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Experts optimistic on property sector in 2018

Green and blue mesh cover buildings under construction in Phnom Penh.
Green and blue mesh cover buildings under construction in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Experts optimistic on property sector in 2018

Experts and investors in the property sector are optimistic about the growth of the Kingdom’s real estate market in 2018 and have expressed confidence in the sector’s viability.

According to Ann Sothida, country director of CBRE Cambodia, an additional 13,000 condo units are expected to enter the market in 2018, which will attract new investment and enlarge the local rental market. Office lease demand remains healthy, with B-grade and C-grade buildings in high demand. The retail sector is also doing well, with two international shopping malls scheduled to open their doors this year.

“I think FDI flows are still stable, not plummeting, and this market is absorbing a lot of interest, helping to make the buying and selling of houses and boreys [gated communities] more profitable,” she said. “Boreys now have reasonable prices and the buying trend is still doing very well as boreys focus on local buyers.”

Grace Rachny Fong, executive president of Century21 Cambodia, said the real estate market has not changed since 2017. Two large projects will be launched this year that will solidify the market, she added, without naming the projects.

“Looking at FDI flow, I think it is stagnant and may represent a slight decrease, since investors from Europe have shown concerns,” she said. “However, investors from Asia are still coming here.”

Chrek Soknim, CEO of Century21 Mekong, said 2018 could prove difficult due to the upcoming national election and real estate prices having already peaked. He said it was unlikely that prices would rise beyond their current levels.

“Land prices will not drop, but it’s hard to sell land because the number of buyers is not increasing much,” Soknim said. “Even if prices drop they will not fall as much as they did in 2008 because in 2018 investors are using loans from banks. After 2008, investors focused on buying using cash.”

“The condo market is not at risk,” he added. “The amount of locals buying condo units has increased by 5 percent if we look at the total purchase and sales figures.”

Kim Heang, president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, said he expects the price of land to change because in the last few years sellers have been able to set their own prices. Now, buyers are dictating the prices.

“The housing market is still doing well, but reasonably priced houses are in high demand,” he said.

Ly Hour, president of the Housing Development Association of Cambodia, said investment in the construction and real estate sector remained steady. Affordable housing is still in demand and the sector will continue to attract both local and international investors.

“Everything is still doing well this year, from local investors to the influx of international investors,” he said, adding that Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Singaporean investors are still coming to Cambodia.

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