Jurong East and Nusajaya

Property values around Jurong Lake Distict and Gerbang Nusajaya are expected to rise thanks to the iconic High Speed Rail (HSR) project.

 Jurong Lake District is fast taking shape as a decentralised CBD with almost 500,000 sq m of office space plus 200,000 sq m of retail, food & beverage and entertainment space called Jurong Gateway with plans for 2,800 hotel rooms. Photo: Courtesy of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

Jurong Lake District is fast taking shape as a decentralised CBD with almost 500,000 sq m of office space plus 200,000 sq m of retail, food & beverage and entertainment space called Jurong Gateway with plans for 2,800 hotel rooms. Photo: Courtesy of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

By Khalil Adis

Jurong East in Singapore and Gerbang Nusajaya are set to enjoy further growth as they become new regional centres thanks to the iconic High Speed Rail (HSR) between Singapore and Malaysia although there will be a delay by two years to 2022 for that to fully materialise.

First announced in 2010, the project is the first of its kind in the region which will cut travel time from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to a mere 90 minutes.

This is expected to spur cross-border investments on both sides of the causeway and enhance property values at the eight HSR stops spanning from Sungei Besi in Kuala Lumpur all the way to Jurong East in Singapore.

At the recent Leaders’ Retreat in Singapore, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed that Jurong East has been chosen as the site for the Singapore terminus which will tie in with the government’s overall plans to transform the area into the country’s second Central Business District (CBD).

Noting that the project has received great attention both domestically and internationally, Lee and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak said the HSR project will be a game-changer.

“Both Leaders were encouraged by the support and attention from the global community and looked forward to further progress on this game-changing iconic project which will boost connectivity, facilitate travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, enhance business linkages and improve people-to-people ties,” read a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Singapore’s new gem in the making

Back in 2008, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) had announced the Draft Master Plan for Jurong Lake District which comprised a new CBD and commercial hub along with retail malls and hotels.

The area is fast taking shape as a decentralised CBD with almost 500,000 sq m of office space plus 200,000 sq m of retail, F&B and entertainment space called Jurong Gateway with plans for 2,800 hotel rooms.

Once a sleepy neighbourhood blessed with a lake, Jurong East is now buzzing with life and currently home to a Grade ‘A’ office tower. Called Westgate, this is where CapitaLand, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies, now calls home. Meanwhile, Genting Hotel became the first hotel to make its mark in the district in April 2015.
This growth is set to receive a further boost from tourists and business travellers from Malaysia once the HSR project is completed as it will enhance the area’s desirability.

A property values booster
With the announcement of the HSR station within the area, property values are set to rise even more especially in the current bearish market.

If we follow historical trends in Singapore, properties which are located within close proximity of transportation hubs such as MRT stations tend to appreciate between 5 to 10 per cent over a long period of time.

Further boosting the property market in the vicinity is the demand to live in and around Jurong Lake District, thus leading to higher asking prices.

Homes near the terminus such as those in the neighbourhoods of Jurong East, Lakeside and Taman Jurong are already reporting a 1 per cent increase in asking prices despite the weakening market which is the result of the various cooling measures in place.

These neighbourhoods are 5 minutes away from Jurong Country Club which has been identified as the site for the terminus location

A matching CBD in Nusajaya

Gerbang Nusajaya's press conference. This township will serve as the gateway to Malaysia with a HSR station and mixed-use development. Photo: Courtesy of UEM Sunrise.

Gerbang Nusajaya’s press conference. This township will serve as the gateway to Malaysia with a HSR station and mixed-use development. Photo: Courtesy of UEM Sunrise.

While the station in Nusajaya has not yet been announced, government officials have indicated that it will be located close to Motorsports City near East Ledang.

In April 2015, Nusajaya’s master developer UEM Sunrise Berhad further revealed its comprehensive development plans for Gerbang Nusajaya which will have its own CBD similar to Jurong Lake District.

“Gerbang Nusajaya is the gateway to Iskandar Malaysia and will serve as the commercial and business engine for Nusajaya,” said the company in a statement.

Spread across 4,551 acres of land, this second phase of Nusajaya’s development will be designed with catalytic industries similar to the various economic drivers in Nusajaya and Medini.

Both these areas are home to tourism, logistics, finance, information communication technology and creative industry establishments just to name a few.

In anticipation for the HSR terminus in Gerbang Nusajaya, a number of catalytic developments have been planned.

They include Nusajaya Tech Park, a 519-acre integrated eco-friendly tech park and FASTrack Iskandar which is a 300-acre ‘motorsports city’.

This is the closest hint we can get on the possibility of the Nusajaya HSR station being located here.

With a gross development value of RM42 billion, property values for existing homes in Nusajaya and Medini will enjoy a boost from the economic spillover.

As it stands, condominium prices here range from RM800 to RM1,000 per sq ft.

In the near future, it could possibly increase by 5 to 10 per cent as the area will be developed over a period of 25 years.

An estimated 76,000 direct job offerings and 137,000 indirect job offerings are expected to be created as a result.

UEM anticipates Gerbang Nusajaya to have an estimated 220,000 population upon its completion, tying it nicely with its site for Nusajaya’s HSR terminus.

This article was first published by iProperty.com in its June 2015 issue.

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Forging stronger links

By Khalil Adis

Despite previous setbacks, the planned Woodlands-Johor Bahru RTS-MRT link is expected to reignite the local residential market 

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Woodland MRT Station. Photo: Courtesy of WIkiCommons Media.

Developers and analysts are optimistic that the proposed Rapid Transit System (RTS)-Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) linking Malaysia’s Johor Bahru (JB) to Woodlands, Singapore will have a positive impact  on property values, enhance liveability around the transport hubs and reduce the notorious congestion along the Woodlands-Johor causeway.

“The opening of any MRT station will have a 5 to 10 percent value increase over the longer term,” said Donald Han, managing director of property firm Chesterton Singapore.

“The lure of being just a doorstep or an MRT station  away from Johor Bahru is also a tremendous plus, without having to negotiate perpetual causeway traffic jams especially on weekends.”

He added that the Woodlands North MRT station will be located next  to a proposed Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex and is within System (RTS)–Mass Rapid and the Woodlands Regional Centre, adjoining several offices and business parks to Woodlands, Singapore

Plans for a cross-border link have been on the table since the 80s, but have to date fallen to the wayside as a result of several bilateral disagreements.

The project was, however, revived in May 2010 and both Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak agreed to  jointly develop an RTS  Link.

“I think we will see more Singaporeans and Malaysians who are Singapore Permanent Residents buying second homes in JB city centre to take advantage of the RTS and accessibility to Singapore,” said Han.”The RTS will benefit JB city centre immensely. Singaporeans can now take advantage of ‘lower cost of living’ and to an extent having better lifestyle such as larger apartments with condo facilities at a price of an HDB flat.”

TriTower Residence by MB

TriTower Residence by MB Buikders Sdn Bhd is the closest located near the RTS Station in Bukit Chagar. Photo: Courtesy of MB Builders Sdn Bhd,

Meanwhile, developers believe the RTS station in Johor Bahru will have a positive impact on the overall development of the Malaysian state.

“The Malaysia government’s decision will likely add value to our development, as it will further improve the commuting convenience for our residents, especially for those lacking their own transport and need to travel between Johor Bahru and Singapore frequently,” said Cindi Sim, Group Managing Director of MB Builders Sdn Bhd.

Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Master Plan 2013, the Singapore government has put in place a decentralisation strategy to develop the Woodlands Regional Centre into a key business hub.

It will serve as a northern gateway to Iskandar Malaysia over the next decade and a half, with direct links to the Thomson Line and to Iskandar Malaysia.

Woodlands Regional Centre Draft URA Masterplan 2013. Photo: Courtesy of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Singapore.

Woodlands Regional Centre Draft URA Masterplan 2013. Photo: Courtesy of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Singapore.

Woodands Waterfront

The Land Transportation Authority (LTA) said the RTS would have co-located CIQ facilities on both sides, allowing commuters to clear immigration at a single location for each way of travel.

Four potential stations have been identified: Tanjung Puteri, JB Sentral 1, JB Sentral 2, and Bukit Chagar as the terminating station.

“Consequently, we expect that the RTS project will increase the capital appreciation and potential rental yield of TriTower Residence,” said Sim, whose firm’s TriTower Residence development is located just next to the planned RTS station in Bukit Chagar. “We expect the properties in Bukit Chagar will increase in value due to the RTS project as well as the new Komtar JBCC shopping centre.”

According to Sim, it would be more valuable to stay near to the transit stations following the rise in petrol prices and the recent toll hikes on both sides of the causeway.

Indeed, Johor Bahru is undergoing major transformations, boosted by MYR1.8 billion (USD549 million)worth of committed funds from Malaysia’s federal government. Ambitious projects in the pipeline include the rehabilitation of Sungei Segget, the revival of the city centre, a new entry gateway near the causeway, and a mixed-use development called Vantage Bay.

Likewise, buyers are anticipating new developments to be launched in the area that will benefit from the reduced travel time created by the RTS.

“The RTS will impact my investment decisions, but only within Johor Bahru or Zone A of Iskandar Malaysia,” said William Liong, a homeowner in Iskandar Malaysia. “Nevertheless, I would still be interested in Zone B, Nusajaya, as this area is not too dependent on the RTS. In Nusajaya, the High Speed Rail project and other catalysts wdriving the demand pattern.

Although the announcement of the RTS in Bukit Chagar has been much anticipated by market observers, officials from Malaysia and Singapore are still awaiting confirmation from either side in order to move on to the next phase of the project and approve the specific train station locations.

Despite the delays, however, they remain optimistic about the overall plan, and believe the crosslink will be mutually beneficial for both Singapore and Malaysia, especially in the manufacturing sector, which normally depends on cheaper workforce from Malaysia.

“Malaysian workers may rent apartments within JB City Centre and commute daily via RTS/MRT to Woodlands,” according to Chesterton Singapore’s Han. “It could be a win-win for both JB and Woodlands each holding their own attractive grounds co- existing in unison.”

This story was first published by Property Report in its January 2015 issue.

Save the dates in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor!

Join me on 14-15 June at SP Setia Sales Gallery in Singapore.

Join me on 14-15 June at SP Setia Sales Gallery in Singapore.

Dear friends,

May has been an eventful month where I was invited to speak at the Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Fair 2014 at KFC Hall in Tokyo, Japan on 11 May 2014.

At the event,I had the opportunity to speak to some my friends in Japan after my talk. I thoroughly enjoyed connecting to each and everyone one of them and exchanging ideas on making Japan even more attractive for foreign investors. I have included below picture montage from the meet-and-greet session. I would also like to thank the Japanese government and the organising committee for hosting me.

Meet-and-greet session with my friends and seminar attendees in Tokyo, Japan.

Meet-and-greet session with my friends and seminar attendees in Tokyo, Japan.

For the month of June, I am pleased to share with you that I will be speaking on the following dates:

June 14, 2pm: “Iskandar Malaysia Market Update 2014” at SP Setia, 1 Harbourfront Place, Harbourfront Tower 1 #01-06 Singapore 098633.

June 15, 2pm: “Kuala Lumpur Market Update 2014” at SP Setia, 1 Harbourfront Place,Harbourfront Tower 1 #01-06 Singapore 098633.

June 18. 7.30pm: “Commercial or residential? What Every Smart Investor Must Know Before Investing in Iskandar Malaysia” at Hatten Group Sales Gallery, 55-2 & 55-3, The Boulevard, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

June 19, 7.30pm: “Inside Iskandar – The Singapore Factor” for MCT, Premium-X Cinema, Level 2, SkyPark@OneCity, USJ25, Selangor, Malaysia.

June 21, 3pm: “Iskandar Malaysia Post Budget 2014 – What You Should Know and Mistakes You Must Avoid” for iProperty.com International Property & Investment Expo, Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre Hall 403, Singapore.

June 22, 1pm: “Live in Iskandar Malaysia but without Iskandar Malaysia Pricing”: Appointed Speaker of I&P Group at iProperty.com International Property & Investment Expo, Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre Hall 403, Singapore.

iProperty 8th International & Investment Expo,Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre Hall 403, Singapore.

iProperty 8th International & Investment Expo,Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre Hall 403, Singapore.

If you would like to attend any of the talks, please RSVP here.

Don’t forget you can ask me questions at my talks. Please hashtag #askkhalil #khaliladis when you post on social media.

I look forward to seeing all of you soon in the respective cities!

Yours sincerely,

Khalil Adis

Small but extremely charming

Penang island is slightly smaller than Singapore but it beats Kuala Lumpur and Iskandar Malaysia hands down when it comes to attracting foreign retirees.

Words and photography by Khalil Adis

Charming shophouses with Peranakan influences in Georgetown, Penang. Photo: Khalil Adis.

Charming shophouses with Peranakan influences in Georgetown, Penang. Photo: Khalil Adis.

The playing field has now leveled across the property markets in Malaysia now that the federal government has implemented similar minimum purchase price policy that mirrors those in the opposition state of Penang.

The announcement by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak in October last year follows closely what Penang had implemented in 2012 but without the RM2 million minimum purchase price ceiling for landed homes.

What this means is foreign property investors will now study the market carefully before deciding which areas to invest in.

Hot property destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Iskandar Malaysia will still be on the radar of foreign investors.

However, what could make or break the deal are the unique characteristics of each destination.

Market reacts to Budget 2014

Shortly after the Budget 2014 announcements, the National Property and Information Centre (NAPIC) released its data for the fourth quarter of 2014 which showed a subdued market which goes to show the measures have been effective in curbing excessive speculation.

For example, transaction for residential properties declined by 9.7 points.

Data from NAPIC also showed that huge drops were recorded in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang at 47.5 per cent, 16.2 per cent and 28.1 per cent respectively.

Johor was the only one that witnessed an increase of 4.9 per cent.

This decline came as a result of the new Real Property Gains Tax regime which will see Malaysians and foreigners paying 30 per cent tax should they sell within the first to third year and first to fifth year respectively.

A combination of the cooling measures and oversupply have resulted in the overall price index decline in Malaysia – something that the federal government has been wanting to achieve prior to the election period in 2013.

An oversupply situation is a conundrum as it means plenty of choice for investors and a softening market ahead.

However, it also means it will be challenging to find a tenant and rental yield may not be as attractive.

Kuala Lumpur, Iskandar Malaysia or Penang? 

View of Penang Komtar in Georgetown. Photo: Khalil Adis.

View of Penang Komtar in Georgetown. Photo: Khalil Adis.

According to Malaysia Property Incorporated, foreign investor accounted for 5.5 per cent of the Malaysia market with Kuala Lumpur coming out top at 10 to 16 per cent followed by Johor and Penang at 10 to 14 per cent and 6 to 7 per cent respectively.

While Kuala Lumpur has always been a perennial favourite and will appeal to investors who want the excitement of city living, the city is notorious for traffic jams and high cost of food.

Another concern is the oversupply in condominium units that have seen increasing vacancy rates.

According to data from the National Property and Information Centre (NAPIC), as of the fourth quarter of 2013, Kuala Lumpur has an existing stock of 424, 324 units, incoming supply of 52, 714 units and planned supply of 22, 629 units.

Meanwhile in Iskandar Malaysia, the property market has finally woken up from its slumber.

For the first time, Johor has seen its property prices increasing at an alarming rate after Iskandar Malaysia was launched in 2006 by former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.

From RM250 per sq ft for the very first condominium, Ujana in Nusajaya in 2009 to RM1, 350 for Puteri Cove in 2014, the upbeat in property sentiment caused the state government to impose a new state levy for foreigners from RM10, 000 to RM20, 000 or 2 per cent of the property purchase price (whichever is higher).

However, the property market in Iskandar Malaysia is still in its infancy stage and while food is affordable, they aren’t as authentic and tasty as Penang’s.

Also, the only visible tourism landmark here is LEGOLAND Theme Park while the key industries in Nusajaya will take time to develop as Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB), only started to bring brand names like Newcastle University of Medicine Malaysia (NuMED) in 2008.

The case of an oversupply is also a scary reality in Iskandar Malaysia as we are looking at almost a million units coming on stream (including existing stock).

Long snaking queue at the famous chendol store along Penang Road. Photo: Khalil Adis.

Long snaking queue at the famous chendol store along Penang Road. Photo: Khalil Adis.

While Penang attracted the least number of foreign investors, its tourism industry is vibrant thanks to Georgetown being listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tourists who come to Penang are often drawn by the cheap yet delicious street hawker fares, original drinks like nutmeg juice and Georgetown’s old world charms.

With The Guardian listing Penang as number 8 in the Top 40 global destinations in January this year, more tourists have fallen for Penang’s charm and see it as an ideal retirement place.

In fact, Penang is one of the top retirement destinations among foreign retirees under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme.

Since March 2013, more than 21, 000 applicants have been approved and Penang has always come out top due to the charming island life, scrumptious local food and idyllic beaches.

Medini trivia 1

The Meridin @ Medini by the Mah Sing Group is exempted from the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) and minimum purchase price of RM1 million.

The Meridin @ Medini by the Mah Sing Group is exempted from the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) and minimum purchase price of RM1 million.

Did you know? Medini is the only area in the entire Malaysia to be granted reprieve from the various property cooling measures announced in October for Budget 2014. Find out more at my exclusive talk on 1 March 2014 in Selangor. Light refreshments will be provided: http://eepurl.com/OzYyb

Ceramah Iskandar Malaysia di TripleOne Somerset

Jom, ikutilah ceremah saya hujung minggu ini  (25 - 26 January 2014) dengan Mah Sing Group di TripleOne Somerset, 3 petang.

Jom, ikutilah ceremah saya hujung minggu ini (25 – 26 January 2014) dengan Mah Sing Group di TripleOne Somerset, 3 petang.

Bagi kaum Melayu/Islam di Singapura, jangan lepaskan peluang keemasan ini untuk melabur di Iskandar Malaysia dengan harga yang berpatutan.

Ayuh, ikutilah ceramah saya bersama Mah Sing Group di TripleOne Somerset pada hujung minggu ini 25-26 January 2014 pada pukul 3 petang. Saya akan menjelaskan bagaimana Bajet 2014 di Malaysia akan mempengaruhi pelaburan anda. Saya juga akan menunjukan lokasi-lokasi stesyen-stesyen RTS di Iskandar Malaysia! Makanan ringan dan minuman akan disediakan. Bawalah teman-teman dan keluarga anda!

Jom, kita jumpa hujung minggu ini di TripleOne Somerset, 111 Somerset Road, #02-13/14! Sekian terima kasih!
#askKhalil

Iskandar Malaysia trivia 5

The Meridin @ Medini by the Mah Sing Group is exempted from the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) and minimum purchase price of RM1 million.

The Meridin @ Medini by the Mah Sing Group is exempted from the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) and minimum purchase price of RM1 million.

Did you know? Medini has been granted exemptions from the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) until 2020.The administrator of the exemptions is Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). First time property owners in Medini will be exempted from the RPGT. Find out more at my talk here in Petaling Jaya. I will be taking questions during my property talk. See you on 18 January 2014 at 3pm at Icon City Sales Gallery.