How Will RTS Impact the Property Market? – Finale

By Sr Samuel Tan Executive Director KGV International Property Consultants

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How the RTS station could look inside (Pic courtesy of MRT Corp)

To cater to people using the RTS, ample and reasonable parking spaces must be made available to users who will drive from various places in Johor Bahru to the station.

One of the intensely anticipated beneficiaries from this RTS Link is the high-rise service apartments sprouting all over the town. We believe there will be increased demand from investors buying for rental and own use. However, this does not work in silo. Friendlier foreign house-ownership is also critical to ensure a buy-in from Singaporeans. For that to happen, it may be necessary to relook into policies such as the price threshold and RPGT for foreign buyers. 

A better rental market is envisaged for these apartments. There will be a shift of populace into the city creating an increased demand in the rental market.

Also benefiting from the RTS Link would be those operating short-term residences like AirBnB. The conveniences offered by the RTS Link will attract people from Singapore and other parts of Malaysia to stay over nights for shopping, recreation and food.

The extent of positive effects on the property market would also be dependent on the availability and efficacy of vaccines to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic and the border-opening management by the 2 countries. 

Other catalysts that would boost the property market moving forward 

The key driver to ensure that the property market benefits from the RTS Link is the ability to create new jobs and business opportunities in the region. Having achieved these 2 objectives will bring in more people to reside in Johor Bahru. Ease of doing business and better liveability standards are paramount to attract people to the city. In turn there will be improved demand for properties.

Connectivity within Johor Bahru is crucial. This city desperately needs an efficient and effective public transport system that delivers. The RTS Link could be a start to spearhead a holistic public transportation network in the medium to long term, i.e. a LRT network connecting various regions, efficient BRT or public bus networks, friendly dedicated lanes for cyclists and covered walkways for pedestrians.  In the short term, illegal parking and taxi hoarding hotspots are some issues the authority need to address.

 Apart from the hardware infrastructure, the most important catalyst is our software, i.e. practical and implementable policy.  Make our policy for property purchase more friendly – MM2H, capital gains tax, foreigner price ceiling and etc.  Do not flip-flop and succumb to unproductive causes when drafting and implementing policies that are detrimental to the property market.

 Matters such as having more immigration counters open to service the commuters especially during peak hours cannot be understated. Access by smartcards for frequent commuters must be implemented. Face-recognition technology can be deployed to ensure efficiency without compromising on security.

 While the RTS Link may attract some motorists to change their mode of transportation, it remains to see how motorcyclists who travel to work in Singapore will change their habits. This segment forms a large chunk of the commuters in the early mornings and late evenings when they go and are back from work. It may be more convenient and cheaper for them to travel by bike.