Iskandar Malaysia’s property market could take a hit

/ EdgeProp Singapore
June 2, 2018 9:00 AM SGT
With the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) aborted, Singapore’s Jurong Lake District could lose some of its shine. However, the ramifications for Iskandar Malaysia in Johor could be more far-reaching.
After all, Iskandar Malaysia — which is three times the size of Singapore — was always regarded as Singapore’s potential hinterland. The HSR would have been instrumental in completing that connection.
The planned HSR project has seven stations in Malaysia: Bandar Malaysia, followed by Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri, before terminating in Jurong East, Singapore.
Iskandar Malaysia has been suffering from a glut in high-rise condominiums and lacklustre sales since Malaysia introduced property cooling measures in 2014. The HSR and the station at Iskandar Puteri would have been a much-needed shot in the arm to revive its fortunes.
Traffic congestion at the Singapore-Johor Bahru Caseway (pictured) and the Second Link will persist without the high-speed rail (Credit: Bloomberg)
Now that the HSR has been derailed, “there will definitely be a negative impact on sentiment and property demand”, says Ryan Khoo, director and co-founder of Alpha Marketing, which specialises in marketing property in Iskandar Malaysia. “Many people in Iskandar and the rest of Johor will be disappointed if the HSR is cancelled, as the economic impact of the HSR is large.”
Khoo adds that many business plans and investment decisions made by foreign companies and individuals depended on the HSR’s coming online. The project was first announced in February 2013. “Plans laid out over the past five years have now been affected,” he says. “Singaporeans and Malaysians working in Singapore will also be disappointed that hopes for improved connectivity are again at risk. Traffic on the Causeway and the Second Link is already so bad.”
Developers with projects in Iskandar Malaysia — from Malaysian developers to those from China, Singapore and elsewhere — “are all disappointed”, says Khoo. “It is a setback for Iskandar Malaysia if the HSR does not go through.”
Khoo says, however, that there has been no official cancellation of the HSR at this point. “We only have Prime Minister Mahathir making his preferences known and he has admitted as much that he has not fully understood the implications of cancelling the HSR, nor...