The Cambodian government has announced its first ever affordable housing project, which observers yesterday said will address a large and growing demand for low- and middle-income housing a need the government has been “quite slow” in meeting.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held on the southern side of Phnom Penh on Saturday. Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara said he was busy and couldn’t answer questions yesterday, and a spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment.
However, Sear Rithy, chairman of the WorldBridge Group, said his company has been working with the government on the project, and will invest in the land and in the construction of the 2,292 affordable housing units for government retirees and low-income Cambodians.
The company bought the land last year, which covers 45 hectares, although the first phase of the project will only consist of 20 hectares.
WorldBridge will subcontract with De Habitat Builder, a company which has experience in building affordable housing in other countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, he said.
The units will be completed in two years, and will cost between $25,000 and $30,000 each, he said. Potential buyers must make $500 or less per month and will be eligible for low-interest rates on bank loans. “In Cambodia, we have a lot of low-income people,” Rithy said. “The demand is very high.”
Piotr Sasin, country director of People In Need, said there has been an unaddressed need for affordable housing, especially as Phnom Penh has been expanding. He said most people moving to the capital are migrating from rural areas and can’t afford high housing prices.
“The Cambodian government has been quite slow,” he said. But, he added, “They are starting to [act]. I think we need to give the Cambodian government the benefit of the doubt.”