Category Archives: Living in Johor Bahru

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.

Wadihana Condo: RM 2,000 to RM 2,500 per month

Wadihana condos are large condos in Johor Bahru CBD with only 6 units on each floor.

The Johor Bahru market continues to favor renters. If you are looking to rent feel free to take your time and compare what options you have. And feel free to bargain for what is most important to you (if you want some improvements made to the unit or furnishings, or a reduced price…).

Most all condos expats are looking at come fully furnished. A few are partially furnished. You should always check, but normally the listing will make it very clear if it isn’t at least, largely furnished.

See our overview of the Wadihana condo.

  • 1,667 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, RM 2,500 per month
  • 1,852 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, RM 2,500 per month
  • 1,750 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, RM 2,000 per month

2, of the 6, penthouse condos are currently for sale, both for RM 1,100,000. They are 2 story condos with over 3,300 square feet. Regular units are about RM 450,000.

Chakra Indian Restaurant

Chakra Indian Restaurant is located in Johor Bahru’s CBD. It is a wonderful Indian restaurant with a wide variety of Northern and Southern Indian food. I have eaten there several times and the quality of the food has been excellent every time.

photo of fried squid

Fried squid at Chakra

Indian bread is one of my favorite foods and good bread is one thing a good Indian restaurant must have. Chakra delights on this score. Every dish I have had has been excellent, including the fried squid shown above.

The setting of the restaurant is quite nice, with several small dining rooms (old rooms in a house). It is located a bit away from anything (just houses nearby). And the restaurant itself has a nice look and is a nice place for a good meal.

photo of table for two at Chakra restaraunt

Table for 2 in one of the dining rooms

There are plenty of dishes that are quite inexpensive and there are also dishes that are quite pricy. It is actually an odd combination, normally places that cater to the higher spending customers don’t offer cheap main dishes. I was wondering if cheaper dishes (some simpler quite quite good vegetarian dishes) would in fact be very small appetizer sized dishes but they were not.

Related: The Village Briyani CafeChez Papa French BistroRosmarino Italian Restaurant

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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 Restaurant – Jumbo 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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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.

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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:

  • 1,600 square feet, corner unit on high floor with good views, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, RM 2,600 per month
  • 1,100 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, RM 1,500 per month
  • 1,100 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, RM 2,000 per month
  • 1,051 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, RM 1,800 per month

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

The Investment Potential for Iskandar is Attracting Interest from Great Britain

Article from the Telegraph (UK) on British investors interested in Iskandar real estate: British expats and investors drawn to Malaysian metropolis

A huge development three times the size of Singapore is taking shape across the border in Malaysia, bringing with it hundreds of thousands of jobs, new homes and international schools.

Foreign investors are not just being encouraged but expat families and students too. Along with Marlborough College, Raffles American School, Newcastle University and the University of Southampton will all open campuses.
It is expected that when Iskandar Malaysia reaches maturity in 2025, the region will employ 1.4 million people. This involves the creation of 800,000 new jobs.

Both the [Legoland] theme park and Marlborough College are due to open in the autumn of 2012.

The article is certainly written like a publicity piece, talking about all the possibilities without any questioning of potentially issues. I do agree the potential is great. On the ground in Johor Bahru the key I feel is new jobs. Currently there are many real estate resources that are greatly underutilized: malls with many empty stores or completely shut down, condos with high vacancy rates, skyscrapers downtown that are just empty shells. The potential is great.

Care has to be taken to develop that potential into real success. Brining in jobs that will then create income to spend at malls, renting higher end condos, paying for more services which in turn create more jobs is the key. The critical jobs it seems to me are office jobs (economically these are high paying and can be added quickly without too much difficulty). And many of those can most easily be created quickly by providing support for businesses in Singapore. So the second key is continuing to build the cooperative relationship with Singapore.

Health care and education are good industries to target for Iskandar and that seems to be part of the plan.

There are, of course, many other important factors. Qualified people are needed to fill the jobs created. There is a need to continue to improve the safety in JB and reduce crime. There is a need to build the infrastructure toward world standards (better public transportation, more walkable areas [improved sidewalks], intelligent land use planning… Getting the residence pass for talented expats so that it can be used by those that are not yet in Malaysia. The program is meant to attract foreign talent yet 6 months after they started the process by accepting only applications from those that have been in Malaysia for 3 years on a work visa the program still only accepts applications for this small group of people.

Related: Penang’s Economic Success – Penang Condo Market – Malaysian Residence Pass for Skilled Professionals – How Walkable is Your Prospective Neighborhood

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:

  • Inside looks very nice (see photos), low floor, 1,075 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, RM 2,600/month
  • High floor, 1,800 square feet, 3 bedrooms (+1), 3 bathrooms, RM 2,500/month.
  • 1,469 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, RM 2,500/month
  • High floor, 1,469 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, RM 3,000/month
  • 1,469 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, RM 3,200/month
  • 1,469 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, RM 4,000/month

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 Bahru – Penang Condo Market