The current generation of Cambodians are the first to move out of shop houses and stilted village properties. They’re moving into condos and apartments in the capital and elsewhere in ever larger numbers. Post Property visited some recent buyers to find out how they like their new life.
However, seasoned observers of the property sector in Cambodia say the number of Cambodian nationals buying condo units has started to rise significantly. For the first time, many people are experiencing the lifestyle that is condo living, right in the heart of Cambodia’s 500 year-old capital.
Tan Kimlean, aged 70, and her husband, Po Ouv, aged 77, are currently enjoying these comforts in Casa Condo, a brand new building constructed right in the middle of Koh Pich, on the Chaktomuk Delta. Kimlean said, “Life in Casa Condo is very comfortable. We’ve never had such a great living space before.
“This place has a lovely and fresh atmosphere. It is a brand new building with a pleasant public space, and a spacious parking area. Casa provides great services. [The staff] informed us that if we have any difficulties at all, they will help us.”
One thing buyers note is the extra sense of security that living in a decent condo provides. There are no garden walls for thieves to climb over, nor rotting windows for them to force. Kimlean said that Casa Condo’s security helps ensure the safety and security of residents. “Right at dusk, when we go to exercise at 5 p.m., there’s always someone to help us. Security guards are constantly seen patrolling the area, which gives us a sense of reassurance,” she commented.
Kimlean’s husband was a government official during the Sangkum era, before the 1970s in Pailin. Kimlean herself ran away to a refugee camp in Thailand in 1975, before migrating to the United States later that year. All of her children now have jobs and own their own homes. Kimlean and her husband also own property in the United States. She continued, “Due to the nice atmosphere and the great services provided in Casa, we’ve become really content here. The people working here are easy to approach and very friendly. They care about us, as well as the other unit owners.”
Before purchasing an apartment from Casa Condo, Kimlean owned a villa near Pochentong. She had previously purchased units from Condo Rose. “All of our units in Condo Rose have already been sold back to the owners. The units there are very small, and even the parking lot is constricted,” said Kimlean.
On Casa Condo’s 21st floor, a young man named Vutha Lionel occupies a 110 square metre unit. He moved into the condo in August. His apartment is comfortable and looks lived-in, with everyday household items scattered on tables and shelves. Lionel’s living room has a long sofa, and the wall is adorned with a painting of Bayon Temple. The lights weren’t needed in the room as huge glass windows bathed the condo in natural light.
Lionel said, “I was born and raised in the same traditional household as everybody else. However, when I took a course at a French institution, I was introduced to apartment living. When I finally saved up some money, with the encouragement from my family advocating for my independence, I decided to buy this condo.
“For me there has been a lot of changes, mostly because I was used to living with many family members under a single, boisterous roof. I had a small room and I was responsible for helping a lot with house work. Now, my room is spacious and I don’t have a lot of stuff lying around. The atmosphere is great and the view is majestic. Just looking from my bed, I can see all of Phnom Penh. I can even see mountain ranges, which makes me very happy. It opens up our minds when we can take in the grand scope of things. It makes us think further regarding what the future holds.”
Having worked for many years for real estate agents Century 21 in Cambodia, Lionel recognizes the potential of the Cambodian construction industry, and his perspective resonates with the views of Kimlean. He stated, “In the future, we will not be able to get this standard of Condo for the same amount of money. Even if we sell it back, we won’t suffer any losses because the company is not afraid to buy the space back at its original price.”
Lionel stressed, “This location is very convenient for a company employee such as me due to its proximity to my workplace, the nearby shopping centres such as Aeon Mall, great restaurants, and many gathering spots. And there will be even more amenities in the near future.”
Another unit owner in Condo Casa is Roth, who resides on the 27th floor. The 30-year-old woman, who works at a private firm, decided to experience a new lifestyle by purchasing in a condo. “The most favourable option for me is to not live very far from the city centre. This condominium makes it easy for me to go back and forth between my work place and home. As a bonus, it’s close to many shopping malls and large stores.
“They (the condo investors) also provide many additional services, such as a gym, a pool, a playground, a spacious parking lot, great cleaning services, and most importantly, management for personal safety and home security,” said Roth. “When I come home from a stressful workday, as soon as I enter my unit, open the windows and see the view overlooking the city, I feel relieved and less stressed. The dark cloud is lifted by the freshness that surrounds me – this is the happy life that we’re enjoying in modern condos.”