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Real estate training school in the works

A TRAINING school for the real estate industry was set to open in Cambodia in order to improve professionalism in the sector, officials said.

Speaking to more than 300 real-estate agents, bankers and business people at a two-day real estate seminar at Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh on Friday, President of the National Valuers Association Sung Bonna said he hoped the centre would open “this year”.

“The real estate sector is one of the key sectors [in] the development of country’s economy. I’ll try my best to set up the professional training school for the sector – we really need it at the moment,” he said.

“We will cooperate with Singapore to offer very professional skills [training] from [Singaporean] experts,” he said.

“Our purpose is to develop and to help the sector to be more professional and knowledgeable.

"Now, I feel that Cambodia needs more and more human resources for the improvement of the sector.”

The initiative, in particular the potential to improve property evaluation, was widely supported by the business community.

Dieter Billmeier, vice president and adviser to Canadia bank welcomed the initiative.

“It would help to introduce more professionalism into the sector for an upgrade of property assessment, evaluation, the quality of materials and construction. “

“It would definitely have a positive aspect for banks and financial institutions here in Cambodia, because it would increase the trust in outside judgment in the evaluation process for any property,” he said.

Last year about 15 percent of Canadia’s total loan portfolio were mortgage loans and about 9 percent were building and construction loans.

The bank aims to increase the percentage for both sectors combined by between 5 and 8 percent this year.

Sok Siphana, economic advisor to the Prime Minister, said during an opening speech that Cambodia needed to build capacity in real estate.

“The clients, the markets need your professional opinion and skills,” he said.

President of Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers Lim Lan Yuan also supported the idea, pointing to Singapore’s experience in creating professional valuation services.

“I can see this kind of thing happening in Cambodia,” he said.

“Asia has a lot of potential ... we see it in China, India, and Vietnam. At the moment Cambodia is the next one. Cambodia is now an emerging country with increasing population and improving economy – in this sense there will be potential for real-estate investment.”

Sung Bonna hopes that full-time training courses would last for six months and would be recognised by the government.

“We also plan to [enable students to] study abroad during the course because we want them be more professional and comply with international standards,” he said.

Cambodia’s land values fell last year compared to 2009, according to the valuers association.

It estimated commercial and residential land prices averaged about US$2,000 to $4,000 per square metre for 2010, down from $2,500 to $4,500 per square metre for 2009.

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