How much more affordable are homes in different areas of Johor compared to neighbourhoods in Singapore?
Separated by just the Straits of Johor, Johor and Singapore are familiar neighbours. However, their respective property markets vary significantly. For those considering purchasing a home in either location, it is useful to understand just how significantly prices vary, as well as how prices compare by neighbourhoods.
## Median Transaction Prices in Singapore and Johor
In order to compare prices between areas in Singapore and Johor, we compared the median sale price of homes in each area. To make a relevant comparison, we used pricing data for HDB resale flats in Singapore and non-landed apartments in areas of Johor with sufficient data. These areas are within an hour’s drive from Singapore (according to Google Maps). We found that homes are drastically more expensive in all areas of Singapore. This is even true when comparing more affordable areas of Singapore, such as Yishun, Ang Mo Kio and Woodlands to more expensive areas of Johor, like Johor Bahru and Iskandar Puteri.
Chart # 1: Median Sale Price Non-Landed Flats – Singapore & Johor
To get a better sense of how much pricing varies in each neighbourhood, it is necessary to also consider the price in terms of floor area. Again, we found that prices per square metre were significantly more expensive in Singapore than in Johor. However, it is worth noting that after accounting for floor area, the overall rank of pricing changes. For example, Queenstown is the most expensive neighbourhood in Singapore in terms of median price per square metre, but not in terms of median sale price.
Similarly, Johor Bahru is slightly less expensive than Tebrau in terms of price per square metre, though median transaction prices of homes in Johor Bahru are significantly more expensive.
Chart # 2: Median Price per Square Metre of Non-Landed Homes – Singapore & Johor
## How Can Singaporeans Purchase Residences in Malaysia?
While Singaporeans may jump at the very affordable apartment prices in Malaysia, it is necessary to note that international buyers are restricted to purchasing homes that are valued at a minimum of RM1 million (approximately S$329,000). In fact, the minimum price is even higher in Johor, although foreigners can purchase at lower rates through the MM2H programme. This system requires foreigners to have at least RM500,000 in their savings or checking account in order to purchase more affordable homes. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that most homeowners own their HDB flats at least 5 years before purchasing overseas properties, in order to meet the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) requirement.
## What Kind of Flat Can You Buy for RM1 mil?
For Singaporeans limited by this restriction, it is worth asking: What kind of home could you purchase in Johor? After analysing non-landed properties listings on iProperty which were priced at RM1,000,000 (approximately S$329,000), we found that most of these properties were listed in Iskandar Puteri (Nusajaya) or Johor Bahru.
Additionally, these flats and condos tend to be larger than nearly all HDB flats, with an average area of about 153 sqm and typically have 3 or more bedrooms and 2 or more bathrooms. Most of these properties also offer vehicle parking. We found that a wide range of large, landed-properties were available at this price, unlike in Singapore where landed properties tend to be dramatically more expensive.