A VISIT to see friends in Iskandar five years ago convinced Mr Jonathan Ward and his wife, Tina, to give up on looking for a bigger home in Singapore and invest in a property across the Causeway instead.
Just two weeks after that visit, they bought their own villa, complete with garden and swimming pool, in Ledang Heights, the same estate as their pals.
"When we first moved here, there weren't many people around and not as many amenities, but over the last two years, things have got much better," said Mr Ward, 36, a laboratory consultant from London.
"We've a fantastic school five minutes from our doorstep - Marlborough College, which our children now go to - and there are a lot of developments and shopping malls coming up."
In fact, the Wards liked Ledang Heights so much that they bought three more houses there, two of which they have already sold for a tidy profit.
They have also bought a 14,000 sq ft plot of land within Ledang Heights for a big house they are planning to build for their own use.
Over the past five years, Mrs Ward, a Singaporean who used to work in the banking industry, has even carved out a new career from her experience. The 36-year-old now runs her own firm, helping foreigners buy, design and build houses in the area.
She has a list of about 20 people looking to get their hands on a house or a piece of land, but both are hard to come by these days.
It is also not an easy process to build your dream home in Iskandar.
"Things here are a bit more relaxed and easygoing and while that's one of the good things about Malaysia, it's also a drawback, sometimes," Mr Ward said.
Mrs Ward added: "We've heard horror stories of contractors running off and people not finishing projects and taking many years to build.
"I've been very lucky to have identified some good Malaysian contractors and have managed to build a strong team. I've completed more than six projects in Nusajaya and have three building projects starting soon."