HSR to revamp and revolutionize the regional property landscape
Wuhan’s first high-speed rail station at Beijing-Guangzhou line in Hubei province / Pix: The Star Online
The impact of transportation infrastructure development can potentially extend beyond economic growth to shape viability and attractiveness of mixed-type property developments. The current plan to link Singapore and Kuala Lumpur via high speed rail (HSR) presents a rare opportunity for greater economic integration between Malaysia and Singapore, which would enhance their respective global competitiveness significantly. The proposed 350-km HSR line will begin in Bandar Malaysia, approx 7km from Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) starting at KL Sentral, and ending in Jurong East, Singapore. With an average speed of 250km/h, HSR is set to reduce travel time between the two metropolitan cities to just 90 minutes!
Connecting Malaysia and Singapore via HSR not only promotes closer relationship, but also strengthens bilateral ties between the two countries. It also opens new gateways to other Asean countries within the region in seeking greater economic cooperation. As part of this regional joint-venture smart partnership, the bulk of cross-border services will be handled by MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd (“MyHSR”), TRX City Sdn Bhd (“TRX”), and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (“LTA”), which are expected to helm & operate the myriad of HSR services on opposite sides of the JB Causeway. The KL-Singapore HSR is projected to be completed latest by 2026.
Epitome of high-speed rail
The novelty of a high-speed rail system that links two neighbouring countries is quite an understatement; notwithstanding the fact that Malaysia is currently home to a plethora of rail transportation networks such as ERL (KLIA Ekspres), MRT (KVMRT), LRT (RapidKL), BRT (Sunway/Penang), ETS (KTM), Komuter (KTM), and Monorail (KL/Melaka). While the primary focus is on the future impact on other transportation services operating between the capital cities of both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, few have contemplated the project’s reach on regional travel if HSR were to extend beyond KL towards Bangkok, Vietnam, and China. This would probably translate into even greater added-value for both nations. The HSR network also encompasses the south-bound EDGE expressway, traversing the major cities via KL Sentral (Kuala Lumpur City Centre), from Bandar Malaysia (TRX City), Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka (Ayer Keroh), Muar, Batu Pahat, Iskandar Puteri (Johor Bahru City Centre), to Jurong East and terminating at Singapore City Hall. The immediate impact of HSR is most closely felt or experienced by other smaller townships located along or adjacent to the entire proposed HSR route.
Synergistic growth potential
In addition, the direct linkage between KL and Singapore is perceived as a real game-changer for both countries. This mammoth project will not only have great impact but also presents enormous prospects in accelerating real estate projects and transit-oriented developments (TODs). The synergistic relationship offered in the longer term must however be complemented by a sustainable development and also an equitable distribution of resources. Such large-scale ‘mega projects’ will help drive the nation’s economy towards attaining developed nation status by 2020. With the highly-anticipated MRT-3 and LRT-3 rail projects underway, many of the transit-oriented developments presently revolve around Greater KL and Klang Valley. Henceforth, Malaysia desperately needs a new high-speed rail infrastructure to complement the rest of its rail networks. Furthermore, massive project initiatives such as Rapid Pengerang Johor, Malaysia Vision Valley (MVV), Bandar Malaysia, Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), Pan Borneo Highway & Rail, East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), as well as High Speed Rail (HSR) create new employment opportunities, stimulate local and regional economies, as well as uplift and make substantial improvements on the lives of citizens and communities. It is the coming of age and culmination of years of strategy, planning and implementation.
A boon for developers
Local property developers within the site of a prospective HSR station at Iskandar Puteri have already capitalized on their strategic proximity to the HSR rail network to launch their projects. Among the major developers include UEM Sunrise, the master planner of Iskandar Puteri. UEM Sunrise launched its Melia Residences, its landmark residential development in Gerbang Jaya whereby a dedicated HSR station will be located. Leisure Farm with its resort-styled residential enclave, six times the size of Sentosa Cove, is located a mere two minutes’ drive away. The five luxury villas located at Leisure Farm are among the latest developments to capitalize on high-speed rail. HSR will also enhance the value and demand for residential properties in the neighbourhood of Iskandar Puteri. However, the impact of an oversupply on housing prices cannot be overstated, as more residential projects continue to be churned out at a mind-boggling rate, with some 336,000 residential units in Iskandar Malaysia still under working progress. This is roughly equivalent to about fifty percent of the overall residential land banks situated throughout Johor itself. Moreover, HSR will undoubtedly cut down travel time from Iskandar Malaysia to Singapore City to within fifteen-minute periods or intervals. The thriving regional communities working and living within the region comprise many Singaporeans as well as foreign expatriates commuting daily to Johor Bahru City Centre and Iskandar Malaysia to invest, work, live & play!
Catalyst for the economy
MyHSR Corporation has been entrusted with the responsibility of delivering the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project. Established by the Government of Malaysia as the project’s delivery mechanism or vehicle, MyHSR Corp will help transform Malaysia into a high-income nation. As an Entry-Point Project in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), this project is deemed as a game-changing initiative which will spur nation-building towards realizing Vision 2020. HSR acts as a catalyst for economic growth, as well as an incentive for tourism development – impacting all sectors across the board, in particular the building and property industries, with secondary sub-sectors consisting of retail, leisure, hospitality and entertainment. Logistic hubs and transportation networks also stand to benefit from HSR. Estate investors and property players will also have a wide range of options in product merchandizing and diversification opportunities. An improved transportation infrastructure enabled by HSR creates a real prospect for contribution towards economic development and nation building. Cities along the corridor also stand to benefit the most in terms of optimal living quality, better talent development, and greater employment benefits. The novel HSR development also benefits Gen-Y’s and millennials, as they account for more than fifty percent of the total population workforce in Malaysia as well as Singapore.