Cover Forest City features a manmade beach and overlooks Singapore. Photo: Eldines Khoo/ Unsplash

With its vast tracts of land and proximity to Singapore, Johor is an attractive real estate proposition. We speak to Knight Frank about where the most exclusive and expensive places are in Malaysia's vibrant southernmost state.

Popular with locals and expatriates alike, Johor has done well in attracting property buyers from the higher end of the spectrum with record transactions being brokered, particularly before the COVID-19 pandemic. As both Malaysia and Singapore start opening up again, we speak to Debbie Choy, director of Knight Frank Johor, to give us an insider's look on the most exclusive and expensive streets and districts in Johor.

See also: Desaru Coast In Johor Named The Next Prime Property Investment Spot In Asia


Why is property in Johor a good investment?

First, its close proximity to Singapore. Being connected to Singapore via Malaysia-Singapore Causeway and Second Link Expressway, is an opportunity to live in larger premises at a fraction of what one has to pay for in Singapore. This is appealing to be located within a short distance yet to still be able to enter into Singapore freely.

Also, there's good accessibility. Johor Bahru is located within driving distance to Singapore and this is complemented with an international airport in Senai. This airport hosts direct flights to Incheon, Haikou, Guangzhou, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Surabaya, Jakarta and several cities in Malaysia.

Finally, the presence of luxury and premium brands. There are several well-renowned brands setting up shops and facilities in Johor Bahru, for example, Porsche, Harley-Davidson, Hersheys, Johor Premium Outlets, Hard Rock Hotel and Hard Rock Café, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, One & Only Desaru Coast and The Westin Desaru Coast Resort.

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What are the demographics?

At the first half of 2021, the population in the state of Johor is 3.8 million while the district of Johor Bahru’s population is recorded at 1.6 million (as at 2020). The average household income in Johor (RM8,013 in 2019) is higher than the national average of RM7,901 (in 2019). In Johor Bahru, as of 2019, the average household income is recorded at RM9,315.

Are prices expected to increase?

The resurgence of COVID-19 cases more than a year since the implementation of the first MCO continues to impact the property market. High rise residential is expected to remain sluggish by the oversupply in the market. It is further impacted by the border closure as foreigners tend to go for high rise properties. Based on market observation, landed residential generally have better sales rate.

However, several high-end projects within Johor Bahru comes with location advantages that is unique to its location and difficult to replace. For example, Emerald Bay & Senibong Cove, where the residential development is surrounded by natural water features and allow for the private parking of yachts.

Here are 6 of the most exclusive real estates in Johor worth looking into for investment or living in.

Also read: Property Trends: 5 Reasons to Buy Real Estate in Southeast Asia Now

1. Emerald Bay @ Puteri Harbour

Modelled after Sentosa Cove in Singapore, Emerald Bay @ Puteri Harbour is a luxury waterfront development jointly developed by BRDB Developments Sdn Bhd and UEM Sunrise. Johor Bahru. It takes up 111 acres of freehold land at Puteri Harbour, the west of Johor Bahru. The key highlight of this development is investment on the infrastructure of this development, which includes building of man-made canal that channel sea water into the development. The water flow into the canal and water level is controlled through a lock gate.



Currently, the developer had launched two phases of Emerald Bay, namely Phase 1A and Phase 1B (The Island). Phase 1A consists of 82 units luxury residential units formed by 3-storey courtyard homes (terraced), 4-storey courtyard homes (terrace), semi-detached houses and bungalow units. The owners of 4-storey courtyard homes and bungalow units are able to enjoy the canal’s view with private berth to park their yachts. On the other hand, Phase 1B consists of 12 exclusive luxury waterfront villas being built on an island within the development.

The waterfront residential units are potentially selling up to RM13.8 million currently.


2. The Astaka @ One Bukit Senyum

Being a stone's throw away from the Johor Bahru Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Complex, One Bukit Senyum is a mixed development taking up near to 12 acres of land located at the heart of Johor Bahru and it's home to one of the tallest residential towers (The Astaka) in South East Asia.

The Astaka @ One Bukit Senyum is developed in phases. Phase 2 features a purpose-built office known as Menara MBJB, the new headquarters of the Johor Baru City Council which was completed in 2019. Future developments comprise a hotel, a shopping mall, an office building and serviced apartments. Rising 64, 65 and 70 storeys, The Astaka consists of 435 units of high-end residences with the two residential towers. The size of three bedrooms and four bedrooms units range from 2,207 sq ft to 2,659 sq ft.


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Above The new Johor Bahru City Council building (Photo courtesy of Knight Frank)

Exclusive facilities are available within the development which range from sky gardens to cigar lounge and wine bar, from gym and games room to communal kitchen and BBQ pitches.

The high-end residential’s selling price may go up to RM1,500 per sq ft, which translates to about RM3.8 million per unit.

Don't miss: Home Tour: An Effortlessly Elegant Family Home In Horizon Hills, Johor


3. Anantara Desaru Coast Residences

Desaru Coast is a premium integrated destination resort located at east coast of Johor and one of Malaysia's most anticipated new tourism developments. Anantara Desaru Coast Residences featured 20 units of three and four bedrooms private pool villas which built-up area is ranged from 3,100 sq ft to 6,426 sq ft.

Owners get full access to the resort’s facilities including lagoon pool, private beach, ocean-fronting infinity pool, Anantara Spa, fitness centre and etc. The villas are selling at US$1.75 million to US$3.5 million (approximately RM7.3 million to RM14.6 million).



Anantara is a global brand owned by Minor International, a hospitality and lifestyle group in the Asia Pacific, Anantara Desaru Coast Residences is co-developed by Minor International and Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels (TAR&H), a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd. This is the first Anantara resort and branded residences in Malaysia.

Also read: The Most Idyllic Luxury Holiday Resorts In Malaysia

4. Forest City

Forest City is an integrated mixed development on man-made island with a total land area of 1,386 hectares. It is targets eight major industries on the island, accordingly foreign investment, tourist attractions, education hub, entrepreneurial base, MICE, retirement community, e-commerce centers and a financial district. Forest City is targeting to accommodate up to 700,000 residents.

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Above Forest City has a diverse array of properties available (Photo by JzLim/ Unsplash)

Among the developments in Island1 of Forest City, there are 233 units of stratified landed residential units. The landed residential formed up by double-storey cluster houses, double-storey semi-detached villas and three-storey seaside bungalows. These units have a land area of 3,583 sqft to 14,676 sqft and built-up area of 4,478 sq ft to 8,666 sq ft. The selling price for landed residential at Forest City can go up to RM17 million.

5. Leisure Farm

Developed by the Mulpha Group, Leisure Farm covers 1,765 acres of freehold land and it is a resort-style township located in Iskandar Puteri, Johor. Leisure Farm is also the home to Senibong Golf Club (formerly known as Poresia Golf Club).


There are different types of residential properties in this development, from townhouses, semi-detached houses to detached units. Alternatively, purchasers may opt to acquire residential land and custom build their houses based on their preferences.

The asking price for bungalow at Leisure Farm can go up to RM20 million, depending on the size of the houses.

6. Ledang Heights

Located next to Leisure Farm, Ledang Heights is also an exclusive residential development consisting of 571 vacant residential plots ranging from 9,000 sq ft to 30,000 sq ft. Averagely, the asking price for vacant residential land at Ledang Height is about RM100 per sq ft. The sub-sale market for custom built bungalows in Ledang Height’s selling price is up to RM11.5 million, depending on the size of the houses.


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