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‘Rental prices in Sihanoukville at highest rate’

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A construction building constructed in Sihanoukville earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

‘Rental prices in Sihanoukville at highest rate’

Property rental in Sihanoukville, which has been skyrocketing due to the influx of Chinese investors, may fall in the next few years when major construction projects are completed, say real estate insiders.

Most houses, guesthouses, restaurants and hotels in the city’s main locations have been leased to the Chinese.

Two or three years ago, the rental was between $500 and $1,000 per month. Now, owners get $5,000 to $7000 per month, if they rent to Chinese nationals.

Khmer Foundation Appraisals president and CEO Noun Rithy said the increase of Chinese investors and residents made real estate prices in Sihanoukville rise faster than expected.

However, he said, in the next two or three years rental is unlikely to be as high as it is now, even if the number of Chinese remains the same.

“The construction of big buildings takes two to three years, so there will be lots of supply by then, and rental will not be so high anymore,” he said.

However, Rithy stressed that when supplies slow down or construction work is not completed on time, rental prices will be affected upwards.

The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casinos and hotel projects.

Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment in the country, has seen huge leaps in the manufacturing, tourism and gambling industries.

Lucky Realty Co Ltd CEO Dith Channa sees a similar trend. “I think rent will continue to increase at least for another three years,” he said.

However, he said, Sihanoukville will continue to receive more investors, causing rental to increase for a long time to come. “For now, it seems too early to evaluate the evolution of the property market in Sihanoukville,” he said.

Channa said generally, the real estate sector in Preah Sihanouk will have higher potential in the future because of many development projects such as deepwater ports, airports, special economic zones and a plan for a highway to Phnom Penh.

Besides, Cambodia, he said, was politically stable.

Meas Vichet, who rents his coffee shop near Phsar Leu to Chinese nationals said they pay him $2,500 a month whereas before he used to get $500.

“Since the Chinese pay high rental, I leased my shop to them,” he said, adding that it was a better alternative to running his own business as the Chinese preferred using their own services.

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