As Phnom Penh continues to expand, five communes from neighbouring Kandal province have been swallowed up by the growing city.
The communes, which are now part of Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, are Boeung Thom, Kantork, Kambol, Euvlork, and Spean Thma, all of which were in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district save for the last, which was in Kandal Stung.
Nim Niradet, Ang Snuol district chief, said that the communes had seen their population jump from 150,000 to 180,000 year-on-year due to ongoing urbanisation.
The area now has 63 factories and other larger-scale enterprises, creating more jobs for its residents.
The swelling population has led to an increase in land prices on National Road 4, which cuts across the communes on its way through Kampong Speu to Sihanoukville.
“Land prices along National Road 4 now range from $50 to $100 per square metre, while sub roads are priced only $3 to $5 per square metre,” he said.
Many flats are being built in Ang Snuol district, Niradet said, although the previous focus on suburban-style “borey” developments is no longer present as the five communes already have four boreys.
The area along the road has become increasingly affordable for middle-income people, said Thida Ann, associate director of CBRE Cambodia.
“National Road 4 is a gateway for importing and exporting goods through Sihanoukville’s port, leading land prices to increase around 10 per cent every year,” she said.
“Near Phnom Penh, land prices along the road range from $100 to $200 per square metre.”
The government’s Industrial Development Policy, which was launched in March and seeks to diversify Cambodia’s manufacturing base, is also aiming to turn the area from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville into one of the Kingdom’s chief industrial zones.
Nget Piseth, assistant director of New World Borey, said the company has decided to invest along the road, for three reasons.
First, there is high population density, second, the population consists of thousands of industrial workers, and third, land prices remain affordable.
“Previously the area belonged to Kandal province, but it has been taken up by Phnom Penh. Therefore, if our borey is set up there, we will be in the capital.”
City spokesman Long Dimanche said that even though the communes had been transferred to Phnom Penh, the city would not expand immediately.
“According to our policy, Phnom Penh will expand, but the city’s expansion cannot be conducted [haphazardly] so we study the demographic, economic, and geographic [factors] before we make any decision.”