Construction investment in first half towers over $3.8B

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Between 2000 and last month, the ministry approved 50,968 construction projects. Hean Rangsey

Capital investment in the construction sector climbed 13.26 per cent year-on-year to more than $3.84 billion in the first half of this year, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction said in a report.

It said it received 2,522 applications for construction projects during the period, up 475 or 23.20 per cent from the 2,047 received in the first half of last year.

Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA) president Chrek Soknim told The Post on Tuesday that the sector saw strong growth in capital investment, which he said reflects the progress in the development of the Kingdom’s construction and real estate industry.

“This is positive indication that there are scores of people interested in investing in our country, but are the projects actually being delivered or not?” he said.

Huy Vanna, secretary-general of advisory firm Housing Development Association of Cambodia, said the pandemic coupled with an online gambling ban that went into effect on January 1 considerably stifled construction activity and housing sales in the first half notwithstanding the mounting capital investment.

He said around 68 per cent of high-rise condominium projects were suspended during the period, while the remainder experienced delays.

“Evidently, construction investment indeed grew during the period, buoyed by existing investment proposals, and it continues to grow now. But the momentum of construction and sales has been trending lower,” said Vanna.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said via Facebook on June 30 that the Kingdom’s real estate sector is performing well as usual, noting that the Covid-19 crisis has slowed down home sales activity.

He said the pandemic has hit swathes of the Kingdom’s economy but local businesspeople remain as active in their professions as ever.

Although homes may not be selling as well as they did prior to the outbreak, shophouse sales have experienced regular bursts of growth, he said.

“The home-buying business is still up and running, it’s just not as strong as it used to be. But on the other hand, shophouses appear to be all the rage now,” said the Prime Minister.

Between 2000 and last month, the ministry approved 50,968 construction projects, worth $56,961,393,522, it said in its report.

During the period, 2,830 consultancy services, building design and construction companies registered. But, it said, only 1,241 still hold valid licences.

Between 2005 and last month, there where 1,945 projects at least five storeys tall, of which 114 were 30-39 storeys tall and 46 were over 40 storeys tall.