more and more ATMs can be found in the country. Still, cash is king in Myanmar, so it is advisable that visitors have cash on them when traveling around the country. However, most people only take the most pristine bills, so make sure that your bills are undamaged and still in excellent condition. In many tourist areas, US dollars are accepted to pay for goods and services.
Numerous indigenous languages are spoken in Myanmar, but most of the country’s population speak its official language, Burmese. Many people, particularly in major cities and tourist areas, may be able to understand and speak English to some extent. However, it is advisable that foreigners learn some common Burmese phrases.
The biggest religion in Myanmar is Theravada Buddhism, with about 90% of the population identify as Theravada Buddhist. This is why the country’s culture, customs, and etiquette are deeply influenced by Buddhism. Other religions, including Christianity, Islam, Mahayana Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism, and Animism are practiced in the country.
In order to live and work in Myanmar for an extended period of time, foreigners need to apply for a Stay Permit and Multiple Journey Special Re-Entry Visa. The Stay Permit can be issued for a period of three to twelve months, but it is only valid for one entry. Therefore, a Multiple Journey Special Re-entry Visa is required for foreigners to leave and re-enter the country while they are living there.