Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government eyeing low-cost housing

Government eyeing low-cost housing

Garment workers sit outside their rented rooms in Phnom Penh. The government yesterday put forward ambitious plans to meet the demand for low-income housing as urban populations skyrocket.
Garment workers sit outside their rented rooms in Phnom Penh. The government yesterday put forward ambitious plans to meet the demand for low-income housing as urban populations skyrocket. Pha Lina

Government eyeing low-cost housing

An estimated 7.9 million people in Cambodia will be living in urban areas by 2030, up from 4.5 million in 2014, with officials at a forum on national housing yesterday announcing ambitious plans to meet the demand for some 55,000 affordable new homes each year.

In 2014, Cambodia adopted a National Housing Policy to promote housing development, and it’s now drafting a policy on affordable housing, which it hopes to adopt by the end of this year, though some observers raised concerns about how those plans will ultimately play out.

“The Ministry of Land Management is paying more attention to seek ways for providing affordable housing for low-income people across the country to have housing with comfort, dignity and safety,” Land Management Minister Chea Sophara said yesterday.

He added that the ministry is working with the Ministry of Economy and Finance to “establish affordable housing prices and incentives on tax and regulation” to encourage the private sector to shoulder the task.

By 2030, Sophara predicted, an estimated 800,000 urban homes will need to be added to the 2015 housing stock to meet the demand of an expected national population of 19 million.

“For Cambodian citizens to own a house, they need to spend a lot of years working,” said Ung Luyna, a member of the Supreme National Economic Council and deputy director of the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Budget.

Affordable housing pertains to low- and middle-income families who wish to own a home, while “social housing” refers to rentals subsidised by the government.

As currently planned, the policy will target people whose salary ranges from $200 to $400 per month, Luyna said.

Prospective homeowners would need to prove that they don’t already own a home, or that their home is affected by a public investment project or is dangerous to live in. They must also have a full-time job.

Land Management Minister Chea Sophara speaks at a housing forum yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Land Management Minister Chea Sophara speaks at a housing forum yesterday in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Whether clients would apply through the government or through private companies has yet to be determined. Tax incentives would be available for companies willing to work on any housing project with units priced from $15,000 to $30,000, he said.

Luyna added that an inter-ministerial group would be established to monitor developments, with a mechanism in place for people to file complaints, he added.

Soeung Saran, executive director of housing rights NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, praised the plan “if it can be implemented accordingly”. “But I think it only benefits the middle class,” he said, noting that to get a loan from a financing agency, families need to have some sort of assets to qualify.

Saran said the government also needs to be careful in making sure it only selects trusted companies to carry out the affordable housing projects.

According to Ly Chanphakdey, director of the Department of Regulation and Housing Cooperation at the Ministry of Land Management, the government already has two ongoing affordable housing projects in Kandal under the National Housing Policy.

One of them consists of 2,297 flats and is being developed by Worldbridge Homes Co Ltd, while the second 5,340-unit project is being carried out by B & BM Development.

For each project, units would sell for less than $30,000 when completed, with owners being offered reduced interest rates, he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to