(File pix) The market for affordable housing or reasonably priced properties in Johor will remain strong this year, according to Rehda Johor. Pix by Zain Ahmed

DEMAND for real estate in Johor is expected to remain strong this year, especially for landed properties and affordable houses, as buyers view them as a better long-term investment option.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Johor branch chairman Datuk Steve Chong Yoon On said besides the type of properties, location is also important for buyers.

“I think the demand for property in Johor would continue to be strong this year, especially for landed properties and affordable housing. Demand for reasonably priced properties, especially those below RM600,000, would also be strong.

“Many people are still looking for properties because they are a better long-term investment option. Properties are proven to be a good hedge against inflation.”

He said the location of the properties would play a big role in determining whether the demand would be strong.

“The southern corridor of Johor Baru, namely Austin Height and Tebrau areas, and the western corridor of Johor Baru, especially the Kulai area, are expected to be attractive.”

He said Pengerang in Kota Tinggi would also be a new growth area for property development due to the multi-billion ringgit Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC).

Chong said the demand for high-rise residential properties and high-end properties priced above RM1 million would be soft this year.

Bank Negara Malaysia’s quarterly bulletin last November stated that the number of unsold residential properties in Malaysia was at a decade-high, with a majority of the units in the category of RM250,000 and above, beyond the means of most Malaysians.

Johor, according to the report, had the largest share of unsold residential units, making up about 27 per cent of the total unsold properties in Malaysia.

Housing developers in Johor, however, are maintaining a positive attitude.

UEM Sunrise Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib reportedly said that housing developers are facing challenges due to the imbalance in housing demand and supply.

He also said he foresees developers being extra cautious on expenditure in future housing projects nationwide.

With the state government’s initiative to spur housing sales among locals, developers are keeping their fingers crossed that demand for unsold units will rise this year.

Sunway Iskandar chairman Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah was also reported as saying that property developers are facing headwinds.

“All of us are facing challenges and headwinds but I think the government is being very proactive and is now looking at unsold units and how to help developers.

“At one point, every developer was eager to complete its development, thinking that the market would be good, but there are still imbalances in the housing market demand, which created headwinds.”

Cheah, however, noted that with the right policies and incentives, the imbalances can be curbed.

UDA Holdings Bhd group managing director Datuk Ahmad Abu Bakar said the company is optimistic of its prospects this year despite the expected soft market in Johor.

“This year would be tough but we are confident because the demand for our property is still there. We will continue with our plans and new launches if the demand continues to be strong.”

UDA Holdings is planning to launch a new development this year in Desaru, Kota Tinggi to take advantage of the PIPC project.

Ahmad said the 40.5ha development will consist of residential and commercial components.

“The development is a joint venture between UDA Holdings and the South East Johor Development Authority and will have a total gross development value of RM1.4 billion,” he said.

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