Category Archives: Expats

Renting Link Houses in Horizon Hills, Johor

Horizon Hills a gated and guarded housing community in Nusajaya (part of Iskandar) that is very popular with expats – learn more about the Horizon Hills housing estate. The housing estate offers bungalows, link houses and condos. Horizon Hills has its own golf course.

Even with the rapid decline in the value of the Malaysian ringitt the rental prices are not rising, if anything they appear to be falling. Given the amount of vacant properties for rent this makes sense. Of course for those with income in dollars (Singaporean, USA or other) this means rental prices have gone down substantially given he 20% decline in the Ringitt to the USA $ (from $1 = 3 ringitt in May 2013 to now $1 = 3.6 ringitt).

photo of Horizon Hill link house

Terrace/Link houses for rent now Horizon Hills, Iskandar, Johor:

  • RM 3,000; 2 story terrace house; 4 bedrooms; 3 bathrooms; fully furnished; land area 22’x 70′.
  • RM 4,000; cluster home; 4 bedrooms; 3 bathrooms; 2,123 square feet; fully furnished.
  • RM 3,000; 2 story link house; 2,556 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, partially furnished, the Golf area.
  • RM 3,300/month; 2 story Terrace/Link House; 3,000 square feet; 4 bedrooms; 4 bathrooms; unfurnished; the Hills area.
  • RM 2,800; 2,300 square feet built-up; 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, partially furnished, the Green area.

Bungalows will cost more but there are many of those options available also.

Related: Plenty of Good Rental Options in Horizon HillsBuying or Renting in Horizon HillsLeisure Farm housing estateMalaysian Economy Continues to Expand, Budget Deficits Remain High

Singapore Sprawl Fueled by Cheap Housing Resulting in Long Delays at Border

As I have written previously the potential for Johor Bahru, Malaysia is great. The proximity to Singapore give JB the extra boost that moves the potential above that of dozens of similar locations throughout South East Asia. But potential has to be managed properly or it is wasted. The inability of Singapore and Malaysia to cope with the demand for cross border traffic has to be a huge concern for investors.

The backups have become progressively worse throughout the last year and especially bad the last few months. As I have also written previously the massive supply of luxury housing in JB without a visible source of equally high paying jobs in Johor that will allow people to afford those houses is a worrisome sign.

The failure to complete a 3rd link by last year and the huge delays experienced all this year create strong headwinds for realizing the potential of Iskandar. Obviously cross border transportation was going to be bad before the MRT was finally extended given the huge volume of luxury condos being build in JB. But things are tremendously bad already when only a few of the new luxury condos are completed.

The potential is still great but the huge problems with the borders already calls into question the ability to plan, execute and grow to meet that potential. More high paying jobs need to be created in Johor Bahru itself. I don’t see how the number of luxury condos being built will be workable in the next few years. 10 years from now all may be well, but from 2015 to 2018 (or whenever the border gets fixed so the median border delay is under 15 minutes, likely the extension of the MRT to JB will have to play a role in fixing the problem) I see big risks countering the big potential.

Johor Bahru street with KSL in the background
Houses on Johor Bahru street with KSL in the background (D’esplanade Residence @ KSL, KSL mall, KSL hotel and more condos are being build across the street).

People are willing to envision themselves putting up with huge commutes. but as they live with them year after year and miss their children, spouses and lives sitting at a border waiting to move forward many will decide it isn’t worth it.

Cut-Price Luxury Homes Fuel Singapore-Johor Bahru Sprawl

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Sky Executive Suites @ Bukit Indah, 2,300 to 4,500+ MYR a Month

The Sky Executive Suites @ Bukit Indah, by Setia, is also known as The Sky. Two 25-story towers hold 364 units with built-up areas ranging from 751 – 2,778 square feet.

Poolside at Sky Executive Suites
Poolside at Sky Executive Suites

In my opinion the pool is the best part of the project. The units are ok but the pool is amazing. The location is actually pretty good too – there are quite a few shops surrounding the area (and with a Giant and Tesco right across the street).

Rents range from 2,300 MYR/month to 4,500 MYR/month (for 820 to 1,500 square feet). Purchase prices range from 800,000 to 900,000 MYR (for 1,516 square feet which is about 600 MYR per square foot).

Current listings offer rentals:

  • MYR 4,500/month – 3 + 1 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 1,500 square feet, high floor, corner unit, looking South.
  • MYR 3,500/month – 2 + 1 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 1,168 square feet, unfurnished.
  • MYR 2,300/month – 1 + 1 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 820 square feet, unfurnished.

Sky Executive Suites @ Bukit Indah opened to tenants last year and there are still many units available. The location is quite nice, but it does seem to me the price of the units tends to a bit higher than the market (room to negotiate, especially with so many units available). See more details on our Setia Sky Executive Suites information page.

Orchid View Condos Rentals – 2,500 to 3,000 MYR a month

Orchid View Condominium is walking distance to CIQ (but it is very awkward to walk as the area was not designed with walking in mind), right next to downtown JB. It is pretty crazy to have designed the area to be so difficult to walk in given it is right downtown next to CIQ – this is exactly where designing a walkable city is most important. The situation at Orchid View shows that there is much more work needed to improve the urban design of downtown JB. See our overview of the Orchid View Condos.

photo of Orchid View Condominium
Orchid View Condo, Johor Bahru

The condo offers typical features of the 24 hour gated and guarded condos in Johor Bahru: covered parking, gymnasium, jogging track, playground and swimming pool.

Current listings:

  • 2,800 MYR per month; 1,500 square feet; 3+1 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, fully furnished, corner unit.
  • 3,000 MYR per month; 1,500 square feet; 3+1 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, fully furnished, corner unit.
  • 3,000 MYR per month; 1,500 square feet; 3+1 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, fully furnished, corner unit, facing South (to Singapore).
  • 2,500 MYR per month; 1,500 square feet; 2? bedrooms (I think the listing has this wrong, but maybe it is right), fully furnished, corner unit.
  • 2,500 MYR per month; 1,500 square feet; 3+1 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, unfurnished, corner unit.

I would expect you can bargin down the price a bit, there is a surplus of condo rental units in JB. Remember many units are never even listed online.

Related: Wadihana Condo Rentals: RM 2,000 to RM 2,500 per monthStraits View Condos Rentals RM 2,500/m to RM 4,000/monthSky Executive Suites @ Bukit Indah, Rent 2,000 to 4,500 MYR a Month

Construction Progress for Setia Sky 88 and Twin Galaxy

photo of digging the Setia Sky foundation
Setia Sky construction begins as they prepare the site.

I took these photos over 3 months ago but it looks pretty much the same today. They have seemed busy the whole time with people working and trucks going in and out. My guess is they are digging out to work on the foundation and that really doesn’t give you much to look at as a casual observer.

photo of the Setia Sky site with New York Hotel in background
Setia Sky site (on the left behind the walls) with New York Hotel in background.

Twin Galaxy will be on the right of this photo (closer to the road with the New York Hotel than Setia Sky 88 is).

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Twin Galaxy Condos in the CBD

Twin Galaxy started construction in late 2012. As with all new condos in Johor Bahru recently the developers are aiming for the high end of the market. Twin Galaxy’s 2 towers will be 35 stories. The development includes integrated shops and restaurants along with recreation areas for residents (pools, game rooms, library, kid’s play room).

The location is nice, next to Hotel Selesa and across the street from, the also under construction, Setia Sky 88 condos and near the New York Hotel.

Plaza Penagi is just 4 blocks away. KSL Mall is 1 km away.

Condo options include: studio (560 square feet) – this has to be aimed at the Singapore market, 2-bedroom (936 square feet), 3-bedroom (1163 sf), 4-bedrrom (1701 sf) and Penthouse with private garden. They offer to attach a “studio” to the 2 or 3 bedroom which adds 560 square feet (they make that into the master bedroom).

The CIQ and causeway are 5-10 minutes (2 km) away assuming any sensible driving and traffic load. It is a bit worrisome what will happen to the traffic flows with all the high rises being build in a close area, but this is a worry for the whole area.

I can’t find any details on the delivery time frame on their website. I don’t understand how such basic information is left off.

Related: D’esplanade Residence @ KSL MallSetia Sky 88 CondosInvestment Considerations When Looking At Iskandar Housing Purchases

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.

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