It is early days, but with growing disposable income and increased leisure time, Cambodians are learning to relax more. Are they ready for a vacation home?
With Cambodia boasting 28 official public holidays this year – the most of any country in the world – it is hardly surprising that property developers are eyeing a lucrative new market: the vacation home.
Local and foreign investors are already well represented in the condominium and “borey” gated community markets, but the possibilities for further profit have developers looking for opportunities in the countryside.
Some are already well underway.
Hin Socheat, business development manager of A2A Town Cambodian, said his company broke ground on a project boasting some 130 holiday villas in 2015, near Kirirom National Park in the southwest.
Priced at between $44,000 to $135,000 per villa, some 30 percent of the so-called V Kirirom first stage homes have already been sold, mostly to foreigners.
“Our market mostly focuses on Japan as 60 percent of our customers are Japanese and the rest are Cambodians,” said Hin in a telephone interview.
“[But] I think it’s about time local investors thought more seriously about vacation homes as the national GDP is growing.”
Many of the developers entering the market are offering similar gimmicks. New owners can use the property themselves or rent back to the developer to market and sublet. They suggest a minimum return of around 6 percent annually.
Kirirom V sits on about 500 hectares of land near the pristine forest, and the project includes a hotel, restaurants, outdoor public spaces and an undefined Technonolgy Institute. Construction on a golf course will begin soon.
Din Somethearith, meanwhile, is developing a more down-to-earth and back-to-nature project in Kandal province, 28 kms south of the capital, having identified a yearning for Phnom Penh residents to go back to their roots.
Named Phum Pka Trokoun, the 15-hectare development will boast wooden pre-fabricated houses and a distinctively more village feel, with a watch tower, BBQ pits and places for residents to plant their own organic crops.
The project has about 100 vacation homes priced from $20,000 to $30,000, said Din, adding that it was due to be completed before the end of 2019.
Kheang Puthy, vice president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association and the CEO of Sleuk Rith, said he expected the development of the holiday home market to follow that of the booming condominium industry, and urged investors to get in while they could.
“It is a good opportunity. If you wait until more projects emerge, it will be very competitive,” he said.
But like all property investments, Puthy urged those interested to do their research.
“The price range of this type of houses depends on its location, size, quality and appeal,” he said. Investors should focus on areas close to a river or a beach and priced between $50,000 and $200,000.
“Land for these types of project is still not expensive, so if you have the capability it is a good opportunity. If you wait until many emerge, it will be very competitive.”
There is also the opportunity for crossover cooperation between property developers and tourism operators.
“Foreign tourists like staying in this type of resort and vacation home,” said Ho Vandy, an adviser to the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents.
“Local people are also starting to appreciate and love nature more. I think it is about time there were more investment project like this.”