With travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur cut to just 90 minutes, buying a second home or working in Malaysia will become a more attractive proposition for Singaporeans once the high-speed rail (HSR) is completed in 2026, said analysts who spoke to TODAYonline.
The advantages brought forth by the link will most likely be reaped by the terminus cities, as property hunters, firms, workers and tourists zoom in on these two areas.
According to Francis Tan, economist at United Overseas Bank, the HSR line provides Singaporeans with options to invest in Malaysian properties as the journey would become much faster. As such, he expects investors to eye properties located within Putrajaya, which is 25km outside Kuala Lumpur, or near the Bandar Malaysia terminus station.
Known as tourist hubs, Bandar Malaysia and Putrajaya are developed areas with larger populations, which means that these areas will be deemed suitable for property investments, including weekend homes.
The weaker ringgit may also see local businesses relocating to Kuala Lumpur in a bid to reduce operating costs, said Savills Singapore Research Head Alan Cheong.
Intermediate cities along the link, however, may struggle as they “sometimes get completely bypassed, irrelevant and become service stops”, as dwellers look for more opportunities in the cities for the terminus stations, said Century 21 Chief Executive Ku Swee Yong.
Johor’s Iskandar region could be the exception as Singaporeans may consider retiring there, said Tan. He noted that there are plans to build medical hubs and retirement homes there, increasing the area’s “status as a retirement place … and see a positive spillover from the HSR”.
In general, Singaporeans will likely consider Malaysia’s economic and political landscape in deciding on whether to make a property investment there.
“Political and economic uncertainties can affect valuations of properties,” said CIMB Private Bank economist Song Seng Wun. “You may be reluctant to pay for something if you are not sure whether the underlying economy is going to be stronger or weaker.”
But whether the link will make the city-state more appealing for a much bigger group of Malaysians depends on the price of a ticket, said Tan.
“No doubt there is time saving when they take the train, but pricing is still quite critical,” he said. “It will impact an individual’s choice of coming to Singapore, whether it’s for leisure or work.”