Johor Rehda targets more markets besides Singapore

Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association branch chairman Datuk Steve Chong Yoon On.

JOHOR BARU: The Johor chapter of the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) has plans to reach out to a wider market other than Singapore in promoting the state’s property projects, especially those in Iskandar Malaysia.

Newly-elected Johor Rehda chairman Datuk Steve Chong Yoon On (pic) said the chapter would organise the first Malaysia Property Exposition (Mapex) International next year should everything go as planned.

He said the time had come for Johor Rehda members to get their act together and start promoting Johor and Iskandar Malaysia to international property buyers. Johor Rehda has 128 developers, with most of their projects located in Iskandar Malaysia.

“The cost might be higher to hold the event (Mapex) outside Malaysia, but nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Chong said in an interview recently.

He said most members would take part in the twice-yearly Mapex Johor, targeting mostly local buyers, but need to think out of the box and extend their market by reaching more potential buyers from other countries in the region apart from Singaporeans, already the largest group of foreign property buyers in Iskandar Malaysia.

“However, Rehda members from other states are welcome to join us in the Mapex International and all of us can promote Malaysia to international buyers.

“Literally, there is a huge regional untapped market for local developers with projects in Iskandar Malaysia and other parts of Johor,” he said, pointing to China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea as potential destinations for the first Mapex International.

Chong said pricing would be the main strategy in attracting buyers to Mapex International, as the average selling price of landed property by local developers here was RM500 per sq ft.

“This is much lower than the average selling price by Chinese developers in the ongoing projects in Iskandar Malaysia of between RM1,200 and RM1,800 per sq ft,” he said, adding that besides pricing, Malaysia’s attractions included a country free from major natural catastrophes with English being widely spoken.

Chong said Iskandar Malaysia’s proximity to Singapore was another added advantage for local developers to attract regional property buyers.

“The republic is an international financial and trade centre and foreign buyers can have the best of both worlds – Singapore and Johor Baru at their door steps,” he added.

He said the progress and development taking place in the country’s first economic growth corridor Iskandar Malaysia since its inception on Nov 4, 2006 would be another strong selling point to attract international buyers.

Chong said the influx of domestic and foreign investors and new residents in Iskandar Malaysia had created demand for property in south Johor and supported the property market.

According to the Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Iskandar Malaysia has recorded RM208bil in cumulative committed investments to-date, including from the services sector, with 51% of the investments having been realised.

Statistics from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority showed Johor had in 2013 received RM14.4bil in investment in the manufacturing sector, although this was down from RM21.1bil in 2014 and RM30bil in 2015.

The data also showed that Johor remained the top destination in the country, with the state’s manufacturing sector receiving almost RM86.3bil from 2010 until 2015.

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