The value of approved construction projects skyrocketed 47 per cent year-on-year to $1.996 billion in the first two months of this year, fuelled mainly by the housing development sector, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said earlier this week.
It said the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction issued construction permits to 728 projects in the first two months – up 28.1 per cent from 568 in the year-ago period – covering a total of 4.2 million square metres, up 34 per cent year-on-year.
Huy Vanna, secretary-general of advisory firm Housing Development Association of Cambodia, told The Post on Wednesday that there had been a rise in both new and existing home construction activity during the period.
Investors and stakeholders reported no concerns or issues with funding or the supply of construction materials, he said.
“Early this year, both grounded residential construction projects and other major projects were very active and moving forward,” said Vanna.
However, he noted that the situation has been steadily changing as the Covid-19 pandemic tightens its grip across the world.
When asked about the outlook for the sector for the rest of the year, Vanna said: “I have not yet formed my hypothesis on how the Cambodian construction sector will develop this year. It depends on how long the disease persists.”
Cambodia Constructors Association general manager and secretary Chiv Sivpheng could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
However, he told The Post last week that the sector had seen good momentum despite the pandemic, both in Phnom Penh and the provinces.
However, the recent confirmation of Covid-19 cases has thrown a wrench into project schedules, he said. “At the beginning of the year, before the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease, the construction sector in Cambodia showed gradual acceleration.”
Last month, land ministry spokesman Seng Lot said the sector grew in the first two months, both in terms of investment capital and the number of construction permit applications filed at the ministry.
“As of the end of February, we have not seen any slowdown in the construction sector in Cambodia. Instead, the number of construction projects proposed is increasing and investment capital has nearly doubled,” said Lot.
It remains unclear what impact the outbreak would have on the sector from March onward, he said, adding that a team of experts under the ministry were cautiously waiting to further assess the situation.
He noted that the foreign nationals currently investing in the sector hail from 18 countries, led by the Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese.
The total investment in the Kingdom’s construction sector reached $11.43 billion last year, up 98.74 per cent compared to 2018’s $5.31 billion, said a land ministry report.