Kaeden Ong

Singapore looks beyond borders for homes, lower business cost

Posted by Kaeden Ong on 11th June 2014 in Blog

Singapore retains its position as one of the world’s leading cities with the help of its neighbours namely, the Malaysian state of Johor and Indonesia’s Riau Islands, which provide cheaper access to property and labour, according to media reports.

For instance, a two-story home with five bedrooms in Johor’s Iskandar region is selling for RM3.9 million (S$1.52 million) last month, while a similar-sized home at Singapore’s Sentosa district goes for around 15 times more.

Some companies are relocating their operations to Batam, one of the largest of the Riau Islands across the Singapore Strait, due to lower operating costs.

Last October, Singapore-listed Amtek Engineering shifted its manufacturing operations to Batam, and its profits are expected to rise after one year, said its CEO Daniel Yeong.

“The cost is by far lower. It’s a 45-minute ferry away. I don’t have to lose any of the high-quality people,” he said.

In nearby Bintan island, Gallant Venture is building a new runway and airport terminal. Last October, the Singapore-based firm also started marketing 139 villas on the island’s north coast with prices starting from S$770,000.

Ultimately, Singapore’s search for cheaper properties and lower business cost beyond its borders resulted in a tri-nation metropolis known as Sijori, an acronym derived from Singapore, Johor and Riau Islands.

For land-scarce Singapore, access to cheaper resources is very important. Milica Topalovic, Associate Professor at Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory, said, “Without the regional perspective it would be a lot more difficult, if at all possible, for Singapore to maintain the role that it has as a global city.”

Aris Ananta, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, revealed the Sijori triangle has a total population of 10.1 million in 2010 and this could hit 18 million by 2030.

Credits: Property Guru

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