Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land prices plummet amid Preah Vihear temple dispute

Land prices plummet amid Preah Vihear temple dispute

Land prices plummet amid Preah Vihear temple dispute

PG015-Story-1.jpg
PG015-Story-1.jpg

Property speculators move in for the kill as scared locals rush to sell their land for fear that military standoff could turn violent

VANDY RATTANA

A mechanic fixes a truck outside Sa Em village, located 23km from Preah Vihear.

Reversal of fortune

Land values have rocketed 150 percent over the past year throughout most of the country, but the dispute at Preah Vihear has left property owners near the historic temple holding the bag.

M

Land values along the border near Preah Vihear have plummeted amid fears that a standoff over disputed territory near the border could erupt in violence, opening the way for speculators to snap up properties at rock-bottom prices, realtors say.

"The dispute has put land prices in the province at a standstill or even made them cheaper, despite the fact Preah Vihear was made a World Heritage site," said Sung Bonna, president and CEO of the Bonna Realty Group. "Some realtors or speculators are rushing to buy land in the province because they think that this is a good opportunity for them," he added.

"If it were not for the dispute...there could have been a land shortage."

Hundreds of Cambodian and Thai soldiers are still deployed around the temple as their governments remain deadlocked over 4.8 square kilometres of land around the 11th-century ruins.

Sung Bonna said that some land owners were flogging their land at discount prices because they are worried about war, "but land speculators are happy to take on risk".

Others, like Yin Koy, a resident of Sa Em village near the temple, are stuck with heavily devalued land, despite hopes that they could sell for a hefty profit after Preah Vihear was listed July 7 as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

"When Preah Vihear was announced as a World Heritage site I was very happy because I hoped that my land prices would increase."

He added that he had wanted to sell the two properties for a total price of US$120,000.

"I am very disappointed as I can't sell my land since there is tension between the armed forces at the temple," he told the Post.

"I am trying to sell it but buyers have only offered me low prices."

Another Sa Em villager, Pol Sovannary, said her land's value has dropped by $3,000 since the temple crisis began July 15.

"Before the tensions at the temple, people offered me $20,000 but I refused their offer because I thought it still too cheap," Pol Sovannary said.

"I know its price would double in the future," she said.

Land prior to the temple's World Heritage listing went for as little as $.50 a square metre in forested areas near the border and $30-$80 a square metre in provincial towns, Sung Bonna said.

"Land prices in Preah Vihear could more than double if the dispute calms down because the province could become the second [biggest] cultural tourism destination after Siem Reap province," he  said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from