The massive developments happening in Johor could become ghost towns when they are completed, reported Free Malaysia Today, which interviewed a property veteran with 40 years of experience in the industry.
According to Chartered Surveyor Ernest Cheong, he is worried that there would not be enough residents and tenants to fill up the thousands of homes and commercial buildings being built in the state.
“Just Forest City alone is estimated to be able to house some 700,000 people,” he said. “Who will take up these houses? Johoreans? That is unlikely. There are fewer than two million locals in Johor Bahru, and that’s a generous estimate. Many of them already own houses.”
As for the Chinese nationals and Singaporeans who are expected to relocate there, Cheong is sceptic that a sufficient number would do so.
“Singaporeans who are rich wouldn’t want to move to Iskandar as they can live anywhere else around the world. Those who aren’t wealthy may not find it feasible to move to Iskandar and commute across the island every day, as it’s costly and time consuming.”
“People usually want to migrate to places where they believe the grass is greener. Why would Singaporeans, who enjoy a higher standard of living there, want to come here? It doesn’t make sense,” he explained.
As for Chinese nationals, they will likely use the homes they bought in Iskandar as investments instead of occupying it, adding to their properties in other places across the globe.
“So, even if all the units being developed by Chinese companies are sold, who will stay there? There is a demand for affordable housing from locals, but the Chinese developers aren’t building this type of housing.”
Furthermore, Cheong fears that these ghost towns may negatively impact the prices of nearby properties as nobody one wants to reside in an empty neighbourhood.
“Sadly, developers think they can just build on a plot of land and people will come in. They don’t understand that demand is not just about people wanting homes. It’s about them wanting homes they can afford,” he added.
Based on statistics from the National Property Information Centre, home builders intend to construct over 350,000 private residences in Johor, with some already under construction.
Image sourced from Getty Images
Diane Foo Eu Lynn, Senior Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories email email@example.com