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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Singapore move likely to benefit Iskandar

JOHOR BARU: Property developers in Iskandar Malaysia are expected to benefit from the new ruling introduced by Singapore for foreigners buying private properties in the republic.

The move was introduced on Wednesday to cool private residential property prices in the island state which are on the uptrend despite a slowing economy.

Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association branch chairman Simon Heng said foreigners buying properties in Singapore for investment might look elsewhere in the region.

“With Iskandar Malaysia progressing well since its inception five years ago, these buyers (foreigners and Singaporeans) are most probably looking at Johor Baru,’’ he told StarBizWeek.

Heng said prices of residential properties in Johor were much lower than those in Singapore and Johor’s close proximity with the republic was an added advantage compared with places like Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

He said developers with projects in Nusajaya would benefit the most as there were no restrictions on property ownership by foreigners, including Singaporeans.

On the other hand, areas outside Nusajaya in Iskandar did not enjoy the privilege and in places where the 30% quota was imposed on developers selling residential properties worth RM500,000 and above, Heng said.

Another strong selling point for Nusajaya was its location, not far from the second link crossing, which made it a favourite place for Singaporeans living in Johor Baru but working in the island, he added.

UEM Land Holdings Bhd is the master developer of the 9,308ha Nusajaya which is the key driver of Iskandar and one of the five flagship development zones in the country’s first economic region.

Nusajaya comprises seven signature developments – Kota Iskandar (Johor State New Administrative Centre), Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters, Puteri Harbour Waterfront Development, EduCity, Medical City, International Destination Resort and Residential Developments.

Other flagship development zones in Iskandar are the Johor Baru City Centre, Eastern Gate Development Zone, Western Gate Development Zone and Kulai-Senai.

“Rehda members are hoping that the special treatment accorded to Nusajaya would be extended to other development zones in Iskander as well,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Daiman Development Bhd general manager Siah Chin Leong said it was still too early to see the impact on the Johor Baru property market following the new ruling.

He said majority of foreigners buying private residential properties in Singapore were investors and high net income individuals who already owned properties in other major cities in the world.

Siah said overseas investors were particularly the affluent Chinese from the mainland, Indonesian Chinese, Indian nationals and, to some extent, Malaysians, were flocking to buy properties in Singapore.

Berinda Group sales manager Lim Sung Heng expected that there would be a spill-over effect from the ruling on the Johor Baru property market probably within the next few months.

He said the state government and other relevant agencies must make more effort to make Iskander a preferred destination for property buyers not only Singaporeans but also other nationalities.

By The Star

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