Ever dreamed of living in a bungalow/semi-D/terrace house, with space to call your own, and a garden for your kids and pet to play in, or even a place to put a pool? And set off fireworks during the New Year, or firecrackers during the Lunar New Year?
Or perhaps a high-rise condominium, with full facilities where you can swim, play tennis, have BBQ with your friends, and enjoy unblock views from your apartment?
Or for the sea lovers, own a house right by the sea, where you can dock your own yacht!
And all this, for the price of a HDB flat?
It is possible. A 1615sqft/150sqm condo the price of a 3-room HDB (700sqft/65sqm) in prime areas like Queenstown, ora landed property or a penthouse for the price of a 5-room HDB.
Recently, there’s been an increasing number of Singaporeans, PRs, and even expats, who have been buying property in Iskandar Malaysia, with most buying in the areas just north of Tuas (ie. Nusajaya). Unlike JB at Woodlands checkpoint, the developments north of Tuas are organized and well-planned. Several developers bought up huge chunks of land, and then developed their own townships, with amenities like shopping malls and so on.
This is in line with the Malaysian Government’s plans to develop Johor into a vibrant city, consisting of a Medical Hub (eg. Thomson Medical), Educity* (eg. Newcastle Medical School, Marlborough College UK, Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology), Entertainment (eg. Legoland, Hello Kitty Indoor amusement Park, Johor Premium Outlets, Pinewood Studios UK), and Financial & Industrial areas. Their own Johor administrative offices have also moved into the new area.
But I work in Singapore. Whats the use of owning a property in Malaysia?
Well, there are a few groups of people who buy property in Iskandar.
One group consists of mainly Singaporeans or Malaysians (Singapore PR) who are willing to commute into Singapore via tuas checkpoint daily, in exchange for enjoying a bigger house or condo (their space), and spending RM instead of SGD. There are various ways of getting to/from Singapore. Some drive, while others take the Causeway Link Bus which brings you to Jurong East Interchange, and there is also a bus company that sends kids to their Singapore schools in the morning.
Another group buys property as a weekend home or a future retirement home (renting it out in the meantime). Imagine, it’s tough to retire in Singapore, as the cost of living is so high. However, if you have a property in Malaysia, by the time you retire, your mortgage would have been paid off (through rental or earned income), and if you sell/rent your HDB flat, you would have a comfortable sum of money to live on. Definitely more than what CPF Life can provide for you.
There’s also a third group, which consists of expats working in Singapore (and also in Malaysia).
When Rochelle and Geert Hulst and their two children, Eloise (6) and Alex (5), decided to stay in Singapore for the long term and find their own home, they faced a tricky decision: buy a three-bedroom 1,200-square-foot apartment at Reflections, with its buzzing location near HarbourFront, or buy a 17,000-square-foot piece of land in tranquil Malaysia and build the house of their dreams for a quarter of the price. Read more …
But is Malaysia safe?
Not every country is perfectly safe. Even Singapore has its fair share of crime. However, Nusajaya in general, is better patrolled and guarded than the older side of JB. Also, they are stepping up security in the area, and Nusajaya consists of a very large % of foreign investments (ie. Added pressure for their Government to ensure better security).
Also, most of the developments are gated and guarded, even the landed properties.
Malaysian authorities maintain crime is on the decline but Mr Wan conceded the ‘negative perception’ remains. Given that foreigners are a big target of its high-end homes, UEM Land’s focus on ensuring better security for Nusajaya which spans 24,000 acres and is one of Iskandar’s five flagship zones, is not surprising. The state administrative offices are located there as are attractions such as Legoland which is slated to launch in September.
Mr Wan said nine out of ten buyers of UEM Land’s waterfront properties in Puteri Harbour are foreigners. In its East Ledang and Horizon Hills projects, they comprise 70 and 50 per cent, respectively.
Buying a house in Malaysia might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but at least now, for those who might find themselves priced out of the market, there is an alternative option for consideration.
Hey, even our PM is all smiles about Iskandar!
Check out this site if you wanna find out more.
* Can Malaysia support so many Universities in Educity? What’s interesting to note is, even though there are quite a number of Universities, each only offer something specialized in a certain field. For example, Newcastle offers only medical courses, while Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology offers transport, shipping, seafaring, maritime and logistics management courses. Other universities likewise only has a certain department here.