Organisers couldn't have chosen a worse time to hold Cambodia's first real estate expo, but the property slump that has rocked the Kingdom in recent months didn't deter visitors from flocking to the Hotel Cambodiana last weekend.
In fact, some didn't even know the sector had slowed. "I didn't know that Cambodia real estate was in a downturn," said Build Bright University student Um Horn Darany, 20, originally from Pursat province. "In fact, I felt that the Cambodia property sector was growing well recently."
Ouk Prosh, a stall owner from Olympic market in Phnom Penh, said he had seen many goods expos but never seen one focusing on real estate. "I was surprised when I saw a banner hanging up in front Cambodiana Hotel saying ‘Real Estate Expo 2008',"he said. "I was interested so I stopped my motorbike and came in to take a look."
He added he had heard that property transactions had dropped, but didn't really know why.
A third-year student at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, Sok Sinara, 25, said the expo could boost the real estate sector in Cambodia by providing better information to worried investors. "I know from reading newspapers that Cambodia property is not so good because of the effect of the global financial crisis," the Takeo province native said.
Lon Muniseila, sales and marketing manager at BS Land and Home, said he was disappointed foreign real estate investors did not attend the expo.
"I don't know why they didn't join," he said. "Is it so expensive to pay for a booth? Cambodian real estate agents joined the expo so it was not so much."
Ly Luch, 25, a sales representative for Golden Sun Integrated Resorts 99, a housing development in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, said he sold three condominiums during the expo.
Jean-Benoit Lasselin, business development manager at Cambodia Properties Limited, said he was impressed by the quality of the organisation and the professionalism of the participants. "The Real Estate Expo is now a key event for the real estate business in Cambodia," he said.