HSR delay not likely to affect prices of property: experts

The High-Speed Rail (HSR) between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would have been a bonus for the Jurong area.

But now that the project is postponed, property analysts and businesses do not believe it will have a significant impact on the prices of homes, retail or office buildings.

When the railway is eventually built, retail property, in particular, may get a slight boost in value from the expected increase in traffic, they said.

On Wednesday, Malaysia and Singapore signed an agreement to postpone the HSR work until May 31, 2020.

The reason the deferment will have a muted impact on property prices is that the HSR is only one component of the blueprint for the rejuvenation of the Jurong area, said PropNex executive chairman and chief executive officer Mohamed Ismail Gafoor.

The blueprint for the Jurong Lake District was first released in 2008, as part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s efforts to grow new employment centres beyond the central area. Plans for the area include turning it into a Western Business District and upgrading Jurong Lake Gardens.

In 2015, the Government announced the HSR terminus would be located in Jurong East.

Mr Ismail also noted that shopping malls such as Jem and Westgate had sprung up even before the HSR developments.

“Prices in Jurong had started to move upwards in the last few years because of developments like the malls and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

“Looking ahead to the next five years, the prices will be sustained as the west continues to be rejuvenated, with construction like the mega port,” he added.

Moreover, since the deferment is around two years, Mr Ismail said it will not have a “major impact” on properties.

“If it is delayed for 10 years, maybe there would be a problem.”

In July, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the vision for the Jurong Lake District has not changed regardless of HSR developments.

Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director of real estate investment management firm ZACD Group, noted: “Many offices are there because of the business park or because they want to be near the manufacturing spaces there… The malls also serve the resident population.”

Developer CSC Land added that it was drawn in by the whole Jurong Lake District plan, which included HSR but also other developments that will transform the west.

It launched its project Twin View in West Coast Vale in May.

Still, the HSR will give a fillip to property prices, including retail when completed.

Mr Ismail said: “There will be greater convenience for people travelling… However, I don’t expect the property prices will be much enhanced.”

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