The year 2011 began with a display of friendship between Malaysia and Singapore, bringing a positive conclusion to the longstanding railway land issue between the two neighbours. With this agreement, it is believed that there will be more real estate development opportunities between both countries.

If DTZ Research correctly reported, better bilateral relations and a smoother and cheaper transportation system will give a boost to all real estate sectors in Iskandar Malaysia as the proposed mass rapid transit links Johor Baru city center to Nusanjaya. This could mean that there will be an option open for developers to build their houses towards Nusantara as the cost of using this new MRT connection is more competitive. DTZ Malaysia CEO Brian Koh believes this new deal between the two countries will create growth similar to the Hong Kong-Shenzhen metropolis model.

For years, there has always been a link between Johor and Singapore, especially with Singaporeans moving to the southern state of Malaysia to buy and invest in property. There is a good population of Malays employed in Singapore, but they stay in Johor to keep the cost of living even lower than if they had moved to Singapore. When it comes to property prices, housing in Johor is still relatively lower than in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Therefore, the real estate market is no doubt betting on the local Johor population working in Singapore to buy homes more than any other target market.

At this time, the areas near the second link are quite attractive to foreigners, such as Horizon Hills or East Ledang. This is why Johor Branch Home and Real Estate Developers Association (Rehda) Chairman Lee Kim Chai had commented earlier in June that the strategic locations of these areas, coupled with the much cheaper property prices in Johor compared to Singapore is an incentive for buyers. The president dwells on currency differences and other factors that have contributed to the high cost of real estate in Singapore.

There will be many plans for foreign investment and the growth of infrastructure projects in the area. This will also include growth in the retail and hospitality sectors, especially in Johor, while the once sleepy Tanjong Pagar area is also waking up with some newly completed offices, hotels and apartments in the works. A lot of work will be done in both countries from now on.

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