Despite the gradual global economic recovery, Cambodia’s real estate sector might need an additional two to three years to reach pre-pandemic levels, as the sector has shown very little development in early 2024 compared to 2023, according to the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA).

During a roundtable discussion on the “2024 Economic and Real Estate Situation” organised by the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) on March 11, CVEA president Sorn Seap observed that since the start of 2024, the sector has not significantly improved from 2023. 

He noted some positive signs in specific areas such as the condominium and rental accommodation market within the tourism sector. However, he pointed out that the market for buying and selling land and retail space was still underperforming. 

Seap emphasised that the market is heavily influenced by global and regional economic growth and is currently not in a position to recover swiftly.

“Everything always has a history and a journey. For the Cambodian real estate market, I believe improvement will come around 2026-27, possibly mirroring the peak conditions of 2018-19,” he stated.

Seap, with nearly two decades of expertise in the field, commented that the situation in coastal Preah Sihanouk province, which currently has many unfinished projects, will eventually resolve.

“The real estate and construction sector in [Preah Sihanouk] will experience rapid growth in the future. This belief is based on the patterns observed in the Chinese real estate market, where rapid development often begins in coastal cities,” he explained.

According to Seap, the most promising real estate markets are those with well-developed transportation infrastructure, electricity, water, safety and the potential for owners to earn quick returns or high profits.

Im Seng Hour, branch manager of Century 21 Zillion Holding in Sihanoukville town, noted that the gradual return of foreign investors, particularly from Indonesia and China, has reinvigorated some long-stalled construction sites. 

He said these are now being rebuilt to accommodate the rising demand for rental space, though the buying and selling market remains sluggish.

“Recently, I have seen previously abandoned buildings being renovated due to increased rental demand from Indonesian and Chinese investors, for both accommodation and business premises,” he said.

Sam Soknoeun, president of the Global Real Estate Association, mentioned that the Cambodian real estate market was muted in 2023. However, he expects a slight improvement this year as the government and private sector have been actively promoting and marketing to attract domestic and international investors. 

He believes that investment in the country will create a demand for real estate and other buildings, aiding the gradual recovery of the market.

“The real estate market in 2024 will improve marginally from 2023, driven by the growth of new ventures. Recovery in the real estate and construction sector usually takes longer than in other sectors,” Soknoeun added.