Real estate appraisal services in Cambodia are expected to become better and more professional next year following the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by 32 licensed companies hoping to enhance law enforcement in the sector, according to the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA).

The move aims to curb speculation in property prices by unlicensed dealers.

Sorn Seap, president of CVEA, stated that valuation services are a vital component of the real estate sector during a meeting of the organisation’s Real Estate Appraisal Working Group on November 23. 

He noted that every transaction involving buying, selling, renting or mortgaging properties necessitates accurate evaluation. 

He said the recent MoU between the companies, all members of the CVEA, is crucial for implementing standards in line with directives from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“Through the MoU and the commitment of all CVEA member companies, we hope that from the beginning of 2024 onwards, real estate appraisals in Cambodia will be conducted according to a common standard, with official reports, professionalism and high responsibility,” he stated.

He added that when assessments are conducted by experts that are internationally recognised, it helps attract foreign investment.

According to Seap, because the country is a member of the ASEAN Valuers Association (AVA), those in the industry are able to become members of the group as well.

Seng Sopheak, executive vice president and chairman of the CVEA Assessment Committee, stated that despite the prakas from the finance ministry having been in place since 2017, its practical implementation has not been effective so far.

He expressed concern that evaluations conducted by untrained and unprofessional individuals not only erode client trust and waste money, but also damage investor confidence and create disorder in the sector as a whole.

“Through this MoU, we will endeavour to bolster the effective implementation of the finance ministry’s prakas and advance the real estate appraisal sector abroad,” he stated.

Sopheak mentioned that the cost of valuation services in the country is set at $170 or more per case.

On July 31, 2017, the ministry issued Prakas 760, regarding the profession code of ethics for appraisers, and Prakas 761, which addresses fee and commission structures for their services. Both are designed to ensure effective management, control and collection of compensations. 

Cheng Kheng, CVEA board member and chairman of CPL Real Estate Company, expressed his strong support for CVEA member initiatives to improve law enforcement and enhance stakeholder capacity in the industry, aiming to make it more robust, particularly in swift recovery from recent crises.

“Remember that the … sector is a crucial pillar for the country’s economic growth, so if the real estate [industry] faces troubles, the economy does too,” he stated.

The government approved 2,367 construction investment projects in the first eight months of 2023, indicating a 20 per cent decrease compared to the same period last year, as per the ministry.

According to its data covering January to August, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction oversaw the approval of the projects, which encompassed 11.6 million sqm of space and a capital investment of $4.757 billion.