The momentum of Cambodia’s developmental progress is evident in the prosperity and urbanisation of Phnom Penh as well as in a variety of sectors including the economy, business, technology and real estate. Among the 12 districts in Phnom Penh, the 11-square-kilometre Chamkarmon district highlights the spread of mixed apartment complexes.
“There is a wide range of development, infrastructure construction and knowledge of skills. In terms of infrastructure, it is not only high-rise buildings, but the entire development of the country is aimed at all sectors, including the development of bridges, roads, sewage systems, public order, sanitation and environmental protection,” said Bun Sopheak, deputy governor of Khan Chamkarmon.
He pointed out that the difference between urban and rural areas is the living standards of the region. For example, in some rural areas, irrigation can be used for agriculture. In cities, people want to have clear roads, street lights, no traffic jams, no trash in front of homes and no thieves.
According to the national census, more than 200,000 people are living in Chamkarmon district.
“In the 1990s, the road was very quiet. But now, it is bustling. Within the national policy development, this is in accordance with the decentralisation and centralisation policy which has a five year term related to the council elections, which help to develop the district every year,” Sopheak told Post Property.
He added that the district has implemented a clear three-year development program that costs about 5 billion riel [about $1.2 million] per year from Phnom Penh City Hall. The money is spent on salaries, allowances for government officials, council members and investment programs that cover issues such as building restoration and rehabilitation, sewage treatment and new sewage lines.
“In addition to that, our district has been trying to attract development organisations such as World Vision and microfinance institutions to support the people and their living standards,” he said.
The district also works to help people in need and works with other communes and City Hall to solve problems in a timely manner. The district offers has made an effort to make travelling easier, and by the end of the year will have a new sewage system, which was damaged due to heavy rain.
The deputy governor said the main problems in Phnom Penh were traffic jams, sewage problems and garbage disposal. In relation to the garbage issue, he mentioned that they have a contract with a garbage collection company and will work to educate local residents on cleanliness.
“Since 2015, the development of the city’s infrastructure has improved in line with the Decentralisation and Centralisation Policy,” he said. “I think the best way to make it clean is to renovate things annually, but the sewage system is still not 100 percent yet because some of the system was left over from a very long time ago.”
Chamkarmon district is located in the centre of Phnom Penh and is competing with neighboring areas for both foreign and local residents. Boeung Keng Kang I has grown rapidly, with a number of buildings over 30 floors.
“Now I notice the rise of tall buildings in Tuol Tompong,” he said. “For Chamkarmon, there are many state-owned buildings, such as the National Assembly building and other embassies.
“I want people to keep public order in accordance with the district administration and we have to deal with the garbage problem because we have to keep the area clean,” he said.
Sopheak said most of the investment in the area came from China and Korea and they were particularly interested in backing residential projects. Due to the foreign investment, real estate prices in the area have risen to a high of about $4,000 per square metre over the past 10 years.
“I think it is good to have a lot of investors in this area because it is possible for some people living in the area to have the opportunity to sell their real estate at a high price and be able to continue their business,” he said.
Met Measpheakdey, the City Hall spokesman, told Post Property that many areas in the city needed more people and investors to improve themselves.
“In my opinion, all places are the people and investors’ need at all levels, but we see that in four specific districts, Chamkarmon, Daun Penh, 7 Makara and Tuol Kork, have the potential for high-rise apartment buildings and commercial buildings,” he said.
The development sector, he added, is not all about erecting high-rise buildings but focusing on the need for residential housing in urban and suburban areas.
Kim Heang, CEO of Khmer Real Estate, said Chamkarmon district is located in the heart of Phnom Penh and is one of the city’s priciest locations. Most apartments and condos in Phnom Penh are in Tonle Bassac, Boeung Keng Kang I, II, and III communes.
Multiple structures were built in 2010 and a number of condos were built in 2013. The hotel market has stabilised and shops as well as markets are moving in to the area.
“The investors from China handle construction companies, the condo developers are from Taiwan, Singapore and Korea. Investors from Japan and Thailand focus on shopping malls, however local investors are leading investment in Boreys and more,” Heang said.
The price of land in the area is not very expensive, but sellers are asking for 20 to 50 percent more than the market price for certain properties. The average land price in Chamkarmon district is between $2,000 and $6,000 per square metre.
“I have lived here since 1980 and it had no high-rise buildings then. But today, there are many buildings that are built and developed in the Chamkarmon area,” said Seng Mom, a resident of the district.
Despite the high price of land, she has no plans to sell her home because she and her family have a successful business and would like to keep it there.
According to Sorn Seap, CEO of Key Real Estate, Boeung Keng Kang is the core of Chamkarmon district, which is already significantly developed and is attracting more and more investment.
“I think the area is still good for the real estate sector and for residential properties as well as offices, restaurants and businesses. The investors are Cambodian, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean and Singaporean,” he said.
Seap said Chamkarmon and Daun Penh districts have been popular since the 1990s and there has been a lot of demand for rental properties. The prices range from $2,500 per square metre to $3,000 per square metre. Over the next ten years, some districts, such as 7 Makara and Tuol Kork, will start marketing villas, markets and hospitals in the area.
The development of supermarkets and Boreys has spread to Tuol Kork, Sen Sok, Chbar Ampov, Boeung Tumpun, National Road 3 and 4 as people continue to move into and around the city.
“As people come to the city, it is definitely going to be difficult because of traffic congestion, gasoline supply. Relevant authorities should arrange for improvements in infrastructure as more people move here,” he said.
Development and administrative budgets for each commune hover around $10,000 and $5,000 respectively, representing about 3 percent of the overall budget of the country.