Property glut in Iskandar Malaysia could ease if there is rail connectivity to Singapore | Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents

Property glut in Iskandar Malaysia could ease if there is rail connectivity to Singapore


Property glut in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor could ease with the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (KL-Singapore HSR) service.

Market research firm Datamine said the property glut in the Iskandar region is due to multiple barriers particularly connectivity.

Founder and head of research Jerren Lai said inefficient connectivity with Singapore like the delayed Rapid Transit System (RTS), Puteri Harbour ferry connection to Singapore HarbourFront, and the KL-Singapore HSR were major barriers preventing demand from reaching supply.

The KL-Singapore HSR is an alternative travel mode between two of Southeast Asia's most vibrant and fast-growing economic engines. The iconic project will include seven stations in Malaysia – Bandar Malaysia, Sepang-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat, and Iskandar Puteri, before reaching its last destination in Jurong East, Singapore.

The HSR connectivity will enable businesses to be more productive and access a broader market place, while the public will enjoy an improved travel experience of shorter travel time (90 minutes from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore).

Both Malaysia and Singapore are expected to meet in December to decide on the future of the proposed KL-Singapore HSR.

Lai said if connectivity between the Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex (JB CIQ) and Singapore is significantly improved with the upcoming RTS and Thomson-East Coast Line MRT, a nominal 20 per cent who decide to relocate to Iskandar Malaysia would have fully absorbed the oversupply.

Datamine estimated that some 300,000 white-collar Malaysians are currently renting or own a property in Singapore.

The JB CIQ, opened in 2008 is a large complex at the causeway to Singapore that accommodates Malaysian customs check for cars, trucks, and buses. The JB Sentral train station is within walking distance to it.

Lai said the area surrounding the JB CIQ is the most significant property hotspot in Iskandar Malaysia.

He said properties in the area were within 15 minutes' walking distance to the CIQ hub where the future RTS would be located.

Datamine's latest Iskandar Property Census Tracker for the third quarter revealed that JB CIQ's property median price is RM836,125 or RM921 per square foot (psf), while the rest of Iskandar Malaysia is RM573,931 or RM577 psf.

Lai also said the property oversupply in Iskandar Malaysia was fundamentally different from Klang Valley and Penang.

"The core difference for Iskandar Malaysia is demand can't get to supply due to multiple barriers," he said in a statement.

Lai said to alleviate the issue, Singapore would be the ideal market to trigger the change as 80 per cent of Singaporeans live in leasehold Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats.

The HDB flats, he said, would rapidly lose their value nearing 60 years as banks would be reluctant to offer loans.

"Many aspire to get freehold properties but are out of their reach in Singapore, while Iskandar Malaysia has an abundance of freehold properties so there is a viable option to sell their HDB flats fast and buy into Iskandar Malaysia properties," he said.