Tag Archives: Living in Johor Bahru

Johor Premium Outlets

Fountain and Burberry Store at Johor Premium Outlets

Johor Premium Outlets were built up quite a bit prior to opening in late 2011. In general those visiting the mall have been disappointed. The shopping mall is not aimed at me, but I visited and I can see why people are less than impressed. It is a nicely laid out complex with several high end outlets.

Covered open area at Johor Premium Outlets

Stores include: Adidas, Armani, Body Shop, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Canali, Coach, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gap, Guess, Lacoste, Levi’s, Michael Kors, Nike, Oroton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tumi.

Continue reading

Good Johor Real Estate Fair at City Square Mall This Weekend

I was in City Square mall and they have quite a good real estate fair going on (Friday, today, through Sunday). City Square mall is still under renovation but quite a bit of the renovated space is now open with new places, many more quick dining choices than I remember.

The real estate fair is by far the best I have seen. Quite a large number of Johor developments represented – I would guess over 25. It is amazing how many housing units will be delivered from 2014 – 2016. That is mainly high rise condo (as the lead time for the bungalows and link-houses is usually not that long. I still am worried about 3 things: traffic in JB (given all new housing units – as well as attractions for Singapore visitors), backups between JB and Singapore and the surplus of housing unit to office space being constructed. We will have to see how those issues play out.

I am also a bit concerned at so many units being delivered with, I believe, very large leverage currently (people not having to put hardly anything down on these units under development. That is a risky recipe historically. But there are many good indications about Johor economically looking forward so maybe it will work out.

But for those interested in real estate in Johor state this is quite a good fair to visit. I picked up some news in my visit:
Continue reading

Plenty of Good Rental Options in Horizon Hills

The sales market for housing in Nusajaya, Johor is hot. Horizon Hills is one of the most popular housing estates in Nusajaya (part of Iskandar in Johor, Malaysia).

Given the positive feeling many have about the future of Nusajaya many investors continue to buy. The demand by investors exceeds the demand of renters so, renters can get some good deals. The biggest thing that will change this market dynamic is more high paying jobs being created in Johor increasing the demand from renters.

I would expect you can get discounts on the listed prices (if they won’t budge talk to others offering rentals – there is a surplus supply). Above asking price of RM 3,500 discounts are even more likely.

There are variety of rental options in Horizon Hills, Johor, including:

  • Link house, RM 2,800/month, 4+1 Bedrooms, Un-furnished (I think).
  • Cluster house, RM 3,500/month, 2,600 square feet, 4+1 bedroom, 3 bathrooms, Partly Furnished.
  • Link house, RM 2,400/month, 2,100 square feet, 4+1 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, unfurnished?
  • Link house, RM 2,900, 2280 square feet built up, 4+1 bedroom, 3 bathroom, partly Furnished.
  • RM 7,000, 3500 square feet built-up, 4+1 bedrooms, 4 baths, Partly Furnished.
  • RM 3,650, 2500 square feet built-up, 4+1 bedrooms, 3 baths, Partly Furnished.

Related: Buying or Renting in Horizon HillsHousing options for East LedangThe Potential of Iskandar is Very High but Real Estate Investing has Risks AlsoStraits View Condos Available: RM 2,500/m to RM 4,000/mo

Straits View Condos Available: RM 2,500/m to RM 4,000/m

See our overview of the Straits View Condos.

Currently there are numerous condos available at the Straits View condos in the Permas Jaya. The opening of the new highway makes commuting to Singapore much easier now (as well as just getting to the Johor Bahru central business district.

One thing you have to keep in mind when looking for a place to live in Johor Bahru is that many available units are not listed online. A few places, like Straits View and Molek Pine have a larger percentage listed online (given that that are targeting expats and also that they are more expensive, real agents representing them are more experienced and have more tools available, etc.).

iProperty is a good site to find available Straits View Condos, some current listings:

  • RM 2,800/m – 3 + 1 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 1,650 square feet, low floor. Jaccuzi in master bathroom.
  • RM 2,500/m – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1,500 square feet.
  • RM 3,300/m – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1,650 square feet. Short term rental available (at higher monthly rate).
  • RM 3,500/m – 3 + 1 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 1,650 square feet.
  • RM 8,000/m – penthouse, 4 + 1 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms 2,950 square feet.

Buying or Renting in Horizon Hills

The market for housing in Nusajaya, Johor is hot. The progress of the Malaysian government Iskandar project are making investors very positive. And jobs are starting to be created as new projects are brought online. One of the premier housing estates in Nusajaya is Horizon Hills.

Given the positive feeling many have about the future of Nusajaya many look to buy (either instead of renting, or as an investment). Because so many investors are buying that leaves a demand for renters. And renters can get some good deals if they look.

There are variety of rental options in Horizon Hills, Johor, including:

  • Cluster house, RM 3,000/month, Built Up 2400 square feet, 4+1 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms, Partly Furnished. 5 minutes to Jusco Bukit Indah, 15 minutes to second link highway Tuas custom, 7 minutes to Tesco and Giant. 7 minutes to Columbia Hospital.
  • Semi detached, RM 2,600/month, 4 bedroom, 3 bathrooms, Partly Furnished.
  • Cluster house, RM 2,600/month, 2300 square feet, 4+1 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, Partly Furnished.

And for sale:

  • Cluster/semi-detached, RM 868,000, RM 150 monthly maintenance, 2600 square feet built up, bedroom 4+1, bathroom 4, Partly Furnished.
  • Terrace unit, RM 485,000, 1845 square feet built-up, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, Partly Furnished.

Related: The Potential of Iskandar is Very High but Real Estate Investing has Risks AlsoMolek Pine Condos RM 2,500 – RM 4,000Straits View Condos Available: RM 2,800/m to RM 5,500/mo

Rosmarino Italian Restaurant

photo of front of Rosmarino Italian Restaurant in Johore Bahru

Rosmarino Italian Restaurant, near Plaza Pelangi in Johor Bahru

Rosmarino Italian restaurant is another very good Restaurant in downtown Johor Bahru. It is located a block from Plaza Pelangi. Expats will enjoy a taste of home and others can get a nice example of Italian cooking. The food I have had has been excellent. The restaurant is nicely appointed and has a outdoor seating (though I don’t really see it as a great location – they do have plants but still you are just on the sidewalk facing the parking lot).

photo of pea soup at Rosmarino's

Pea soup (very good). You can also see the apricot juice, which I like, though it is RM 9 for a small bottle, which is expensive.

The set price lunches are really one of the great bargains I have found so far. For just RM 15 you get a nice soup and an entree. The food is excellent and I have been 3 times and enjoyed new dishes each time. The regular prices are quite steep, especially for Johor Bahru. It seems like RM 50 for a dinner would be on the cheap side and easily it could run RM 100 for a drink and meal.

I highly recommend the lunch deals. And for those with plenty of money the dinners (or just ordering off the normal menu at lunch) I am sure would be excellent. The service I would say is good even very good. Still it isn’t quite as warm or somehow seems something is not quite there for the best fine dining. Overall, I like it and think it provides another great option for fine dining in Johor Bahru.

Related: Chez Papa French BistroVillage Briyani Cafe, Indian RestaurantJumbo Seafood Restaurant in Singapore

photo of Steak with salad and mashed potatoes entree

Steak with salad and mashed potatoes set lunch (along with the soup above). The food was very good, as it has been every time I visited. All photos by John Hunter.

Continue reading

Chez Papa French Bistro, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Chez Papa is an institution in downtown Johor Bahru. The French restaurant is an expat favorite and attracts many from Singapore as it is a quick trip over the causeway for fine food at a great price.

photo of Chez Papa dining room

Main Chez Papa dining room

The downtown location (near Plaza Pelangi) is very convenient to those living in JB town, as well as visitors from Singapore. As you enter the restaurant your step into an oasis of calm and feel you have entered a small restaurant in rural france. The service is also remisent of rural France (rather than the brusk service found in Paris). Though the stereotype of difficult service in France, is quite overblow, in my opinion.

Chez Papa French Bistro is an excellent fine dining restaurant and a great bargin when compared to other fine dining options. It has a cozy, warm atmosphere which provides a nice respite from the bustle of daily life.

photo of bar and second dining room for Chez Papa

Bar, as well as a second dining room for Chez Papa

The menu at Chez Papa offers plenty of options to chose from. I have twice ordred the Salade Nicoise which was excellent each time. I am not someone that orders salads normally. But, I have noticed, one of the things that the best restaurants offer is great salads. They use great ingredients and know the importance of doing the relatively simple things well. A good salad is often an indication of a well run kitchen.

photo of my wonderful steak dinner at Chez Papa

Wonderful steak dinner at Chez Papa

On my first visit, my main course, the Lamb Stew, was excellent. It was hot and scrumptious with large pieces of lamb and vegetables that we just right (not overcooked, which is so easy to do) and just the right amount of seasoning. It was also huge: I could finish it. The other time I ordered the salad I couldn’t finish the mean either as it was too much. I can’t remember what it was, but I remember it was great. The photo, above, shows my 3rd meal, steak, which again was excellent.

Continue reading

Datin Halima and Sri Mulia Condos from RM 1,600 – RM 3,000 per Month

Datin Halimah condo and Sri Mulia Condo and are two of the less expensive condos in downtown Johor Bahur that are suitable for expats. Many of the condo units that are available to rent in Johor Bahru are not shown online, but Propnet and iProperty are two good sources to see online listings for rental unit in Johor Bahru.

Johor Bahru is growing, and the planned investments in Iskandar will boost that growth dramatically in the next few years, if everything goes as planned. An increasing number of Singaporeans are buying property in Johor Bahru to live in and to rent as an investment. Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be added in Johor in the next ten years. If that happens their will be a large demand for housing of all types, including more high end condos.

See our overview of the Datin Halimah Condo. Units available now include:

See our overview of the Sri Mulia Condo. Units available now include:

  • 2,400 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, RM 3,000 per month – also for sale at RM 650,000

Related: Indah Samudra and Lagenda Tasek Condos for Rent: RM 2,000 to RM 3,500/monthMolek Pine Condos RM 2,500 to RM 4,000 a month

Molek Pine Condos RM 2,500 – RM 4,000

See our overview of the Molek Pine Condos.

There are many condos available at Molek Pine in the current 2 towers, and a third tower is being built. One thing you have to keep in mind when looking for a place to live in Johor Bahru is that many available units are not listed online. A few places, like Straits View and Molek Pine have a larger percentage listed online (given that that are targeting expats and also that they are more expensive, real estate agents representing them are more experienced and have more tools available, etc.).

Good places to look for rental condos at Molek Pine are iProperty and Propnet. As you can see below prices can vary by quite a bit and it isn’t obvious from the descriptions why those asking for much more have to offer for the additional price. It is wise to be a wise consumer and know what the current market is. Some factors do affect the price – in general higher floors have higher prices (floor 15 for example is more than floor 5 for the same unit), nicer furnishings will also increase the price a bit.

Many rental agents in Johor Bahru don’t have the skills and experience needed by many expats. This can mean those agents can charge owners a bit higher prices which may then be passed on in the rental price. That price may well be worth it for expats and owners, that will have an easier time renting to expats with such an agent. Some of the units currently available for rent:

Related: Straits View Condos Available: RM 2,800/m to RM 5,500/m

New Blog Focusing on Johor Bahru Real Estate

I moved to Johor Bahru after taking some time to examine where in Malaysia I wanted to live. You can follow my blog on living in Malaysia. I think the potential for Johor Bahru is great. In my effort to find a place to live I learned a bit about Johor Bahru’s housing options (I was looking mainly at condos).

I also found the housing (and living) information that I could find for expats is not as good as I would have found useful. So I will try to have this site fill in some of the gap between what I would have liked and what I found.

Here I will provide information on Johor Bahru, Johor state, housing options in Johor, information on finding housing, investing options for real estate in Johor and information about living in Johor Bahru. I will focus on expats as an audience to give the site a focus but hopefully a much wider audience can also find worthwhile information.

To some extent “expat” in the Malaysian real estate market is equated with luxury or costly housing. I must say I haven’t seen Johor Bahru housing that is really world class luxury, more it is more just expensive compared to local real estate (but I guess saying luxury means expensive is understood without just saying expensive). I am sure there is some luxury housing (in houses, I would guess – probably out near the 2nd link) but I am skeptical if there are condos, I may find some as I live here.

Singapore, sits right to the South of Johor Bahru and many people, expats – and others, live in Johor while working in Singapore.

Penang and Kuala Lumpor have much more material online for prospective expats (though really even they could do with much more good content, in my opinion). But I really like Johor Bahru much more, myself. I see the scope of this blog to be focused on real estate but as any real estate agent will tell you people want to know about quality of life options nearby when looking at housing so I will include quite a bit on that also. I think that is critical to making good choices for what housing options are right for you.

I think the next 10 years should be very economically dynamic for Johor Bahru (and on a wider scale, Johor state) with significant real estate interest. Great quality of life enhancements are possible and real estate investments have the potential to do very well if the government’s Iskandar initiative can be properly managed. The potential is great and the stage is set very well. The ability to cooperate with Singapore to find mutual beneficial opportunities leads me to believe the potential is as good as nearly anywhere in the world in the next decade or two. But potential can be wasted fairly easily so the future will tell how successfully the potential is realized.

Related: Online Resources for Living in Johor BahruPenang Condo Market