JB readying for new wave of Singapore buyers

JB readying for new wave of Singapore buyers


Jun 27, 2014

Demand hotting up for new developments surrounding the future rapid transit system (RTS) and CIQ complex.

Malaysian developers are positioning themselves to tap on the anticipated surge in Singaporean buyers for properties located in Johor Bahru city centre; particularly projects near the future rapid transit system (RTS) link and the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex.

Demand is expected to be robust due to the strategic location and news that the Tanjung Puteri MRT-RTS station will be connected to Singapore’s Thomson Line via Woodlands North MRT, according to Khalil Adis, Founder of Khalil Adis Consultancy.

“In addition, the cooling measures in Singapore have made it even more attractive to buy properties just across the causeway as the cash outlay is not so prohibitive and the properties are mostly freehold,” he said.

In fact, residential developments in JB city centre are currently selling for about RM1,000 psf (S$388 psf), while condos in Singapore’s central business district go for around S$2,543 psf.

New rail link to push up prices

Although it isn’t fair to compare the two locations as Singapore is more developed, once the MRT-RTS link becomes operational, real estate prices in Johor Bahru will likely rise. “The city is also attractive to Singaporeans living close to Woodlands as they are more familiar with the area and the surrounding amenities,” noted Adis.

As such, several developers are building new developments in the heart of Johor Bahru that are mostly intended for Singapore investors within the price range of RM900 to RM1,100 psf (S$349 – S$426 psf).

“We can already see developers like China’s R&F developing land parcels along the Tanjung Puteri area which is expected to be a prime site,” Adis said.

Other projects in the vicinity targeting Singaporeans include TriTower Residence by MB Builders and Suasana Iskandar Malaysia, UMLand’s new commercial development situated next to Bukit Senyum. Malaysia’s tallest residential tower, 304-metre The Astaka @ 1 Bukit Senyum (pictured), a project by the Sultan of Johor and developed by Astaka Padu Sdn Bhd, is also reportedly eyeing buyers from Singapore.

Units at TriTower and The Astaka are priced from about RM850 (S$330) psf and RM1,100 (S$426) psf respectively, while those in Suasana range between RM1,200 (S$465) psf and RM1,300 (S$504) psf.

Speaking exclusively to The PropertyGuru, a UMLand spokesperson said that Suasana is not just a serviced apartment, but was designed to be a coveted address along one of the city’s busiest roads, given its built-in luxury retail shops and a renowned 4-star hotel. Located in Jalan Wong Ah Fook, the project will also benefit from the rehabilitation of Sungei Segget once the river is revitalised by end-2015.

But Adis reckons that these projects could see a 50 percent increase in buyers from the city-state if the units are priced attractively within RM850 (S$330) psf to RM950 (S$368) psf.

“I suspect most will be buying for investment. However, I would like to alert Singaporeans that the rental market in Iskandar Malaysia is not as strong as Singapore’s as the population there is currently around 1.4 million, while it is three times the size of Singapore. Thus, I hope they will be wise enough to use this for their long-term occupation,” Adis added.


Not all that glitters is gold

Another downside is that Johor Bahru still lags behind Singapore and even Nusajaya in terms of infrastructure. The city also continues to face problems such as crime, cautioned Adis.

To tackle this issue, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak unveiled the RM1.8 billion Iskandar Malaysia Transformation Programme. Under this initiative, 138 additional police posts will be established across the city by 2025, with 15 already in place including those in Galleria @ Kotaraya and outside JB City Square.

“You can also see more armed police personnel patrolling the shopping malls. Along Jalan Wong Ah Fook, CCTVs have been installed at Plaza Seni with panic buttons along the stretch in case you are a victim of crime and the entire Royal Johor Police force will be activated. There is also a dedicated hotline for Singaporeans which you can call at 07-2212999,” Adis said.

UMLand’s spokesperson is in agreement that Johor’s safety and security has improved significantly due to the federal and state governments’ efforts.

“Safety is no longer a big worry, because it is recorded that more and more Singaporeans have invested in numerous properties in the state, and some have even set up home in Johor amidst the rising cost of living in the island republic and commute to Singapore daily for work,” she said.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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