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Iskandar Malaysia could very well be one of the most debated about developments in Malaysian history. Within just one Google search page, half the results claim Iskandar to be a failure while the other half claim it to be the future success and nirvana of investors and home buyers.

So which is the truth? In order to first understand why Iskandar Malaysia is not the failure that everyone paints it to be, investors must first understand what caused the negative perceptions in the first place.

Understanding Iskandar Malaysia

Iskandar Malaysia was first launched on 8th November 2006. It was a long term project that was designed to rebrand the entire Southern tip of Johor into an organized city incorporated with Grade A offices, prestigious homes and premium connectivity to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

The developers were so excited about the project and Iskandar Malaysia was so hyped up that busloads of people were ferried to Iskandar Malaysia and international investors flew there by the plane loads. Unfortunately for the developers of Iskandar Malaysia, the majority of the visitors were not visionaries and could not foresee the opportunities that these then empty lands held, for these lands were barren at the time of the investors’ visit.

What was to be Legoland was a mass of uncleared forests and what were to be premium bungalows were tracks of mud road that tourist busses could barely trudge through. In short, the vast majority of Iskandar Malaysia’s visitors saw acres of undeveloped land and went back grimacing at the massive waste of their time.

Unfortunately this is a typical case of overhype, where visitors to a project site expect to already see something in the works but reach there and see only mud, forests and with their limited imagination, see only a wasteland. From here onwards, rumours about the failure of Iskandar Malaysia began before works even began, and advertising on Iskandar Malaysia reduced even while works on this city of the future began.

The Catalysts of Iskandar Malaysia

Unlike what every property investor believes, property prices do not just increase just because they bought a house in a prosperous city. There are many other factors that contribute to this phenomenon especially in a new development, beginning with a catalyst; or many catalysts.

The creation of Iskandar Malaysia therefore began not with the building of homes, homes and more homes, but by creating a need for the homes instead.

Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios

The first creations of Iskandar Malaysia were built to cater to existing international and local demands, guaranteeing clients and users before the construction of the buildings even began. Amongst some of the many catalysts created by the Khazanah Nasional Bhd was Pinewood Studios where international blockbusters such as Harry Potter and James bond 007 series are filmed.

With the lower cost of operations in Malaysia as a result from the advantageous currency exchange, many movie developers are already choosing the Malaysian Pinewood Studios over its United Kingdom counterpart. And unknown to many, Pinewood Studios of Malaysia is already operational and Marco Polo Season 2 is being filmed here as of 2015.

Educity Iskandar Malaysia

Another catalyst that was created in Iskandar Malaysia was the 350-acre education component of Iskandar Malaysia that will encompass a full fledged sports complex, students’ village and students’ centre.

No longer will students who desire the best of medical education need to make their way to U.S. or U.K., as Iskandar Malaysia only allows the best of each university into its grounds, literally. The Southampton University opened its doors of its Engineering Faculty in Iskandar, and the University of Reading has a full campus offering courses in chemistry, pharmacy, real estate, construction and finance there.

The Newcastle University already opened in Iskandar offers a range of undergraduate biomedical and medical programmes in Malaysia. And for parents who want only the absolute best of education for their children can send them to the Marlborough College boarding school where Princess Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge attended school, all without leaving the country. Fancy your child being the next top football player? There is also the Johan Cruyff Institute football college in Educity Iskandar Malaysia.

Johor Premium Outlet (JPO)

No city will be complete without a major shopping mall, and Khazanah Nasional Berhad has the best with the Johor Premium Outlet (JPO). All the top retail outlets and F&B shops are here, bring the best of shopping to the shores of Iskandar Malaysia.

LEGOLAND® Malaysia Theme Park & Hotel

No city will be complete without entertainment, and Khazanah Nasional Berhad managed to get Legoland to be built in Malaysia, and also the very first Hello Kitty Town in the world out of Japan.

Legoland Malaysia is one of Iskandar Malaysia’s main attractions, with 1 million visitors in the space of 4 months. Spanned out over 76 acres, one of Legoland Malaysia’s main attractions is its 249 Lego-themed rooms. With an average of approximately 250,000 visitors a month and only 249 rooms on site, at least over 40,000 families will be looking for accommodation around Iskandar Malaysia per month.

Urban & Resort Wellness

In a joint venture of 50:50 between Singapore’s Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd and Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Bhd, a corporate training centre and wellness centre will be built alongside commercial and retail shops and serviced residences.

Only the best of medical healthcare is provided at Iskandar Malaysia with the Avira & Gleneagles Medini Hospital and Afiniti Medini. Of world class standards is Gleneagles Medini which will have the best of medical healthcare, attracting clientele and professionals from all over the globe. This division of healthcare industries will span 215 acres of land. The Urban Wellness will take up 5 acres, while The Resort Wellness takes up a massive 210 acres of land in Iskandar Malaysia.

Road Infrastructures

Every major city is not complete with a good infrastructure of highways and access roads to connect all the developments. After all, no one appreciates being located next to a highway but needing half an hour to get to the same highway their homes are located next to.

Having the advantage of being planned under a sole governing arm of Kota Iskandar, Iskandar Malaysia has 7 major road infrastructures completed as of 2015, with the Coastal Highway Southern Link (CHSL) next up in line and expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2017.

Iskandar Malaysia Growing

Above are only some amongst many remarkable catalysts in Iskandar Malaysia, which resulted in the byproducts of homes a.k.a ‘properties’ to property investors. As a result from the many catalysts being born in Iskandar Malaysia, in as little as eight years Iskandar Malaysia may begin to face a shortage of homes if housing developments were to stop, with every commercial development bringing in thousands of workers and professionals into the city.

The creation of all these catalysts were the beginning of the evolution of Iskandar Malaysia. Homes for those who live, work and play close to these areas began to be built to cater to the naturally growing population even while demand for more homes rose in direct proportion to the job opportunities being created. And thus the cycle began with job opportunities being created resulting in an influx of immigrants who needed a roof over their heads.

Visionaries of the future in form of international investors have seen the potential of Iskandar Malaysia all along after studying its masterplan and timeline, resulting in approximately 30% of Puteri Harbour belonging to Singaporeans.

Japanese property developers have already begun planning a retirement village for the Japanese in Iskandar Malaysia, and the project was fully sold out almost before it was even launched. Film stars who work at Pinewood Studios now rent homes at Puteri Harbour for a thief’s ransom, benefitting the investors who own the places.

The upcoming Smart Offices at Iskandar Malaysia are targeted toward Singaporeans and the smart and savvy businessman with its premium address, full fledge office facilities and relatively low costs of owning one due to the comparatively weaker Malaysian ringgit. With the price of properties in Singapore being what they are due to the severe lack of land, it is estimated that a vast majority of Singaporean businessmen will be opening their businesses in Iskandar Malaysia with its prestigious address instead.

Iskandar End Game

During the creation of all these catalysts, there will naturally a temporary oversupply of homes to ensure that all immigrants and their families have a home to stay in once they immigrate to Iskandar Malaysia. After all, it would be a disaster for an office building to have a thousand staff but only fifty homes to house all of them.

In the earlier years between 2011 and 2013 when prices of property in Iskandar Malaysia were not as hefty, it was unfortunate that many Malaysians believed this to be a long term oversupply; leaving the choicest bits to foreigners.

With the weak market sentiments in the property business as of 2015, many believe that 2016 will be the best time to buy properties in Iskandar Malaysia when prices are the most subdued, before the property market picks up again in 2017 as forecasted.

So if your interest in Iskandar Malaysia has been sparked or if your beliefs have been shaken and you want to find out more from the cow’s mouth, visit this website Esprit Estate for more information or contact +603-55692778 / info@espritestate.com  to set yourself up for an appointment with some of their friendliest and most non-pushy Iskandar Malaysia specialists that PropSocial has ever met!



Name: Aldrin Tan
Designation: Managing Director
Company: Esprit Estate Agent Sdn Bhd
Website: http://www.espritestate.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EspritEstateAgent


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Is the Country Garden 10,000 units of condo going to create over-supply and impact the market there in Iskandar? Is that part of Iskandar or in a different area?