All eyes on JB / Iskandar Malaysia

RIVER OF LIFE: Johor Bahru property market is expected to chart strong growth within the next seven years. 2012 has been touted as the tipping point year for Iskandar.

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With LEGOLAND in full swing and drawing some 10,000 visitors from across the region such as Singapore, Indonesia, the Phillipines and China, it looks like the party has just started. This and the completion of several other catalytic projects have reinforced investors’ confidence in the region generally. “Prices will eventually rise to unprecedented levels rapidly,” declares a very optimistic Gavin Tee, founder of Swhengtee International Real Estate Investors Club.

Although prices have been stagnant for the last 20 years, Tee believes that prices will eventually rise to reflect the growing popularity of Iskandar and its potential as a megalopolis. Johor Bahru city centre itself is slated for a major transformation into a world class city within five to seven years.
“It will take five to seven years to completely redevelop and rejuvenate Johor Baru city centre into a vibrant city befitting of its status as one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia,‘‘ says Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim.
The masterplan for the Johor Baru city centre transformation project is divided into two parts comprising the development concept and business plans.
A consortium comprising public and private sector players will undertake the multi-billion ringgit project covering 485.62ha in the city central area including enhancing Bukit Timbalan and heritage buildings; the former site of Lumba Kuda low-cost flats; Bukit Chagar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex; Tanjung Puteri Lorry Customs complex and areas within the Johor Zoo; the Ayer Molek prison and Hospital Sultanah Aminah.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced that the government would allocate RM1.8 billion for the transformation project, which will include RM200 million to revitalise Sungai Segget as a catalyst for transformation in the JB Commercial Business District (CBD).
Sungai Segget flows along Jalan Wong Ah Fook in downtown Johor Baru and would be the ‘heart’ of the Johor Baru city transformation project.
“Once the cleaning works on Sungai Segget have been completed, I can visualise gondolas travelling up and down the river, just like in Venice, Italy. Johor Baharu will become the Venice of Malaysia,” Najib was quoted to have said.
IRDA’s Ismail agrees and is hopeful that once the cleaning is completed, the river would function as a tourism attraction much like in Venice and Amsterdam. “People can sit along the river banks for relaxation and there would be flat bottom boats passing through the river.”
Ismail cites the successful transformation of River Cheong in South Korea which underwent a US$1 billion (RM3 billion) cleaning up project in 2003 despite much criticism. After the transformation which took two years, it became a very popular hangout spot among citizens and tourists.
IRDA is also looking at cities such as Istanbul, San Francisco, Cambridge and Oxford for new ideas to modernise JB city centre, such as tram services in San Francisco and Istanbul.
Price trending upwards: With the transformation, prices of properties would naturally rise as more people are drawn to the location. Prices since 2010 have trended strongly upwards as shown by figures by Malaysia Property Inc (MPI): See Table 1.
“Property prices in selected locations in Iskandar Malaysia in Johor have risen by more than 30–40 per cent for the past two years, especially in the newer and fashionable areas within Nusajaya and Johor Bahru Town Centre,” says IRDA’s Ismail.
“With IRDA’s strategic projects coming onstream in year 2012/2013, we will be expecting a lot more interest in property investment especially in preferred locations like Nusajaya, Senibong Cove, Taman Molek and Mount Austin (JB Town Centre).”
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One Response to All eyes on JB / Iskandar Malaysia

  1. Pingback: Cheap as China and closer: Malaysia zone woos Singapore firms & Investors | Iskandarhome

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