A Residential Paradise
While much of the recent attention given to Johor has been on Iskandar Malaysia’s large-scale luxury developments, in fact Johor offers a diverse range of homes, from mass housing to exclusive and resort-style developments, to shelter all who live there.
Johor’s transformation into an international metropolis, thanks to the boost of the Iskandar Malaysia economic zone, means it will be attracting inward migration from investors, businessmen and workers who will make their home in Malaysia’s Southern Gateway. Luckily for them, the city offers plenty of choice in current and upcoming residential developments.
Traditional Roots, Dynamic Present
A bustling city, the state capital of Johor Bahru is a significant regional transport and manufacturing hub. Johor Bahru’s four main districts – South, North, West and East – are major centres of activity, each with their distinct character.
Housing estates were traditionally located mostly in the South and West districts. The South houses the main city centre and links it to Singapore. This was the city’s residential hub for more than three decades, with old and important neighbourhoods such as Taman Pelangi, Taman Century and Taman Sentosa.
The West, with Skudai as its hub, is home to the famed Port of Tanjung Pelepas, as well as to important housing estates such as Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, Taman Skudai Baru, Taman Bukit Indah, Taman Perling and Taman Nusa Bestari.
The North district has been seeing much activity recently with new residential and commercial developments, including in Tebrau, while the East is the state’s manufacturing hub and linkage to the outside world with port cities like Pasir Gudang.
Luxury Homes for Comfort
The interest shown in Johor by the global investor community, thanks to Iskandar Malaysia, has led many developers to move away from medium-range residential properties and shift towards high-end luxury and resort homes. With its extensive coastline, Johor is perfect for resort-style living and waterfront developments.
Among the major resort projects underway are the award-winning Leisure Farm Resort Residences, an exclusive gated residential resort development spread over 1,765 acres of freehold land; Danga Bay, an integrated waterfront development on 2,000 acres of land with 25 km of water frontage; LakeHill Resort, a 500-acre freehold township with luxury gated residences, recreational, entertainment and tourist facilities; Central Malaysian Properties Sdn Bhd’s Lido Boulevard, and Gamuda Bhd’s Horizon Hills.
According to Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, Johor has received plans from no fewer than 25 developers for large-scale projects in Iskandar Malaysia to take place over the next three to five years.
“Many of these are top-notch lifestyle developments, featuring exclusive bungalows for the rich and famous, luxury apartments for the well-heeled and upmarket retail and commercial complexes,” he said in a media statement in January this year.
Liveable Communities for All
One of Iskandar Malaysia’s major (although perhaps less known) goals is to create liveable communities that encompass quality housing, adequate facilities, quality services and a healthy, safe and lively environment. This is in line with the state government’s policy that all its residents – especially those in the middle- and low-income brackets – have good homes.
Abdul Ghani says supply and demand in Iskandar Malaysia – previously known as Iskandar Development Region (IDR) – are also strong for low-cost, medium-cost and medium-high cost houses. “From holiday villas to affordable homes, you can find them all in Iskandar Malaysia.”
One prominent developer of affordable mass housing in Johor is Melati Ehsan group, which took over and salvaged the Taman Ehsan Jaya abandoned development and offered 4,800 houses, shop-apartments and flats within Iskandar Malaysia. The group has pledged to continue building more low- and medium-cost houses for the low-income group in Johor.
“We want to contribute to the housing development industry by building affordable and comfortable homes at subsidised prices – that is our social responsibility,” managing director Datuk Yap Suan Chee told
Business Times in an interview in February.
Meanwhile, the town of Skudai is the centre of other elegant but affordable housing developments, including Taman Pulai Indah and Pulai Perdana, by developers like Hua Yang Bhd and Mah Sing Bhd.
Homes that Match the People’s Needs
One factor behind Johor’s pro-active positive housing environment is its people-friendly government. The Johor State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) has even conducted a study on housing policies to ensure that they respond to the needs of residents and stakeholders in Johor. According to Local Government, Housing, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Ahmad Zahri Jamil, the study encompasses low-cost, medium-cost, affordably priced and high-end homes. The study is scheduled for completion by end 2008.
“The study is timely in view of escalating prices of building materials and inflation,” he said earlier this year. Hopefully, such measures will continue to be carried out, yielding relevant and accurate data on the housing needs of the state, and enabling developers to plan their developments for the benefit of all.