A Survey of JB

The family including mother, brother and sister-in-law joined us for the house hunting trip last Saturday. Together with our two older kids, we only managed to cross the Causeway around 1pm and famished. So much for having an early start.

The day before I had drawn up a list of projects that I had wanted to view as well as the route we will take. First stop was Casa Impiana by IJM Land. I only got to know about this through the forum where several Singaporeans have listed as having made purchases here. Since it was across from Danga Bay waterfront development, I figured it might some sort of potential.

But before that lunch beckons so I suggested going to Danga Bay. There’s bound to be loads of eateries there. However I was disappointed to find out that most of the shophouses are either vacant or closed and the entire area looked deserted. Is this supposed to be the upmarket waterfront development so many raved about? Apparently a long way to go…

There was a recent condominium launch called Tropez Residence in Jan and the take up was pretty good though. Don’t really understand what these people are buying into.

We had lunch in a restaurant serving Indian cuisine called 7 Spice. It was untested but I am happy to report that the food is really delicious! Instead of plates we were served briyani rice on banana leaf and the authentic Indians eat with their hands. They have quite a large variety of curries, spice, bread and what not. North Indian dishes such as naan is available only after 6pm.

Two dishes that got my thumbs up are the cheese roti, a thinner version of naan with a healthy dose of cheese for RM3.50. The children loved it so much, they ate about 3 pieces plain! The other one is the butter cheese mushroom. Mushrooms cooked in a sweet creamy sauce that goes really well with the bread.

For a family of 5 adults and 2 children, our total bill is RM171. It is comparable with Singapore prices but the quality of food and ambience is worth the price.

After a fulfilling lunch, we headed for Casa Impiana. Even though the taman is just across the highway from Danga Bay, getting there is not really direct. We had to go further west on the highway, make a u-turn at an interchange and then go through a series of smaller roads before we arrived, only to be barred entry by the guards. The woes of a guarded and gated community for potential investors.

While the exterior of the houses look like little quaint cottages and the location is slightly elevated, the location is a bit far from amenities and it is surrounded by many older houses. Not sure if I got the guard wrong but there isn’t a showroom onsite as well. I guess best to call IJM to find out more.

Next stop is Damansara Aliff which is developed by Johor Land. It is found further north from Casa Impiana. No one discussed this project on the forum but I found out about it by tagging another Johor Land project called Bandar Dato Onn. Damansara Aliff is nestled within an entire commercial area that is slated for low rise factory buildings. I wanted to view the place to see if there might be rental potential.

The project was launched in July 2011 and the current take up is 50%. Not bad for a project that receive little publicity. There is currently only one corner lot left going at RM671,000. We took a look at the show house and I have to admit, I fell in love with the house. Call me old-fashioned but the design of the house was exactly what I picture a landed home to be like, a huge side garden, a cottage like exterior and a third storey designed like an attic for the perfect personal space, balcony overlooking a wide open field and a constant breeze. Granted the field is slated for development.

Unfortunately, the location of the house is not very ideal as there are very little amenities nearby and I am not sure if the strength of the developer would be able to wrestle in commercial build-up since there are so many other competitors right now. So I said goodbye to this property and headed further north to Kempas.

There are rumours that Kempas will be the future transport hub between commuters coming from Causeway and the Second Link into JB. I reckon that this place may see a lot of future potential. Right smack at the center is Setia Tropika. This taman was launched some four years ago but the gross development area is pretty big and they have recently launched two more terraces and one condominium.

The thing about Setia Tropika is that it comes with its very own commercial shophouses serving the residential community. That is, you don’t have to venture outside of Setia Tropika at all if you want to get your basic necessities. I suppose for people who are extremely fearful of what JB entails I guess this would be suitable for you. Since this is already their 4th phase or so, the starting prices of the terrace is going at RM 780K which is way off my budget.

I did a view of the show houses and the design doesn’t appeal to me. It is either the kitchen or the rooms are too small and there is no garden at all! I guess if you pay it is for the assurance of a branded developer and the amenities that are guaranteed.

From Kempas, I headed southwest to Sutera Utama, lately my favourite haunt in JB after chancing upon it one evening. Sutera Utama is a precinct in Skudai that is under the development of Tanah Sutera, which is co-joint by Keppel Land and Capitaland. Very familiar Singaporean names. The one thing you will notice about this taman is that it is an extremely vibrant Chinese community. Another aspect of the Sutera development that appeals to me is their Green focus and the various community activities to bring residents together.

While I am gunning their landed property, they have a current launch called The SEED which is supposedly a very unique concept. The idea of a garden apartment with condominium facilities, ma chiam like the best of three worlds and well within my $500 – $600K budget. While I am quite intrigued by the concept, I was also a bit hesitant about maintaining a garden which is open to trash from neighbours who live above me. Yup, only first floor residents have gardens.

After The SEED, we headed south on Jalan Danga to Bukit Indah, supposedly the center of the western JB development. What I like about Bukit Indah is how the taman is built up in concentric circles around two main malls – Aeon Jusco and Tesco (not unlike what we have along Tebrau, near Taman Austin).  In fact, all the way from Sutera Utama to Bukit Indah, Jalan Danga is lined with shophouses so there is no shortage of retail therapy if that’s what you’re looking for.

We visited the show village which is open until 9pm although the sales office closes much earlier. Once again, the designs under Setia do not appeal to me. I suppose they are trying for the modern look but to me a house is one with a proper tiled sloping roof, brick texture and proper sized rooms and kitchen, all of which were lacking. No guesses required but I think the houses here are probably out of my budget as well.

We did a quick tour of Horizon Hills as well. Not really sure what is it that is so outstanding about this locale but my hubby didn’t like it that the place looked so deserted. I suppose most of the owners don’t occupy their homes. Horizon Hills is about 10 minutes drive from Bukit Indah.

So that about ends my survey of JB last Saturday. Hoping to have a look at the landed properties in Sutera Utama and Leisure Farm this coming weekend. My hubby is already complaining about making the repeated trips to JB so I have to make this one count.

Other properties I have seen so far:

1. Austin Suites – reviews for the area is not very good although the price is very attractive

2. Setia Eco Garden – the location for the new lot of two-story terrace is not ideal although the surroundings is very scenic


5 thoughts on “A Survey of JB

  1. try serie austin by UM Land is quite good quality and value for money, near to dato oon development

    1. I did check out Seri Austin but felt that the area was a bit too north for my liking. Maybe the area will need more time to develop but currently just too much upcoming residential but not much commercial development to support it. That’s my take. But the view is good being atop a hill.

  2. Dear Rogue,
    I read your article with great interest, one point stuck out like a sore thumb. You seem to want to get a mega bang out of your money and very critical of all things except the food. Understand that everyone does. But I think at times you have to be a little realistic, given that money over there for a condo you cant even buy a 3 room HDB here, some trade off has to be made and you cannot compare apple to pear. Even if you finally get one that you think in your opinion is a extremely value buy, you will still not be contented, next you you be commenting on the type of grass surrounding and even the air that you breathe, common dont be so “kiasu” like most SIngaporeans, chill out and enjoy what you behold or you will never be happy even if you stay in a palace….chill…..

    1. Hi Realist, having reread my post in light of your comments, I guess I really did come across as being absolutely fussy about this or that. I hope there are no offense taken.

      Fact is that I have a limited budget and am really just a newbie when it comes to property investment. I highlighted the things I liked or disliked as a personal opinion.

      I admit I will never find the perfect property but now that I have settled on a purchase, am looking forward to chilling out and explore my new environs.

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