HSR – The Game Changer

The much-heralded KL-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project, which is expected to be operational in 2026, will include seven stations in Malaysia – Bandar Malaysia, Bangi-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri – and finally, the last stop in Jurong East, Singapore.

High-Speed Rail Route. Picture: LTA

When operational, the HSR will consist of three services, namely the Kuala Lumpur to Singapore express service, the shuttle service from Iskandar Puteri in Johor to Singapore, and the Malaysian domestic line serving the seven abovementioned stations from 6 am to midnight daily.

Coupled with the increased connectivity that the 350km HSR offers commuters travelling between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, cutting down travelling time to as short as 90 minutes, passengers will also find greater ease in clearing customs, immigration and quarantine at their point of departures at the three key CIQ facilities in Singapore, Iskandar Puteri and Kuala Lumpur.

Artist impression of the HSR terminus in Jurong East by Farrells.

Apart from the convenience of travelling across the border to Malaysia in boosting of the retail and consumer spending and the economic boom that this massive infrastructure project with an expected of S$20 billion will bring to both economies, the potential impact on the property prices and demand along the line is certainly one to watch out for.

Bandar Malaysia – One for the long-term

Based on research of the impacts by various HSR projects around the world, and the land rent theory that new transport infrastructure that increases accessibility will increase rental and land values, we should see an increase in the demand and value of residential properties in the areas in close proximity to the HSR rail network.

While the transformation has yet to take place in Bandar Malaysia, where the 486-acre former military base is set to be transformed into a mixed-use, transit-oriented development (TOD) in Kuala Lumpur and home to 220,000 residents in the next 20 years, it has been landmarked as one of the most significant international hub for tourism, trade, culture and innovation.

Based on the analysis of other HSR projects around the world, we usually see the greatest impact of HSR on residential property values in the areas surrounding the stations at both ends of the line.

Adding to this is the announcement that the developer MRCB Berhad who designed and built the public transportation hub KL Sentral, will be joint venturing with Bandar Malaysia in developing the Bandar Malaysia Integrated Transportation Terminal to transform the area into a fully integrated transport and high-density development.

Iskandar Puteri

Formerly known as Nusajaya, this area at the reformed southern tip of Johor has always been at the center of attention for many property investors in Singapore and the region. And at the heart of this lies the Educity where it has witnessed robust growth and is now primed as the preferred regional education destination for universities and institutes of higher education, and student accommodations.

In the past few years, we have seen clusters of education providers and international schools set up shop in the education hub, catering for more than 4,000 students from Malaysia, Europe, and Singapore. These include the University of Southampton and Newcastle University’s medical school, which is one of the top British medical schools.

With the HSR slated to cut traveling time from Singapore to Iskandar to a mere 15 minutes, there is expected renewed interest among Singaporeans and expatriate residents who are envisioning living in a more spacious landed or more luxurious hi-rise for the same amount that you pay for a HDB situated in the heartlands.

In addition, with the recent price increases in Singapore fueled largely by pent-up demand, many Singaporeans are once again casting their eyes across the Causeway at the more affordable homes in Malaysia.

Also, for those looking for a nearby haven to retire in, buying property in Malaysia makes plenty of sense.

When planning for retirement, you tend to look for a country that allows you to stretch your dollar, especially with the exchange rate at around RM2.90 against the Singapore dollar compared to several years ago when it was only RM2.40.

Thomson-East Coast line. Picture: LTA

Besides the HSR, the most significant impact would come from the possibility of the northward extension of the Thomson-East Coast MRT Line (TEL) to Johor Bahru where the beneficial impact of the MRT on properties in Johor may even outweigh the HSR.

In the meantime, momentum has been gaining with property buyers and investors who are eagerly looking at both current and upcoming projects that are located around each station, where the economic clusters will likely to be based and would be the most likely recipients of the highest returns when the long-term project is finally completed.

Interested to invest? Join us at the Malaysia Home and Investment Expo on the 23 to 24 June 2018.

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