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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Another glitzy condo sets up in BKK1, but occupancy is dismal

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The Platinum Bay development in BKK1. Photo supplied

Another glitzy condo sets up in BKK1, but occupancy is dismal

Trendy commune Boeung Keng Kang 1 is now home to the latest residence in town. Platinum Bay, a 32-storey condo, has officially opened the doors to its 222-unit building. While finishing touches will be complete by the end of May, buyers have already started to move in – although the number is paltry. At present, only 10 units are occupied.

The developer, Tang Chen Investment Co., could not be reached for comment on the condo’s total occupancy rate. Platinum Bay, which announced its project in 2013, was initially slated for a 2015 completion.

Kek Narinn, CEO of Focus Property, whose office resides in BKK1, said earlier this week that the room rate in the commune has taken a slow dip due to the rise of new condos and apartments all opening their doors within months of each other. Despite this, he said, judging from the overall occupancy rate, BKK1 still ranks the highest among all of Phnom Penh’s main residential districts. This rate corresponds to almost 90 percent occupancy.

“Condo and apartment owners are going forward with preserving their current pricing without offering discounts, but this comes with added services and amenities, because competition is increasingly tougher now with the supply of homes spiking,” Narinn added.

On a monthly rental basis, according to Narinn, high-end apartments in BKK1 can command $1,500 for a one-bedroom unit, up to $2,500 for a two-bedroom, and between $2,500 and $3,500 for a three-bedroom apartment.

While BKK1 continues to enjoy higher occupancy rates for its residences than other areas, CEO of Century 21 Mekong Chrek Soknim said a deeper look has to be taken from a developers’ perspective. Investors are shifting strategies, with the first wave having mainly targeted the foreigner and expat market. Today’s investors, however, are finding more substantial value in prioritising the local market, with the provision of lower-priced condos and apartments.

Still, the mindset of locals perseveres in that they are still attached to their shophouse and flathouse dwellings when compared to the fairly new concept of high-rises.

“Not many Cambodian people are ready to leave the comforts of their homes and move into condos. The country needs another decade for the people to come to terms with the idea, be educated, and have their mentality about this sector changed,” said Soknim.

Kim Heang, head of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), noted that if the BKK1 area was showing its current lack of demand for apartments, and condo sales continued dwindling, no other area in Phnom Penh would be spared the same conditions.

He added, “The rent rate and the quality of the building are acceptable in the current climate.”

“There are no problems in the present, but the future of these residences holds great uncertainty.

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