To foreigners, the state of Johor could easily be the most familiar state in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur, as Singapore — one of the strongest economies in Asia — lies just across the Johor Straits. Although Johor Bahru, the capital city of Johor is only 36km away from downtown Singapore via the Johor-Singapore Causeway, property prices in Johor Bahru are far lower than in Singapore due to currency differences and the cost of living. Furthermore, real estate on the island republic is expensive as land is limited.
It is not surprising therefore that many Singaporeans and foreigners working in Singapore have chosen to own a property in Johor Bahru.
Johor Bahru is a vibrant city and while the city centre is growing vertically, massive new township projects are coming up on the fringes of the city centre. Of note is the new city adjacent to it called Iskandar Puteri, formerly known as Nusajaya. Emerging townships within it offer both high-rise residences as well as landed homes within well-planned communities that come with ample amenities and landscaped surroundings. Of note is the 1,800-acre Sunway Iskandar township being developed by Sunway Property. Over 40% of the development is designed as green spaces.
Iskandar Puteri is one of the five flagship zones of the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor and was declared a city in November 2017. It is home to Kota Iskandar, the state administrative centre. Also located here are theme parks including Legoland and an education hub called EduCity which features several international schools and higher learning institutions suchas University of Southampton Malaysia Campus, Multimedia University, University of Reading Malaysia, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, Raffles University Iskandar and Marlborough College Malaysia.
Iskandar Puteri is located only 18km away from the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link. In the works are major infrastructure projects such as the Electrified Double Track Gemas-Johor Bahru, which is targeted to be operational in October 2021. It is estimated to reduce travel time between KL and Johor Bahru to three hours and 30 minutes. There is also the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system project where high-capacity buses will connect Johor Bahru to Tebrau in the east, Skudai in the north and to Iskandar Malaysia. The service is targeted to commence in the first quarter of 2022.
Meanwhile, the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link has been given the green light to proceed. There are also hopes for the suspended KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) to get back on track.
Good time to buy
In 2020, the Johor state government has reduced the threshold from RM1 million to RM600,000 for foreigners to purchase new completed high-rise residences in Johor. The limited time special offer is to reduce the unsold ready stock in the market.
Although generally there is more supply than demand in certain segments in the market, Johor Bahru residential property prices have overall, been rising steadily over the past few years.
According to EdgeProp Research data, Johor Bahru city centre recorded an average residential property transacted price of RM495,435 or RM313 psf in 2019, a slight increase of 2.5% from RM483,169 or RM308 psf in 2018.
It outperforms the entire Johor Bahru district, which recorded an average residential property transacted price of RM456,722 or RM297psf in 2019, an increase of 3.6% from RM440,808 in 2018.
High-rise residential property projects located in Johor Bahru city centre have also seen a steady price growth over the past five years. In 2019, high-rise residential projects recorded an average transacted price of RM343 psf, an increase of 4.2% year-on-year from RM329 psf. It also gained an increase of 24.2% over the past five years.
Read more about "Where to look?" in EdgeProp Malaysia’s “Destination: Malaysia” e-Pub
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