Housing Market

What Can The Price Of A HDB Flat Get You In Johor Bahru?

13 March 2023 | BY

What can the price of a 2-room BTO or a 4-room resale HDB flat get you in the neighbouring Johor Bahru instead?

hdb flat johor bahru home

Unless you’re living under a rock, you would have read about how HDB prices have been skyrocketing to the moon, cooling measures be damned. Let’s also not forget that these million-dollar HDBs are only somewhere around 1,200-1,300sqft which begs the question: can the price tag of an HDB flat in Singapore get us something bigger?

For logistical reasons, we set our sights on the nearby Johor Bahru; you might have also heard a friend make the comparison before. So what exactly can the cost of an HDB flat in Singapore – from a 2-room resale to a 4-room rental – get you in Johor?

All the prices are accurate as of February 2023.

2-room resale in Sengkang = 2-storey cluster house

2-room HDB flats are some of the smallest ones available in Singapore, with their total size ranging from 409-516sqft. If you were to buy one of the said flats in Sengkang in 2022, you might have paid around S$315K for it. A quick search online for a property in Johor Bahru showed you can get a 2-storey semi-detached cluster house in a corner lot for the same price. 

2-storey cluster house in johor bahruImage credit: PropertyGuru

The house is located in the Setia Tropika town and costs RM $1.05M, which comes up to around S$314K. It sports 5 bedrooms over 2,420sqft and has a car porch with a gate because who needs a multi-storey car park. It’s also a freehold property so you don’t have to worry about your lease ending.

hdb flat johor bahru home floor planAn example of the floor plan of the cluster house.
Image credit: Setia

A perk of being a resident in the Setia Tropika township is that it’s a fully-gated community located right along Malaysia’s North-South Expressway. Plenty of stores from Starbucks to McDonald’s are also within walking distance.

3-room BTO in Bukit Merah = luxurious semi-detached home

Going up a bit more in price is a 3-room BTO in Bukit Merah. The median price of the flat based on the August 2022 BTO exercise is S$431K, which converts to around RM$1.4M. For that kind of money, you can own a 2-storey semi-detached house with 24-hour security.

exterior facade of the danga sutera house in johor bahruImage credit: Danga Sutera

The swanky digs that cost RM$1.45M (~S$439K) boast at least 4 bedrooms with a built-up area of 3,254sqft. The house itself is part of the Danga Sutera cluster development that’ll have around 120 semi-detached homes built on the property. All the homes here are also freehold and newly-built in 2023.

interior picture of a luxurious bungalow in johor bahruA staged interior of how the home will look like.
Image credit: Danga Sutera

Those who are particular about Feng Shui will also be pleased to know that all the units are aligned north and south.

Danga Sutera website 

4-room resale flat in Queenstown = spacious condo near Singapore

It’s no secret that resale flats are fetching astronomical prices. Case in point: the median price of 4-room resale flats in Queenstown across 2022 was S$838K. That can get you a 4-room condo in Malaysia’s tallest residential building, The Astaka @ 1 Bukit Senyum.

condo at The Astaka @ 1 Bukit SenyumImage credit: PropertyGuru

At just RM$2.4M (~$718K), you will be the proud new owner of a spacious 2,659sqft condo overlooking the Johor Bahru skyline. It has 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms and comes fully furnished so you and your family can move in at a moment’s notice. You’ll also get 2 car park lots allocated to you.

One downside is that you’ll have to pay a monthly maintenance fee of RM$1,200 (~S$359), but the savings you’ll have from not buying that Queenstown resale flat will help pay for the monthly fee for at least 23 years.

Alternatively, you could also snag a 2-storey semi-detached house with 4 bedrooms if you’re not a big fan of high-rise living. The house is nestled within the Eco Spring cluster that is heavily inspired by European and Tudor architecture and will only set you back RM$2.8M (~S$848K). 

interior of a luxury bungalow in johor bahruImage credit: PropertyGuru

Each house comes newly renovated and fully furnished with porcelain tiles on the ground floor; that would cost you a pretty penny if you wanted the same style in Singapore. The freehold house also sits on a 4,445sqft plot with 3,690sqft of it being dedicated to the house itself. 


4-room rental HDB in Tiong Bahru = bungalow with private pool

More Singaporeans are turning to renting instead of buying a home, and understandably too. If you wanted to rent a 4-room HDB in Tiong Bahru, that would probably cost you around S$4.5K per month. Should you decide to take up a remote position that allows you to work from anywhere, you could rent out a 3-storey bungalow with a private pool instead.

bungalow with a private pool in emerald bay, johor bahruImage credit: PropertyGuru

The bungalow is located in Emerald Bay, a waterfront development at Puteri Harbour which is just a 17-minute drive away from Second Link. It comes fully furnished and sports 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, so you can move your entire family in without having to arrange for a moving truck. If you happen to own a yacht, you’d be pleased to know that there’s a private berth too.

Singaporeans buying property in Johor Bahru

We used to joke about how we could afford a big mansion in Malaysia just for the price of an HDB flat. Turns out the joke’s on us Singaporeans as real estate across the Causeway – at least in Johor Bahru – is so much more affordable.

However, before you pick up your cheque book, there are a few things you need to know about buying property in Malaysia as a foreigner:

  • Foreigners cannot buy property that is designated a Bumi lot or Malay-reserved land
  • Foreigners can only buy property above an RM$2M valuation if it’s a landed property in designated international zones or RM$1M for high-rise/strata property
  • Owners of HDB flats still have to meet the Minimum Occupation Period before they can commit to buying a foreign property

There’s also the Malaysia My 2nd Home (MM2H) visa program that will allow you and your dependents to enter Malaysia on a multi-entry social visit pass. It is not the same as permanent residency though, which is a whole other ballgame. Some requirements to apply for the MM2H visa include:

  • An income above RM$40,000 (~S$12,000)
  • Must be over 35 years old
  • Must have RM$1.5M (~S$450K) in liquid assets when applying
  • Must deposit RM$1M (~S$300K) when approved

All in all, it’s not that easy to just bid adieu to HDBs and BTOs and live a cushy life in Malaysia. There’s a lot of paperwork to be done and lots of money needed in your bank. But it might be worth it if you’re often spending the weekend in JB and your boss allows you to work remotely.

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Cover image credit: Danga Sutera

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