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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - First property expo set for October

First property expo set for October

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PG15-story-1.jpg

Hopes are high event will spur interest in housing market

CAMBODIA'S booming real estate market is attracting record interest from property companies with the Kingdom's first-ever real estate expo scheduled for October.

Whale Event Management, a member of Whale Group, expects to be at full capacity when it kicks off the three-day exposition on October 3 at Phnom Penh's Mondial Center,  said Sorn Sovattey, senior sales executive for Whale Event Management.

"We expect to have 31 real estate companies registering for the expo, because we have only 31 booths," Sorn Sovattey told the Post.

She said the expo will focus on city developers, realtors, property agents and property development consultants. It will also feature a growing field of designers, contractors and urban planners.

Luxury and high-end real estate developers are especially interested in the Kingdom, which has so far remained sheltered from the property market turmoil in Vietnam and stagnation in Thailand.

"The event is a good chance to gather all real estate companies together, which is easy for customers to see," she said. "It is a premium and high-class expo, which is expected to attract about 40,000 businesspeople, company bosses and customers."

Exhibitors can choose from five categories of booths: diamond, costing US$20,000 for three days, gold ($10,000), silver ($8,000), platinum ($6,000) and standard booths ($2,500).

"The real estate market is improving with a lot of satellite cities," Sorn Sovattey said. "After the 2008 election, the trend will go further."

Nhem Sothea, marketing manager of the Grand Phnom Penh International City, one of the capital's housing mega-projects, said the expo would give developers a chance to reach a wider audience.

"It is a good chance to display real estate products such as house styles, villas, business centers," he said Monday.  

Others said the event would allow potential customers to get an overview of Phnom Penh's rapidly evolving housing market by talking directly with developers and real estate agents.

"Customers can see the styles of houses that they prefer and negotiate prices," said Mao Thora, an undersecretary at the Commerce Ministry.

But some realtors have complained that the expo fees are too high and that the event was not planned far enough in advance.

In Sitha, general manager of Sovannaphum Realty, told the Post that his company would visit the event, but not join as an exhibitor.

"My company focuses on land speculation and building development, but I don't have any interest displaying at the expo. We have [other] ways to promote our products, and the expo schedule is too early to arrange for it," he said.

Sung Bonna, president of Bonna Realty Group, said that the initiative is good for the Cambodian market, but timing and costs could curb participation.

"My company has not made a decision yet.... The price for exhibiting is also too high for Cambodia's standards," he said.

Sorn Sovattey acknowledged that it was too early to tell how successful Cambodia's inaugural property expo would be, said she hoped it would be a top draw for the market.

"It is too early, of course, but we hope all real estate companies can participate," she said. 

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