Johor property gets boost from Iskandar M’sia


WORK on Iskandar Malaysia over the past year has led to an increase in economic activity that has boosted demand for housing, particularly along the Skudai and Tebrau corridors, according to a property market report.

The property market in the southern state emerged from a hiatus in the second half of last year on growing confidence fuelled by improving economic conditions and expectations of a strong rebound.

But a key element for Johor property has been the rolling out of infrastructure in Iskandar Malaysia.

The special economic zone ‘dominated all business and property-related airwaves in 2009’, CH Williams Talhar & Wong (CTW) said in a report. ‘The area that stands to benefit from on-going infrastructure works will continue to show promise.’

Although launched at the end of 2005, development of Iskandar Malaysia was held back by the recession and the tipping point for the zone is now expected to be reached around 2011-2012.

Increasingly, Johor has hogged the limelight for the growing number of prestige property projects that are in various stages of implementation.

Private sector projects, derailed by the global financial crisis, are starting to come on-stream and a number of them are of enormous scale. They include the soon-to-be launched RM12 billion (S$5.15 billion) South Key project on the previous Majidi Army camp site and the RM4 billion Lido Boulevard development by Central Malaysian Properties.

The state government, through its investment agencies, has stakes in both long-term developments, as it does in most major projects in the state.

Also on the drawing board is a trade and distribution hub to be located in Iskandar’s Eastgate Development Zone. Developer Malaysia Pacific Development has said the RM1.6 billion trade and expo park will be Asia’s biggest.

The state is also looking at proposals for a couple of billion-ringgit oil facilities – a refinery at Teluk Ramunia near Kota Tinggi and a deepwater petroleum terminal facility at Pengerang. Environmental impact reports are now being studied.

Danga Bay also has its fair share of projects, including the RM650 million Oakwood Residences and Iskandar Residences on which work started last year. And 10 days ago, Australia’s Walker Corporation unveiled plans for a RM1.7 billion waterfront project, stretching from Danga Bay to the Lunchoo River, to be modelled on the Hope Island Resort on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

CTW said a key development last year was the relocation of the new state administrative centre to Kota Iskandar in Nusajaya, where a number of prestige projects, including international theme parks, are being constructed.

While CTW director Danny Yeo believes Johor commercial real estate to be a better bet, he has said that people buying property to live in, especially near Nusajaya, have little downside if they choose the right projects – waterfront, good security and developers with a good track record.

Even so, perhaps because of oversupply issues from previous years, CTW generally does not see prices rising in Johor Baru this year. Other than retail, which it sees slipping, it expects the office, shophouse, residential, industrial, hospitality, development land, and agricultural segments to be flat.

By Pualine NgĀ IN KUALA LUMPUR

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