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Flying into action in Phnom Penh

Flying into action in Phnom Penh

6 Phillip Scott

Phillip Scott is a young property surveyor who has just arrived in Phnom Penh to work for CBRE. Here, he describes his initial impressions of Phnom Penh, and the property market.

“After travelling half way around the world to begin a new life in a continent you have never visited, the final approach to Phnom Penh International Airport is a daunting prospect.

The initial darkness of the capital city was a shock; coupled with the rush of Phnom Penh, it enthralled me with possibly optimistic views of the time I’ll spend here.

The change in culture was also a shock, but was equally deeply intriguing. It was something that I knew I would learn to love. After the jet lag passed, with the help of a few close friends and the kind offers of a few more, I gradually came to terms with the life-changing move I had made in pursuit of a respectable career in real estate.

Simply getting to grips with the way in which real estate, and more so its respective markets and economies work, has been thus far the hardest point to comprehend.  

What has become my home from home has shown me the harsh reality of ‘what can be’ with dealings in real estate, but equally, it has provided me with a fantastic truth of what can be achieved, and inevitably will be achieved, in such a fascinating and emerging country.

Not a street is without the prospect of new development, whether that be 12 stories of a high rise serviced apartment and condominium block, or simply the breaking of ground. Construction is ripe, and the individual real estate markets are reacting well to envisaged demand.

I believe, however, in some instances that the growth of particularly the real estate economy has been under-thought, with developments being proposed that fail to pass initial ground breaking, and furthermore, lack investment.

Cambodia has been heavily supported by foreign investment throughout its emergence in Asia, and this continues to be the case. In particular, Japanese investment has given the property market continued strength, and the increasing number of expats residing in Phnom Penh suggests this is likely to continue.

Although Phnom Penh is now supported by a growing infrastructure and a number of high rise residential and commercial developments, the completion of Vattanac Capital later this year will provide a great and exciting prospect to be involved with.

Its opening will offer Cambodia’s first true Grade A development, and this will be a great achievement, not only for the country, but more so Asia as a whole. The innovative design resembles nothing I have seen before, and is significant statement to clients across the world.

My previous colleagues advised me before my departure that things would be different; deals and transactions, property law, property finance, and many more aspects of the business.

None of them, however could have provided me information on the general workings that I feel you must become accustomed to in to survive in the cut-throat business of real estate.

My experiences thus far have provided me with a number of thoughts and opinions on Asian markets, and I hope my continued stay in Cambodia will further build not only my knowledge, but also my experiences with internationally renowned properties and real estate markets. I’m looking forward to it.”


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