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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Real estate investment caps off 2016 at record levels

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2016 has been a rough ride for many in the real estate industry, but next year sings a promising tune. Moeun Nhean

Real estate investment caps off 2016 at record levels

Industry experts are remaining cautiously optimistic for property come 2017, despite upcoming communal elections forcing investors to buffer into a wait-and-see mode.

The news comes after recent data from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) reportedly showed that investment capital in the Cambodian real estate industry reached $8.2 billion in the first 11 months of 2016.

The figure is also up from the previously reported $7.56 billion, which represented the value of investment in all approved real estate projects recorded at the end of September.

While the figures reveal that real estate investment in Cambodia is on the up, some well-publicised events this year, such as The Bay mixed-use development being placed on hold, reveal all is not as rosy in the Kingdom’s real estate as sometimes portrayed.

Looking ahead to 2017, Sereypanha Mam, CEO of Easy Property Investment, said despite next year being the communal election year, investment capital in real estate was holding steady.

“According to my field study and observation, local and international investors are not worried about the upcoming election; they will continue investing no matter what,” he said.

He added, “I think the investment capital in this particular industry will certainly continue to increase in 2017 when compared to this year.”

Meanwhile, Sear Rithy, chairman of WorldBridge Land, a company that is currently investing in The Bridge and The Peak condo developments with joint venture partner Oxley Holdings, expressed his optimism for 2017.

“I believe that the investment capital in this industry will keep increasing, since the Cambodian market is currently within the eyeshot of foreign investors,” he said.

Lao Tip Seiha, deputy director of the MLMUPC, does not believe the rate of investment in real estate in 2017 will decline.

He cited the fact that projects that have been greenlighted in 2016 will begin construction in 2017, while vocalising his confidence for other property projects in the pipeline that have yet to be sent to the ministry for consideration.

“2017 and 2018 will still be great years for the continual flourishing of investment activity; they will not decline,” he said.

He added, “Accelerating the process of project approval and supervision – that has been shortened from 45 days to 25 days – also plays an important part in encouraging investors”.

Meanwhile, Kim Heang, president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), questioned the significance of the $8.2 billion figure, asking how much of that money had flowed directly into Cambodia.

“That huge amount of money that was registered is just mere data, it’s not real money. However, if investment capital is poured into the [construction] industry, its activity will continue to flourish in 2017,” he said.

Unlike Tip Seiha, Heang doubted there would be additional projects in the pipeline in 2017.

“2017 is the year for projects in 2015 and 2016 to continue on with their works. There won’t be many new projects in 2017, since there have already been too many in 2015 and 2016.”

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