Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wait-and-see owners fuel an already fickle market

Wait-and-see owners fuel an already fickle market

Wait-and-see owners fuel an already fickle market

WITH an abundance of properties on the market as a result of the construction boom, you would think that it would be a true buyer’s market in Siem Reap, but the market does not always function according to the usual rules.

The roads in and out of Siem Reap are a testament to the massive expansion the town has seen in the last few years.

Bruno L’Hoste has lived in Cambodia since 1995. He first arrived here as a photographer based in Phnom Penh, then moved to Siem Reap, and in 2003 established the acclaimed Tigre de Papier, one of the first restaurants on Pub Street and still thriving today.

He has witnessed and experienced the different phases Siem Reap has gone through.

“The real estate boom in Siem Reap really began with UNTAC.Then you could build a big 4-6 bedroom villa for US$50,000 to $60,000. When you had all these guys coming into town with huge salaries, who didn’t care what they were paying, the owners of the villas were asking for huge rents for their properties, up to $6,000, and a year in advance, and they were getting it,” said L’Hoste.

“They were then using that money to build another villa and renting that out, and so on. It was crazy because there were too many people with too much money. Today those villas are still there, but now they rent for $1,200 to $1,300.”

However, there is not much of a market for them, says Vong Thinonn, of Cambodia Angkor Real Estate. The properties that rent out quickly now are those at $400 to $500.

“The market is very strange”, says L’Hoste. He points to a photo for one villa he has just succeeded in renting out.

“It took more than three months to rent that out”, he says of a three-bedroom villa on the outskirts of town that went for $1,300, while slightly further out, however, it’s possible to rent five-bedroom villas with gardens for less than $500. In town, it’s even possible to rent a 16-bedroom guesthouse for $1,500 per month.

Having seen the high returns they could get at the height of the boom in 2008, owners are extremely reluctant to adjust their prices to prevailing market forces.

“They would rather see the property go empty for two or three years than drop their prices. This is a problem for the owners, too, because we’re in the tropics, the concrete deteriorates and everything goes bad,” L’Hoste said.

A good example of the glut in shop-house developments in Siem Reap is the Charming Tourist City on the road towards Angkor Wat. Construction on this mini-complex started more than two years ago, and today there must be almost 200 units, more than two-thirds of which appear to be empty, with printed “To Let” signs on their windows.

This complex alone and many others like it should have led to a significant drop in rental prices in Siem Reap but it hasn’t. Normal market forces don’t operate in the face of owners’ pride.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to