Positive outlook for property market

Sale and rental of homes in Johor Baru and Iskandar Malaysia are expected to improve in the near future, once the border between Malaysia and Singapore is reopened. — Filepic

PROSPECTS for the Johor property market, especially in Iskandar Malaysia, are likely to improve once the border between Malaysia and Singapore reopens.

Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Johor Rehda) chairman Wong Boon Lang said the industry had faced its most challenging period due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the first movement control order, which started on March 18, 2020.

“Hopefully, we don’t have to wait long for good news about the border between the two countries reopening,’’ he said when contacted.

He said there were many property transactions in Iskandar Malaysia before the closing of the border in March last year, involving locals working in Singapore.

Apart from Malaysians, he said, the transactions also involved Singaporean buyers as Johor Baru was attractive to those looking for residential properties.

“Many Malaysians working in Singapore are taking advantage of the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) to buy houses in Johor Baru,” said Wong.

He said Rehda hoped the government would consider extending the HOC, which was slated to end on Dec 31, to December next year.

Extending the campaign would provide a welcome boost to Johor’s property market, he said.

“Now is the best time to buy a property and also encourage home ownership among Malaysians,’’ he said, adding that demand for houses priced between RM300,000 and RM450,000 each was on an upward trend.

Gunung Impian Development Sdn Bhd general manager Koh Moo Hing urged the Federal and Johor governments to work closely to boost the state’s economy post-Covid-19 and the impending opening of international borders.

“Johor Baru remains attractive to Singaporean property investors due to its close distance to the republic, and many similarities shared between Johor and Singapore,’’ he said.

He noted that although matters related to property was under state jurisdiction, there were certain rulings imposed by Putrajaya which affected the industry, such as the latest requirements for Malaysia My Second Home.

“We should welcome investors from all over the world, instead of coming out with policies that send the wrong signal to them,” he said.

Koh said that even during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Indonesia and Singapore had been able to attract foreign investors to their shores.

“The influx of investors will create new job opportunities for locals, push up demand for properties and benefit other economic sectors,’’ he added.

Unitay Property Sdn Bhd proprietor Michael Tay Chee Boon said business in Johor Baru district would improve once Singaporeans were allowed to enter Malaysia via the Johor Causeway.

He said the opening of the borders would also allow thousands of Malaysians working in the republic and stranded there since March 2020 to come back to Johor Baru.

“Their return will boost the local economy as the money earned in Singapore will be spent here,” said Tay.

He said demand for rental properties was also expected to climb as many locals who work in Singapore would start looking for houses in Johor.

He explained that many had terminated the lease of their rental houses in Johor Baru because of the border closure.

“They could not pay their house rent in Johor Baru and at the same time, pay for their accommodation in Singapore,’’ he added.

Tay said those from other states looking for jobs in Singapore would also drive up room and house rental in the southern capital.

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