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Govt OKs sub-decree on apartment-buying

Govt OKs sub-decree on apartment-buying

Order allowing Cambodians to own apartments paves the way for foreign apartment-ownership

THE government on Friday approved a sub-decree on co-ownership of fixed property that allows Cambodians to buy individual apartments. Until now, Cambodians were only able to rent or lease apartments.

The sub-decree also paves the way for a forthcoming law that will allow foreign nationals to buy space on or above the first floor of a building.
The Sub-Decree on Co-ownership will "ensure and protect the rights" of people who wish to legally buy an apartment.

The sub-decree will not allow the purchaser to own the land on which the development is constructed.
The sub-decree also addresses the issues of sale, exchange, donation and inheritance of these fixed properties.

An official at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction said the new regulation would help boost the country's flagging real estate sector.

It will pave the way for the upcoming foreign ownership law.

Im Chamrong, the director general of the ministry's construction department, said the regulation would help the sector weather the current slowdown.
"[And] it will pave the way for the upcoming foreign ownership law which will let foreigners own units in buildings from the first floor upwards without awarding land title, so that they have co-ownership in some part of the buildings," he said. "That means if they want to sell their property, they can easily do so."

Sung Bonna, the head of estate agency Bonna Realty Group, welcomed the legislation.

"We want to push ahead with this regulation and get approval rapidly to accelerate the foreign ownership law," he said. "If this sub-decree had not been approved then we won't be able to have the foreign-ownership law allowing ownership of apartments."

Investment boost
Kheng Ser, the assistant to the vice president at World City Co, which is building the US$2 billion Camko Satellite City development in Phnom Penh, said the sub-decree's approval would ultimately boost sales and attract more foreign investors.

He said the project's first phase of 700 condominiums were 80-percent sold for between $140,000 and $300,000 each.

"Most of my customers are foreigners who have signed long leases," he said. "But these new laws will increase confidence among customers to buy property, and my clients won't need to sign leases but can buy units in my development."

The ministry recently finished drafting the law on foreign ownership of property, which would allow foreign nationals to own building space on or above the first floor.

The proposed law is being discussed with interested parties to ensure it meets the requirements of flexibility and convenience before submission to parliament.

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