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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Experts urge investment in real estate as ASEAN integration approaches

Experts urge investment in real estate as ASEAN integration approaches

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Real estate experts are urging investors to start investing in the Kingdom’s real estate sector as Cambodia is preparing to integrate further with the ASEAN community at the end of 2015.

Cheng Kheng, director of the CPL real estate company and president of Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, said the ASEAN integration is coming up very fast, so the changes to the accommodation and work places of the people in the region will happen more and more.

“Currently, there is an opportunity for investors in real estate, because real estate prices are currently cheap compared with other countries in the region,” he said. “Before, it is said that Cambodia has small population and small market but after the integration with ASEAN and the other three countries, Cambodia’s market is no longer small: it will be equal to one third of the world’s population,” he added.

When asked which potential areas investors should focus on, Cheng Kheng replied “condominiums, apartments, office buildings, and factories, because our country has good infrastructure and favourable conditions, while neighbouring countries always face national disaster.”

He said “When ASEAN becomes one community, the people in this region will look at any places where they can work, where they can live comfortably, and where they spend less, and Cambodia will become their destination.”

He continued “If investors start their business in 2015, it is not wrong but it will be rather late and they will get less profit, but if they start investment now, it is a good opportunity and they will get a lot of profit.”

Sorn Seap, the general manager of KEY Real Estate agreed, saying that he thinks that “investors should start investment this time because it is the most suitable time for the development in this sector, but new investors should have new ideas as well for their investment so that they can get into their market segment smoothly.”

He added “new prices need to be set, building designs or housing unit built should be designed based on the customers’ needs, and if they are building condos or apartment for foreigners, they should study the need and interest as well as the mindset of the customers.”

Sorn Seap said his view is that if they invest in housing development, the investors should consider prices between $50,000 and $100,000 and the structure and design should look attractive. However, he did not recommend how much for the investment, just recommending that the land area that should be invested in is around 10 hectares, and they should start a pilot project for one hectare first. If the project gets successful, then they should continue with the next project.

Recently, the US news channel CNN said that Cambodia has the most potential for investment in ASEAN, as the real estate prices are appropriate, and the country has good political stability, strong economic growth, cheap labour costs and a lot of labour, because the country has a lot of young people.

Khat Sovann, general manager of the Cam Top Property Group, said if investors start investment now, it is a great opportunity, because it is a broad market, but if they wait for another five or 10 years, it will be too late, because real estate prices will increase hugely. For the general public, if they have about $50,000, they should buy a housing unit at this time, but if they wait until ASEAN integration they will not afford to buy it, he added.

He confirmed that “when Cambodia has economic integration in the ASEAN region, the number of investors coming to Cambodia will be greater and the number of workers and tourists coming will be more as well, and at that time the price of real estate will be high due to growing demand.”

Both Khat Sovann and Sorn Seap think that investors should focus on goods warehouses, condos, apartments and office buildings, because they have more demand and will show a higher profit.

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