10 reasons why you should invest in Iskandar Malaysia

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Aerial view of Senibong Cove with the Straits of Johor and Sembawang Shipyard at the backdrop. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

There are many opportunities to be sought in Iskandar Malaysia in 2016. We list our top 10 here.

By Khalil Adis

Check the masterplan. Caption - Aerial view of Iskandar Puteri in Iskandar Malaysia. Iskandar Puteri is one example of a well masterplanned township development

Aerial view of Iskandar Puteri. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy

Reason 1: Iskandar Malaysia is the top performing economic corridor in Malaysia.

Due to its close proximity to Singapore, Iskandar Malaysia is the most successful out of the five economic corridors in Malaysia. Latest figures from Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) showed that Singapore is the top foreign investor followed by China, the United States of America, Spain and Japan. The total cumulative investment from 2006 to October 2015 is now RM78.53 billion with the manufacturing sector leading the way at RM50.82 billion.

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Murals on shophouses at the heritage area of Johor Bahru old town. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Reason 2: Tourism boost
With Singapore being an international hub and the closest to the Malaysian state of Johor, government officials are setting its sight to get more Singaporeans and international travellers to cross the border.

Figures from Johor Immigration Department showed that Singaporeans were the top visitors to the state in 2011 and 2012 with 13,448,062 and 17.192.742 visitor arrivals respectively. This was an increase of 27.8 per cent. Meanwhile, according to figures from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Lion City recorded 1.72 million tourist arrivals from China and 940,000 from India in 2014. In the same year, 620,000 and 290,000 Chinese and Indian tourists respectively visited Johor.

With many using Singapore as a transit point, the aim for 2016 is to attract around five million tourists from China, India, Indonesia and the Middle East. Excluding visitors from Singapore, the figures could hit beyond the five million mark.

With so many things to look forward to by the end of this year, like taking a stroll along Sungei Segget and exploring the many rich cultural gems that Johor Bahru has to offer, 2016 could well be a busy year for the tourism industry and its related sector like retail and food & beverage.

View land reclamations at the causeway from Johor Bahru going in to Singapore. Since Iskandar Malaysia's inception in 2006, the property market in Johor had witnessed a remarkable turnaround thanks to the spi

View of causeway from Woodlands to Johor Bahru. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

 

Reason 3: Enhanced connectivity to Singapore
Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru and Woodlands North in Singapore are set to be the next property hotspots once the planned cross-border rail service linking Johor’s Rapid Transit System (RTS) and Singapore’s MRT system is completed in 2018 to 2019.

First announced by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak at the Leader’s Retreat in May 2010, the cross-border rail service will enhance cross-border travel and bring about a positive impact on property prices on both sides of the causeway.

Already, the project is making good progress with a joint feasibility study completed.  Bukit Chagar has been announced as the final site.

Flagship A of Iskandar Malaysia includes Johor Bahru CBD and Danga Bay

A dedicated bus lane will serve the BRT lines in Iskandar Malaysia. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Reason 4: BRT Lines
In addition, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines are expected to commence their services soon with the interchange station at Bukit Chagar. It will feature a dedicated bus lane with three lines. Therefore, this will increase the desirability for properties that are located along the lines. BRT Line 1 will span from Bukit Chagar to Tebrau, BRT Line 2 from Bukit Chagar to Senai and finally, BRT Line 3  from Bukit Chagar to Nusajaya.

Bukit Bintang Monorail Station which will be connected to the KVMRT line as part of the Economic Transformation Programme. Gen Ys should research and study new economic drivers and look for affordable propert.JPG

Monorail in Bukit Bintang. The entire train system will be connected to the High Speed Rail Station in Bandar Malaysia. Photo credit: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Reason 5: High Speed Rail Project
The Johor stop for the High Speed Rail project will be in the vicinity of Gerbang Nusajaya, not to far away from East Ledang and Motorsports City. This will be the final leg of the Malaysian station before it enters Singapore, terminating at Jurong East.  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.

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Towering office buildings in KLCC. Photo credit: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Reason 6: A new CBD in Gerbang Nusajaya
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.

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.

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RM18 billion boost for the Pengerang RAPID Project. Photo credit: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Reason 7: RM18 billion boost for Pengerang RAPID project
Outlined as one of the key areas under Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Plan (ETP), the Pengerang RAPID project aims to raise the quality of life, create jobs and income levels in eastern Johor.

Launched in 2013 with an initial investment of US$20 billion, this massive oil and gas project has already created jobs for some 50, 000 construction workers and 400 engineers. So far, the first phase, which comprises a RM9 billion Pengerang Independent Deep Water Petroleum Terminal, has already been completed in 2014. The first phase of its petroleum storage facility will have the capacity to store up to 1.3 million cubic metres of petroleum products. By end 2016, a further 4, 000 jobs will be created for trained technical staff once the project comes progressively on-stream.

Once the refinery is completed, the Pengerang RAPID project will have the capacity to produce 300, 000 barrels per day of higher grade fuels meeting European specifications and other byproducts for the different industries. RM18 billion has been allocated here as part of Budget 2016.

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A lonely stretch of road in Desaru. Photo credit: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Reason 8: The Eastern Gate is the next growth centre
Deemed as an ‘ulu’ area, homes in Pasir Gudang are currently averaging between RM300 to RM400 per sq ft. However, this is an up and coming area as the Eastern Gate is the only zone that has received budget allocation from Budget 2016.

The Pengerang RAPID project is expected to have a spillover impact in Pasir Gudang. In addition, the budget had also allocated for a new public hospital in Pasir Gudang to cater to its growing population. With this, the Eastern Gate is poised to be the next growth centre in Iskandar Malaysia. If we study the history of Nusajaya and Johor Bahru, homes in these areas have seen almost 50 per cent increase in their values. History could repeat itself in the Eastern Gate.

The state and federal government had allocated spending for public infrastructure. These include the upgrading of the Pasir Gudang Highway and a new hospital.

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Petronas Twin Towers in KLCC. More jobs are expected to be created in Pengerang. Photo credit: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Reason 9: More jobs to be created
With phase one of Iskandar Malaysia successfully launched in Nusajaya in 2006 and phase two currently taking place in Johor Bahru, the Eastern Gate is what many perceive as phase three of Iskandar Malaysia’s economic development.

With the Pengerang RAPID projects and a new business park in Pasir Gudang as the major economic drivers, these are expected to create job opportunities for Johoreans.

The business park for instance is anticipated to create around 12,100 jobs in the sectors of food and beverage production, garment manufacturer, printing and packaging industries, electronics, storage and warehousing, services, information technology, machinery spare parts, carpentry and furniture production and automotive workshops

Meanwhile, the Pengerang RAPID RM70 billion project spanning 2,000 hectares, has already created 40,000 jobs in the construction industry, 400 jobs for engineers and a further 4,000 jobs for trained technical staff. With the further allocation of RM18 billion, more jobs will be created.

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Hershey’s is the leading North American manufacturer of quality chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery and chocolate-related grocery products. The company also is a leader in the gum and mint category. Photo credit: The Hershey’s Company.

Reason 10: Senai and the chocolate factory
Senai and Skudai comprises agricultural, industrial and pockets of residential and commercial areas.  There are two small towns located here – Senai and Skudai.. Over the years, Senai and Skudai has developed as a hub for food & agro processing and retail tourism. In 2013, it scored a major coup when Hershey’s opened its chocolate factory here just opposite Senai Hi Tech Park.

With an investment of RM816 million, this will be Hershey’s second largest plant in the world and is expected to create 400 jobs Johoreans. It will have the capacity to produce tens of millions of Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Bars every day.

Are there still affordable homes for Johoreans?

Yes there is. However, first time home owners should target for homes near to new growth corridors in and around Iskandar Malaysia and near to transport hubs.

Country Garden in Danga Bay. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Country Garden in Danga Bay. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

By Khalil Adis

Take a drive from Nusajaya all the way to Tanjung Puteri and you can’t help but notice the many housing projects marketed as “luxurious” by developers in Iskandar Malaysia.

With an average pricing of RM1, 000 per sq ft for condominiums in Nusajaya and around RM900 for condominiums in Johor Bahru, a studio unit would range from RM450, 000 to RM500, 000.

Is this something that locals can afford?

Let’s do the maths.

Assuming a loan of 80 per cent with a current interest rate of 4.45 per cent (Base Lending Rate of 6.85 per cent minus 2.4 per cent) for a RM 450,000 property, the monthly mortgage would work out to around RM1, 813.

With an average income of RM3, 000 per month, these homes are by no means affordable for Johoreans and are more geared towards the Singapore and overseas markets.

Additionally, let us look at statistics that will help give us an idea of what affordability means to Malaysians.

According to iProperty.com Malaysia’s Asia Property Market Sentiment Survey for the second half of 2014, majority of Malaysians (49 per cent) have an annual income of RM30, 001 to RM90, 000

This means their monthly income would range from RM2, 500 to RM7, 500

Of the 5,295 respondents surveyed, 5 per cent are from Johor, while the majority is from Selangor (48 per cent) and Kuala Lumpur (31 per cent).

Majority (53 per cent) of the respondents have a budget of less than RM500, 000 for their homes.

If we take a median income of RM5, 000 across Malaysia servicing a mortgage for an RM450, 000 home, this will leave them with around RM3, 200 for other expenses.

For Johoreans, however, we have to adjust this downwards to RM3, 000 as this is the average income for most graduates here.

Thus, this will leave them around RM1, 200 – perhaps just enough to get by.

Hence, affordability will be a major issue for fresh graduates and first time home owners.

The next question is then, “are there still affordable homes for Johoreans?”

The answer is yes.

Affordable homes will drive the market in 2015

With a general slow down in property transactions in Iskandar Malaysia from Singaporeans and overseas buyers, developers are already bracing for a tough time ahead.

Data from the National Property and Information Centre (NAPIC) showed that property transactions in Johor saw a steep decline of 33 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2014.

While this will mean a challenging time for the medium to high-end market segments, this will spell good news for local buyers as affordable homes will be the focus for this year.

Already the state government has put on hold approvals for serviced apartments in Iskandar Malaysia while developers are shifting their focus to the local market.

New hot spots

The eastern corridor of Iskandar Malaysia where the Pengerang RAPID project is located at is the next area of growth. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy,

The eastern corridor of Iskandar Malaysia where the Pengerang RAPID project is located at is the next area of growth. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy,

For those of you who are thinking of buying your first home, you might be wondering, “where are the affordable homes and which areas should I target for?”

If you have missed out on Nusajaya’s and Johor Bahru’s transformations, fret not.

There are other areas where the federal government is focusing on for the next phase of Iskandar Malaysia’s economic development – the corridors of Pasir Gudang and Pengerang.

In fact, Pasir Gudang and Masai are poised to be the new hot spots as it will enjoy the economic spillover from Malaysia’s largest oil and gas hub in Pengerang.

First announced in March 2012 by Datuk Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, this RM70 billion project spanning 2,000 hectares has already created 40,000 jobs in the construction industry, 400 jobs for engineers and a further 4,000 jobs for trained technical staff.

This has fueled demand for homes in and around the area.

To gear up for the economic spillover from this Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), a new mixed-used development will be coming up in Pasir Gudang that is expected to create some 12,100 jobs with 865 units of affordable housing to be built by 2018.

Developed by UM Land, the project called Taman Seri Albion will comprise an industrial park targeting Malaysian and Singapore small manufacturing enterprise (SMEs) including food and beverage production, garment manufacturer, printing and packaging industries, electronics, storage and warehousing, services, information technology, machinery spare parts, carpentry and furniture production and automotive workshops.

This will not only create businesses and jobs for locals but also enhance the desirability of homes in Iskandar Malaysia’s next growth corridor.

Chief Minister of Johor Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin, who was the guest-of-honour at the event, had noted that this project will add to 37,000 affordable housing that will be coming on-stream by 2018 in Johor.

“The township will change the investment landscape here. It is a step in the right direction considering it is a mixed use development with affordable housing for Johoreans,” he said.

He also noted that this project is different from the federal-launched PR1MA housing project as the highest quantum price here will be capped at RM150, 000 with high-speed internet connection.

PR1MA homes

Speaking of PR1MA homes. there are four projects of choices for bumiputeras spanning from Tebrau to Pasir Gudang..

The starting prices for the projects in Tebrau and Pasir Gudang start from RM180, 000 to RM185, 000 respectively onwards.

There is no indicative pricing yet for the projects in Masai and Pulai.

Transport hubs

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines are expected to commence their services this year.

Therefore, this will increase the desirability for properties that are located along the lines.

Areas that are worth looking into include BRT Line 1 spanning from Bukit Chagar to Tebrau, BRT Line 2 spanning from Bukit Chagar to Senai and finally, BRT Line 3 spanning from Bukit Chagar to Nusajaya.

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

Can Iskandar Malaysia succeed without Singapore?

With waning interests from Singaporeans, will it be boom or bust for the special economic zone?

View of the Woodlands Causeway from Johor Bahru. Photo: Khalil Adis

View of the Woodlands Causeway from Johor Bahru. Photo: Khalil Adis

By Khalil Adis

The history between Singapore and Johor is a long and interesting one spanning centuries and one that is often intertwined.

With a history spanning back since the 14th century when Singapore was once the seat of governance for the Johor Sultanate to the signing of the treaty with the British in 18th century, our history and economy are often inextricably linked although we are now a sovereign state.

What changed the course of history was the signing of a treaty that Sultan Ali had signed in 1855 with the British to transfer his power in Johor to Temenggung Daeng Ibrahim.

Temenggung Daeng Ibrahim subsequently moved his seat of governance from its old capital in Teluk Blangah in Singapore to Tanjung Puteri which is now known as Johor Bahru.

While the imposing palace in Singapore still remains today, it has been converted to a mosque housing the Johor Royal Mosouleum and where members of the royal household are laid to rest at a nearby cemetery – a reminder of its glorious past.

Over the other side of the causeway, however, is where Johor’s exciting future lies – Iskandar Malaysia.

Home to the current Sultan of Johor, it appears our history is set to intertwine yet again with Iskandar Malaysia as a sort of hinterland for Singapore, as the Sultan admits.

“The future is in Johor because Singaporeans, not just Chinese, will be buying homes in Johor. Homes are already beyond the reach of ordinary Singaporeans over there. It is a political issue when the middle-class find themselves squeezed,” Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar told a paper recently

From sceptism to optimism – the Singapore factor

When Iskandar Malaysia was first mooted in 2006 by former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, Singaporeans were very skeptical about it.

It was only after the land swop deal was concluded in 2010, did sentiment turned positive.

Led by both the Singapore and Malaysian government, both countries had agreed to jointly develop two iconic projects in Medini via Temasek Holdings and Khazanah Nasional.

Subsequently, Temasek Hodings via CapitaLand entered into a joint-venture agreement with Iskandar Watefront Holdings to develop a land parcel at A2 Danga Island.

These factors gave Iskandar Malaysia the much needed confidence booster among Singaporeans to snap up properties just across the causeway.

At the peak of the market in 2013, almost 74 per cent of non-Malaysian property buyers were from Singapore, according to data from UEM Sunrise.

Figures from Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) also showed that Iskandar Malaysia has secured RM24.87billion in new investments from January 2014 to October 2014.

From 2006 to October 2014, Iskandar Malaysia has recorded RM156.51 billion in total cumulative committed investments.

Of this total, 51 per cent or RM79.17 billion represent investments that have been realised.

Singapore remains the top foreign investor.

Has Iskandar Malaysia lost its appeal among Singaporeans?

Site visit to Iskandar Malaysia. Photo: Khalil Adis.

Site visit to Iskandar Malaysia. Photo: Khalil Adis.

While Singaporeans will still look to Iskandar Malaysia to buy a property, buying activity is admittedly, not as robust as before.

Anecdotal evidence on the ground shows some developers are having problems moving units while property launches are not as well-received as before.

Various factors such as property cooling measures announced during Budget 2014, the flurry of project launches by Chinese developers and the recent toll hikes on both sides of the causeway are causing some to stay away.

One Singapore-based investor who has a home in Iskandar Malaysia said the toll hikes in particular will impact investment sentiment.

“This news will be good and bad news to different people. It will be good news to real business owners (such as factory owners) as it will mean faster travelling time even with the higher tolls, as those business owners value their time more than the toll paid. However, it will be bad news for regular visitors to petrol kiosks, cheap car washing facilities and so on,” said William Liong.

With Singapore as the top foreign investors, will this spell the end for Iskandar Malaysia?

Singapore investments include Ascott Somerset Puteri Harbour, Puteri Cove, Motorsports City and Vantage Bay, just to name a few.

Already, AsiaOne Business is reporting that CapitaLand’s investment in Danga Bay as well as other developers had hit a snag.

CapitaLand has said it is “waiting for the relevant regulatory approval for (its) Danga Bay project’s masterplan”.

Iskandar Malaysia too big to fail

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) masterplan for the new Woodlands Regional Centre include a cross border rail link service linking Woodlands North MRT Station to the RTS station in Johor Bahru. Photo: Khalil Adis.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) masterplan for the new Woodlands Regional Centre include a cross border rail link service linking Woodlands North MRT Station to the RTS station in Johor Bahru. The RTS-MRT project will be the game changer for Iskandar Malaysia. Photo: Khalil Adis.

While the Singapore factor may have given Iskandar Malaysia a boost on the international stage due to Singapore being a global city, it is unlikely Iskandar Malaysia will fail.

Here’s why.

While Singapore may be the top foreign investor, majority of the investment are still driven by the domestic market.

Data from IRDA showed that RM99 billion or 63 per cent of the total cumulative investment were from Malaysia while the rest – RM57.5 billion (or 37 per cent) – were contributed by foreign investors.

In addition, the residential property sector forms only RM38.59 billion of the total cumulative investments.

Majority of the investments were driven by the manufacturing sector at RM50.97 billion.

This includes investment from the sectors of Electrical & Electronics, Petrochemical & Oleo-chemical and Food- & Agro-processing.

Perhaps the biggest catalyst will be the cross-border rail link service linking Singapore’s MRT to Johor Bahru’s RTS system.

Once completed in 2019, it will result in more investments in Iskandar Malaysia and this is something the current Sultan of Johor had noted.

“Once the links are in place, it will become the norm for Singaporeans to live in Johor and work in Singapore. That is the future,” he told a paper.

Likewise, investors are looking forward to the link.

“The RTS will impact my investment decision, but only within Johor Bahru or Zone A of Iskandar Malaysia,” said Liong

This has spurred him to look at other developments which are within a one km radius area from the RTS station.

Like siblings, blood is thicker than water and is what best describes the relationship between Singapore and Johor.

Both has had its fair of ups and downs with its history of rivalry and on-and-off close relationship.

As the RTS-MRT link shows, even as we brace towards the future, our history and economies remain inextricably intertwined.

Like it or not, Singapore still needs Iskandar Malaysia as much as it needs Singapore.

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

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 2

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? The tourism industry is a growing industry in Iskandar Malaysia. LEGOLAND Theme Park has surpassed its 1 million visitor arrivals as of 15 September 2013 and this is expected to increase with the opening of LEGOLAND Hotel. This presents a great opportunity to invest in hotel suites. Find out more details with data from Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) at my talk on 1 March in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Sign up here. Light refreshments will be provided. http://eepurl.com/OzYyb

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

Iskandar Malaysia Talk in Petaling Jaya on 1 March 2014

Meridin by the Mah Sing Group is located in a Grade 'A' site in Medini, Nusajaya, Johor.

The Meridin@Medini by the Mah Sing Group is located in a Grade ‘A’ site in Medini, Nusajaya, Johor.

Imagine living in a smart, interconnected city with a low-carbon foot print but away from the notorious traffic jams in Klang Valley. Imagine also living in a bustling metropolis with a projected population of 3 million where travelling to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are so convenient. To ensure you will not miss such a good investment opportunity, I am conducting a talk with Mah Sing Group in Petaling Jaya, Selangor on 1 March 2014 at 2pm. If you’d like to attend, please sign up here. Light refreshments will be provided. http://eepurl.com/OzYyb