The number of construction projects approved in Cambodia during the first half of the year increased 28 percent compared with the same period last year, amounting to a total value of around $4.9 billion, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.
The government approved 1,523 projects nationwide between January and the end of June, compared with 1,183 projects for the first half of last year, the ministry announced on its website. The total value of the projects was billed at $4.94 billion compared with $3.87 billion during the same period one year earlier.
Kim Heang, president of Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, said that while these figures at face value represented the positive movement for the sector, he doubted the report’s accuracy in calculating real capital inflows into the construction sector.
“The figures look good, but I still question if that is real money flowing into the sector or if it is just a number to keep on record,” he said yesterday, adding that some developers inflate the value of their projects far above actual construction costs and land prices.
He noted, for instance, that there are projects that claim to be worth $60 million when in fact the developer only has a $10 million plot of land that needs $20 million to develop.
“If this is the case, the money is not being injected into the sector yet,” he said. “They just own the land and have yet to develop.”
Heang added, however, that he believed that real construction activity is steadily increasing, bringing with it more demand for construction materials and supplies.
Koam Bunna, managing director of K Supply, a distributor of door locks and accessories, said that the increase of condominium and office space projects has pushed up sales by 40 percent for the first half of this year. He added that the government figure was a positive sign for sales for the rest of 2017.
“I have a positive view of the construction sector and I believe the demand for construction materials will remain strong,” he said.
Land Management Ministry officials declined to comment on the ministry’s figures yesterday.