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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Property expo kicks off on Friday

Property expo kicks off on Friday

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081119_p6.jpg

Up to 40,000 are expected to attend Cambodia's first property expo over

the weekend against the backdrop of the global financial crisis and a

slumping domestic market

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

Whale chairman Ly Sok expects a big turnout at this weekend’s property expo at the Hotel Cambodiana.

The organiser behind Cambodia's first property expo, starting Friday, is confident of a strong turnout, despite the recent downturn in the real estate sector.

Whale Event Management chairman Ly Sok said he expected at least 20,000 and up to 40,000 people to attend the expo at the Cambodiana Hotel from November 21 to 23.

The expo comes as developers and brokers report a downturn in sales of up to 50 percent in the second half of the year and up to 30 percent of workers have been laid off in a construction slowdown.

Ly Sok said he hoped the expo would give a boost to the real estate sector, which he said had simply been hit by a crisis of confidence.

"Cambodia has not been hit hard by the economic crisis but people are still afraid," he said. "Before, a lot of people tried to buy land, but now people aren't buying or selling.

"They are following their friends. If their friends buy, they buy, but if their friends aren't buying, they won't buy either."

People still had money to invest in property but were taking a wait-and-see approach, he said. "We are trying to promote real estate and remind them that Cambodia's economic situation is not bad and they don't need to be afraid of buying."

We are trying to promote real estate and remind them they don't need to be afraid of buying.

Ly Sok added that the slight downturn in the real estate sector over the past few months meant it was a buyers' market. "It's a good time to buy land because although prices are not low, they are at a more suitable price than they have been," he said.

As well as snapping up property at bargain prices, attendees will have the chance to win prizes at the expo, including motorbikes, mobile phones and watches. A cocktail evening during the expo will also provide a networking  opportunity  for professionals from the real estate sector.

The event will showcase real estate companies, developers, construction companies, banks, insurance companies and interior designers. UN representatives will also attend to advance discussion about sustainable urban development.

Confirmed exhibitors include the Gold Tower 42 and the Grand Phnom Penh International City development projects, banks such as ANZ Royal and Cambodia Public Bank, Alpha Property Construction and Decor Gallery.

Sung Bonna, president of Bonna Realty Group, the largest real estate agency in Cambodia, said he expected a large turnout despite the real estate slump, or perhaps because of it.

"Businessmen are free now," he said. "They don't know what to do at the moment, so they will want to go there to talk."

Jean-Benoit Lasselin, business development manager at Cambodia Properties Limited (CPL), which is also exhibiting, said the timing was good for the event.

"It's good to have the exhibition during this world economic crisis because all the real estate protagonists will be able to share their impressions, expectations and fears, and will want to take decisions," he said.

The expo was originally scheduled for October 3 at Phnom Penh's Mondial Center, but was delayed after sponsors and exhibitors said they did not have enough time to prepare.

Whale Event Management, a member of Whale Group, was formed this year. It plans to hold at least six expos every year focused on real estate, health and lifestyle, food and beverage, international trade, technology and education.

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