Colonial house prices slump in recent years

Colonial house prices slump in recent years

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French colonial homes in Phnom Penh along Norodom Blvd.

The prices of French colonial homes in Phnom Penh’s most sought after locations have fallen by 22 to 33 per cent near the Royal Palace and along Norodom Boulevard respectively, insiders told the Post this week.

Colonial house prices, on average, have decreased by US$1,000 per square metre from the first quarter of 2008 to the end of 2011, a report from Bonna Reality Group showed.

Despite the drop, French colonial properties generally retain a higher market value due to the higher initial construction quality and the art-deco interiors favoured by Cambodian and foreign nationals alike, according to Chrek Soknim, vice president of V Trust Real Estate.

“It makes them easier to rent out compared to modern houses of the same price.”

Sung Bonna, president and CEO of Bonna Realty Group said that 90 per cent of foreigners make up the French colonial rental market and that the cost of rent is dependent on location and aesthetics, not size.

“Most of these properties remain in the Daun Pehn and Chamkarmon districts”  Rental prices for these early 20th century homes hover around $3,000 to $4,000 per month compared to modern, western-styled homes, which attract about $1500 to $2000 per month, said Chrek Soknim.

Eang Kim Ieng, president of Cambodia Association Travel Agents wants to see equal market value between traditional, Western-style and French era houses.

“The traditional style of these buildings attracts tourists who could potentially invest in these properties, however, they usually require expensive renovations,” he said, adding that more effort should be made to preserve the colonial-era architecture.  

Cambodia’s property market hasn’t yet escaped the effect of the financial downturn. And due to the difficulty in gaining government permission to restore and preserve the in-vogue heritage homes, it’s probable their value will reflect the global market until it recovers.

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