Sunday 14 Jul 2024
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Mah Sing's ongoing developments in Johor

As one of the earliest Klang Valley developers to venture into Johor 24 years ago, Mah Sing Group Bhd is now an established name in the state with its innovative and affordable luxury products.

The developer started out as a white knight in the southern state, developing several abandoned projects from Danaharta. The first township there, Taman Sri Pulai Perdana in Skudai where it introduced the gated-and-guarded living concept for link homes, was launched in 2000.

“We have consistently introduced new concepts, designs and features. This sets us apart from our industry peers, ensuring our competitive edge in the market.” > Benjamin Ong, Mah Sing CEO of property subsidiaries

Mah Sing CEO of property subsidiaries Benjamin Ong notes that this concept was relatively new in Johor back then and it laid the foundation for the developer’s continued success in the region. Subsequently, it expanded its footprint in the state with more projects.

“Since then, we have consistently introduced new concepts, designs and features. This sets us apart from our industry peers, ensuring our competitive edge in the market,” he says.

“We closely monitor market trends and homebuyers’ preferences, adapting our offerings accordingly. For example, in response to the growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly living spaces, we have integrated green building features and initiatives into our developments in Johor.”

From a purely residential player there, it is now involved in commercial, industrial and hospitality properties, remaining steadfast in pursuing growth and diversification.

The developer launched the i-Parc industrial park in 2014, offering detached and semi-detached factories. It ventured into the hospitality sector in 2019 with Hotel Ramada by Wyndham Meridin Johor Bahru. These ventures showcase its ability to adapt to the evolving market dynamics and its confidence in exploring new business sectors.

Optimism and confidence

Johor is the second-largest market for Mah Sing after the Klang Valley, with 1,182 acres of undeveloped land bank. Ong explains that several factors have led to the developer’s optimism and confidence in the state, and Mah Sing will continue to strengthen its presence there with more land acquisitions to develop residential, industrial and M Series projects.

“The Johor-Singapore special economic zone is expected to attract more multinational firms to Johor as part of their risk management strategy due to the US-China trade tensions. It will tap into the complementary strengths of both countries to foster economic connectivity by improving cross-border flows of goods, investments and people. There will be more demand for industrial factories and more job opportunities, which will allow more people to afford a house,” he says.

“Meanwhile, tourism in Johor has witnessed a significant growth with the country’s diverse attractions as well as cultural and culinary experiences. Our hospitality business is doing well compared to before the pandemic, mainly contributed by tourists from China, followed by tourists from Singapore.”

The transport network is another advantage of Johor. It has three major ports, namely Port Pasir Gudang, Port Tanjung Pelepas and Port Tanjung Langsat. The Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link — a cross-border rail system between Malaysia and Singapore — is slated for completion in 2026.

M Minori — First M Series Serviced Apartments launched in Johor Bahru in 3Q2023

Targeting the M40

Mah Sing has since completed 16,742 units in Johor, with a total gross development value (GDV) of RM6.5 billion. Its completed and ongoing projects in the state include Austin V Square (corporate suites and retail shopoffices) in Austin Perdana; Sierra Square (retail shopoffices) and Meridin Bayvue (apartments and retail lots) in Sierra Perdana; Meridin Medini (serviced residences, hotel, executive suites and retail lots) in Iskandar Puteri; Meridin East in Pasir Gudang; and M Minori in Johor Bahru.

Ong says the company has continued to evolve with the demands and needs of its target market — the M40 group.

“We went into developing housing for the masses 24 years ago. And over time, we have continued on this trajectory and we still target the mass market, which is the M40 group. Over the last 24 years, our M40 group has evolved [and so have we]. [The definition of affordable housing for the masses] back then, or even five years ago, was different compared to now, and Mah Sing is still a property developer for the M40 group,” he adds.

“Our strategy has not changed over the last 24 years. The only thing that has changed is that buyers’ incomes have increased. Therefore, their lifestyles are relatively more comfortable and thus their demands have increased.

“The design of our houses has improved over time, where we provide more comfortable spaces. We don’t want to move too far away from this segment and we strive to provide good quality products at an affordable pricing.”

For example, a double-storey terraced house in its Meridin East development is selling for about RM450,000, which is still affordable to the M40 group.

M Minori offers limitless experience with a comprehensive selection of vibrant amenities and facilities, all in a safe space
The 1,313-acre lake garden community in Pasir Gudang, Johor, with ample space for outdoor activities

New launches

The 1,313-acre Meridin East that was launched in 2016 is the developer’s crown jewel in Johor. The guarded community includes 500 acres of rejuvenating nature, a 16km jogging track and bicycle lane, and the nine-acre Mulberry Lake Park. Some 45%, or 4,028 double-storey terraced houses and 140 shophouses have been launched, while 2,216 homes have been handed over.

Five launches offering a total of 1,429 housing units, with a combined GDV of RM439.1 million, will be unveiled in Meridin East this year. These include three launches of double-storey terraced homes (20ft by 70ft, 18ft by 65ft and 22ft by 70ft) as well as two Rumah Mampu Milik Johor schemes offering townhouses of 1,001 sq ft.

Mah Sing has noticed a growing preference for higher-end double-storey terraced houses as well as high-rise residential properties. Therefore, it is looking to launch M Tiara @ Skudai (with land sizes of 20ft by 70ft, 20ft by 75ft, 22ft by 70ft and 22ft by 65ft; GDV of RM435 million and priced from RM715,000) and serviced apartments M Minori Tower C (483 units of 550 to 880 sq ft; GDV of RM168 million).

Erica East @ Meridin East, 20ft x 70ft freehold double-storey terraced houses, starting from RM493,000

“Now that there is a demand for more premium houses, we are offering higher-end products. We are very cautious about what the market can absorb because we don’t want to go against the grain,” says Ong.

Mah Sing acquired the M Tiara land last year. Spread across 75.7 acres, it will comprise 754 double-storey terraced houses and cluster homes, priced from RM715,000. Meanwhile, the developer purchased another parcel nearby — known as M Tiara 2 — this year due to the overwhelming response to M Tiara. It will offer units of 22ft by 70ft, 24ft by 70ft, 34ft by 70ft and 34ft by 75ft, with an indicative starting price of RM771,600.

M Minori is specifically designed for young professionals, newlyweds and growing families. It enables them to embrace the Ikigai living concept

As for high-rise developments, Ong reckons that the target market is mostly Malaysians working in Singapore who focus on location and pricing. With affordably priced units from RM288,000, M Minori prioritises environmentally friendly and sustainable living, as evidenced by its GreenRE Bronze certification. Hence, the development is equipped with green features such as EV charging stations, rainwater harvesting, automated waste collection system and biodegradable building materials.

Currently, all non-bumiputera lots in Tower A have been sold while 88% of the non-bumiputera lots in Tower B have been taken up.

“Our M Minori units are selling for an average of RM530 psf, or RM288,000 to RM500,000. These are affordable, comfortable apartments in a very good suburb and we provide a shuttle bus to and from the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) complex,” he says.

Moving forward

Moving forward, industrial will play in bigger role in overall MahSing portfolio.

“I am optimistic about the Johor market. I can say that confidently simply because we feel that Southeast Asia is stable. Even though there is a slowdown in the EU and the US, we remain confident in Malaysia’s property sector. The Malaysian economy is still strong and in favour,” says Ong.

There are many developers in the state, but he is unfazed by the competition as he believes this situation means the Johor market is vibrant. “Competition drives us to be better. The team always surveys the market to see what is going on, what the people want, and keeps in touch with our stakeholders to keep us on our toes,” he says.

The well-planned township features various components, including green spaces and amenities, catering for multigenerational living

“Despite the challenge of rising costs, we have managed to mitigate the impact through economies of scale and bulk purchases. Our project volume and central procurement department, along with favourable financing deals from our banking partners, have played a crucial role in this effort,” he adds.

To mark its three decades in business, Mah Sing is giving away three electric vehicles (EVs) along with cash prizes. Interested homebuyers may find out more about this campaign by visiting the “ Mah Sing 30th Anniversary” website at https://mahsing.com.my/30anniversary, or call (607) 291 3208 to find out more.

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