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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Law fuels increase in foreign ownership

Law fuels increase in foreign ownership


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Almost 300 foreign nationals have purchased property in the Kingdom since the introduction of the Law on Foreign Ownership, according to a report obtained from the Ministry of Land and Urban Planning.

Since the implementation of the law, a total of 655 units have been bought by 272 foreign nationals, hailing mainly from Malaysia, China and South Korea, the report showed.

The law, which was rubber-stamped by King Norodom Sihamoni on May 24, 2010, enables foreigners to own property above the ground floor of a building, which is not within 30 kilometres of a border.

Interest from domestic and overseas buyers has increased exponentially since the law came in to effect, according said Lao Tip Seiha, construction department director at the Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning.

“Foreign buyers have more confidence in purchasing property as a result of the law, the Kingdom’s concrete legal system and the political and social stability,” he said, adding that he expects transactions to increase again, this year.

Several housing developers told the Post that they had already seen a positive response to the changes in the foreign co-ownership law, with sales growing.

“Our units sold at a fairly slow rate to begin with, but the market quickly picked up with the introduction of the foreign ownership law, prompting us to expand the project,” said Un Muoy, sales and marketing manager at Two Towns Co, the Taiwanese developers behind Phnom Penh’s Bali Resort.

She added that 80 per cent of the condominiums at the resort, located one kilometre away from the airport, had been sold, primarily to buyers from China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The 32-storey De Castle Royal, Korean company Nuri DNC’s latest development in the capital, resumed construction last July after coming to a halt and is set for completion in December, this year. The firm’s trading operations manager Chhour Hai Eng told the Post that the law offers foreign companies the opportunity to expand their markets.

“We can now promote Cambodia [internationally] as an emerging destination for property investment,” he said, adding that obstacles, which previously hindered potential foreign buyers, had been removed.

Some industry experts believe that the easing of these ownership restraints will allow Cambodia to attract foreign nationals who would have previously invested in neighbouring countries.

“It will make Cambodia one of the most attractive investment destinations in the region, especially when you consider how strict the rules on foreign ownership are in Thailand and Vietnam,” said Brett Sciaroni, American Cambodian Business Council chairman and government advisor.

Under Thai law, foreign nationals are not allowed to own land. However, they do have the right to the ownership of buildings in condominium developments where no more than 49 per cent of the units are owned by foreigners.

Foreigners who are residents in Vietnam are permitted to purchase houses, but, like Vietnamese citizens, they can not own the land on which it is built.

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