City & Country: BRDB strengthens its presence in Johor

Bandar Raya Developments Bhd (BRDB) recently launched what has been touted as Johor Baru’s first freehold landed strata, gated and guarded project. Known as The Straits View Residences, the project is located within its Bandar Baru Permas Jaya township.

Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, developed by BRDB’s wholly-owned subsidiary Permas Jaya Sdn Bhd, was the developer’s first project outside Kuala Lumpur. About 75% of the 1,400-acre township has been developed since it was launched in 1981.

Permas Jaya general manager Teh Ku Yong tells City & Country that more than 11,000 units, including mixed landed home, apartments, condominiums, shopoffices/houses and light industrial property worth over RM2 billion, have been built in Permas Jaya. The self-contained township has amenities such as clinics, schools, restaurants, banks, sports complex, post office, Jusco shopping centre and an 18-hole golf course.
An artist's impression of Straits View Residences in Bandar Baru Permas  Jaya
“The Johor property market is more exciting now, buyers are becoming more demanding and discerning, looking out for good quality products. BRDB has made a name for itself in Johor and people are comfortable with the developer,” Teh says.

Initially, road accessibility was an issue and BRDB had to spend RM40 million to build the Permas Jaya Bridge in 1994. Now, Teh says, it takes only 10 minutes to get to Johor city and the main Causeway to Singapore. A second Permas Jaya bridge is currently being constructed and is expected to be completed by 2011.

Teh says property prices in Permas Jaya have doubled since the first bridge was completed. “The Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL), a three-lane dual expressway linking Permas Jaya to the North-South Expressway and the new Customs Immigration Quarantine (CIQ) complex are also under construction and are expected to be completed by end-2011. By then, travelling from Permas Jaya to Singapore will be a mere 10-minute drive,” he explains.

The township will be the eastern gateway to the Pasir Gudang industrial hub. Teh says there has been a rise in demand for property in Permas Jaya since the commencement of these infrastructure works.

Meanwhile, The Straits View Residences — with a gross development value of RM230 million — sits on a 35-acre freehold tract within Permas Jaya. It comprises 218 units, of which 186 are semi-detached while the remaining 32 are bungalows. The semidees are priced from RM868,000 while the bungalows start at RM1.9 million.

“The strata freehold gated and guarded project is the first in Johor Baru city, and the contemporary houses boast a minimalist layout. We had a soft launch in the middle of May, and so far a total of 70 semidees and eight bungalows have been taken up.

Our target market is mainly locals, Singaporeans, Singapore permanent residents as well as expatriates,” Teh says.

There are currently six development phases for The Straits View Residences but, depending on market demand, the developer may combine some of the phases. The low-density project, which is also the most high-end project within Permas Jaya, includes an exclusive clubhouse for the residents. The RM5 million clubhouse has a built-up area of 20,000 sq ft on a two-acre plot. The developer says it is looking at more green features for the clubhouse aside from rainwater harvesting for gardening and car washing.

The project was launched to emulate the success of Permas Jaya’s high-end condo development, the Straits View Condominium. “The Straits View Condominium is our flagship development in Permas Jaya and a sought-after residential development with the largest expatriate community in Johor Baru. We planned The Straits View Residences as a strata landed development offering high-end residences following the success of the Straits View Condominium,” he says.

The Straits View Condominium was launched in 1991. It comprises six blocks of which five have been completed. Teh says the last block, Elita @ The Straits View Condo, will be launched sometime early next year.

Rental yields are about 8% to 10%. “Units with 3+1 bedrooms valued at about RM420,000 two years ago were recently sold on the secondary market for RM520,000. About 55% of the residents are expatriates from Europe and Japan who are currently working in Johor,” Teh says.

After Elita @ The Straits View Condo will be the expansion of The Straits View Residences and possibly some other commercial developments.

Rising construction costs and a lack of skilled workers are among the challenges faced by the developer. While security in Johor Baru has improved in recent times, security features remain good selling points for properties, especially to Singaporean buyers. The service charge for the semidees is about RM400 while for bungalows, it is around RM700 to RM800.

Teh admits that Iskandar Malaysia has benefited Permas Jaya as interest in the region translates into higher interest in the township as well. “With the vast amount of development planned for the Iskandar region, the infrastructure and growth will only serve to benefit Permas Jaya. As the most established township in Johor, Permas Jaya will grow with the region.”



This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 821, Aug 30- Sept 5, 2010.

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