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Monday, January 21, 2008

More developers eye Johor land

More property developers are buying land in Johor as they bet that the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) will spur higher prices.

Prices are rising, albeit marginally at present, due in part to demand as well as costly building materials, industry executives said.

At the current rate, it will take some time before they rival prices in Kuala Lumpur, they said.

Mah Sing Group Bhd chief Datuk Leong Hoy Kum said its three existing projects in Johor have enjoyed brisk sales since Iskandar's launch.

Prices of properties in prime locations in Johor Baru have risen by about five to 10 per cent, he said.

Mah Sing recently bought 24ha in Johor Baru for RM21 million to develop a new township, called Sri Pulai Perdana 2.

"We expect the prices of properties in Sri Pulai Perdana 2 to rise slightly by five to 10 per cent," Leong said in reply to questions from Business Times.

Another company which is betting on Johor is Tradewinds Corp Bhd, owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

Tradewinds is buying 363ha in Bandar Nusajaya for RM145 million.

Naza Group's property unit, TTDI Development Sdn Bhd, is also looking to buy land in the state.

According to Datuk Yap Suan Chee, who controls the Melati Ehsan Group, real estate sales have picked up by more than 20 per cent.

Yap told Business Times that Melati Ehsan plans to buy more land in Iskandar.

It also wants to develop properties together with landowners.

The group is now developing its maiden venture in Johor, Taman Ehsan Jaya, located within Iskandar, in a partnership with landowner TPPT Sdn Bhd, a unit of Bank Negara Malaysia.

The project comprises 5,000 shoplots, medium-cost houses and low-cost apartments built over 122ha, and is worth around RM850 million.

"We have completed half the project for RM400 million.

"We expect the take-up rate for the remaining units to improve, and we hope to complete the job ahead of schedule due to demand," Yap said.

"We have raised our sale price slightly in the last two years, but this was also to incorporate higher building material costs," he added.

By New Straits Times - (Business Times)

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