Phou Puy is a towering figure in Battambang province. A prominent businessman, he heads the provincial chamber of commerce, operates some of the country’s biggest rice mills, and chairs the firm behind the rice paddy bank. But he is also a developer, with several small projects under his belt and more in the pipeline.
His latest, a borey (gated residential community) on 20 hectares near the centre of Battambang town, aims to satisfy the growing demand for quality housing among Battambang’s emerging middle class.
Located in Ochar commune just off National Road 5, construction on Borey Phou Puy broke ground late last year. The project will be carried out in stages. Puy declined to say how many units would be constructed, only that each stage would see houses built “according to the demand of buyers”.
“This project focuses on the houses for average-income customers as each house is priced between $34,000 and $60,000,” he said, adding that improving incomes in the provincial capital have fuelled demand for affordably priced homes.
The new borey occupies land adjacent to Puy’s first project in Battambang, a multistorey market building that fronts National Road 5 and will serve the borey’s residents, as well as traffic along the busy highway. The linkage of these two projects would appear to follow a model Puy first hashed out in Pursat province, where he is developing a two-storey shopping mall and borey on 30 hectares of land, also fronting National Road 5.
National Road 5 is an economic artery for Cambodia’s northwestern provinces, serving both domestic and cross-border traffic.
The region is also expected to see rapid economic growth with the resumption of commercial and passenger rail service on the 385-kilometre Northern Line that runs between Phnom Penh and Poipet via Battambang. Passenger services resumed on a rehabilitated 48-kilometre section of the line between Sisophon and Poipet earlier this month. Work is underway to complete the repairs on the rest of the line, which was abandoned for decades after sustaining heavy damage during Cambodia’s civil war and Khmer Rouge period.
Grace Rachny Fong, CEO of real estate firm Century 21 Cambodia, said Battambang stands out among the other northwestern provinces in its strong potential for growth, thanks in part to its high population density. She said the province is developing rapidly and the expansion of commercial activity is driving the local residential market.
“The commercial trend in this province is getting a lot better, and there are many residential projects being developed as well,” she said, adding that several borey projects have already broken ground.
Borey developments in Battambang city currently under construction include Reaksmey Battambang and Borey Rum Chek.
According to Fong, prices on commercial real estate in the city increased by an average to 5 to 10 percent in the first quarter of 2018, compared to a year earlier. Land in the city’s central commercial zone is currently selling for between $1,500 and $2,000 per square metre, while land in the outerlying residential areas ranges from $70 to $125 per square metre.