Iskandar’s rise and rise
ISKANDAR Malaysia will drive the growth of the property sector in south Johor in years to come even amidst the global economic uncertainties. Located in the southernmost part of Johor, the country’s first economic growth corridor spans 2,217sq km – three times bigger than Singapore and two times the size of Hong Kong.
“Ten years on, Iskandar Malaysia is progressing well and will definitely benefit the Johor property market,” says Real Estate and Housing Developers Association ( Rehda) Johor branch chairman Hoe Mee Ling.
Launched by the late Sultan Iskandar Ibni Sultan Ismail on Nov 4, 2006, it was known as the South Johor Economic Region before the name was changed to Iskandar Malaysia in April 2008.
It is divided into five flagship development zones – the JB City Centre, Iskandar Puteri formerly known as Nusajaya, Eastern Gate Development Zone, Western Gate Development Zone and SenaiKulai.
“Iskandar Malaysia is more viable compared with other economic growth corridors in the country,” says Hoe.
The other economic corridors in the country are the Northern Corridor Economic Region, East Coast Economic Region, Sabah Development Corridor and Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.
From 2006 until Nov 30, 2015, Iskandar Malaysia had recorded total committed investments of RM187.96bil, of which RM93.38bil has been realised as projects on the ground.
Hoe says the completion of catalytic projects in the last five to six years proved that Iskandar Malaysia is moving in the right direction under its Comprehensive Development Plan ( CDP) 2006- 2025.
Under the CDP, Iskandar Malaysia is poised to become an international metropolis, ensuring the sustainability of the property market in the state, especially in south Johor.
“Improvement in connectivity and accessibility makes most areas within Iskandar Malaysia flagship zones attractive to prospective property buyers,” she adds.
Hoe says the influx of domestic and foreign investors will create job opportunities in Iskandar Malaysia and the presence of new residents bodes well for the property market in south Johor.
She adds that the fundamental demand for properties will remain high and strong as long as developers could adapt to their products to suit this demand.
“The outlook is still good as properties fetch good yields and are the best hedge against inflation,” says Hoe.
KGV International Property Consultants ( M) Sdn Bhd director Samuel Tan Wee Cheng says despite criticism and unfavourable comments from certain quarters since day one, Iskandar Malaysia has not failed to attract domestic and foreign investors.
“As the Government- backed economic growth corridor, it has strong backing from the Federal Government in terms of funding for infrastructure development projects,” he says.
It had spent almost RM8bil on infrastructure projects since 2006, for the upgrading and construction of new roads and highways, flood mitigation projects, river cleaning and public housing schemes.
Tan says the completion of New Coastal Highway, the Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway and the Southern Link help to push demand for properties.
Tan says among the areas benefiting from better road linkages include Bukit Indah, Perling, Sungai Danga, Nusa Besatari, Sutera Utama, Seri Alam, Kempas, Setia Tropika, Senai, Kulai, Iskandar Puteri, Skudai and Tebrau.
“Prior to the inception of Iskandar Malaysia, property prices in south Johor have not seen many changes but now prices are on the upward trend,” Tan says.
He points out the average selling price for an intermediate double- storey link house now starts from RM500,000 to RM600,000 from between RM250,000 and RM350,000 while a new bungalow’s price tag is between RM3mil and RM5mil, from RM1.5mil over the last five years. He says property prices in south Johor will continue to be on the upward trend due to several factors such as the Singapore factor.
“Johor Baru remains a preferred place for Singaporeans and expatriates based in the republic to buy residential properties as prices are much lower here than in the republic,” says Tan.
He says that apart from residential properties, there is also good demand for industrial buildings in Iskandar Malaysia as many Singapore- based manufacturing companies are looking to relocate their operation to south Johor.
Tan says it is a well- known fact that both Johor and Singapore are intertwined in economic activities due to their close proximity.
Potential homebuyers looking at models of housing units at the Country Garden Danga Bay sales gallery in Johor Baru.