Real estate ‘still boasts potential’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
High-rise construction is on the rise in Phnom Penh. Hean Rangsey

Although economic risks from the Covid-19 crisis linger, Cambodian real estate still offers a wealth of potential, as well as reasonably low prices for investments, especially in a handful of key localities marked by burgeoning interest and a gradual pickup in investment activity, according to Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth.

The minister was speaking at opening of the virtual 23rd ASEAN Valuers Association (AVA) Congress, which was hosted by Cambodia on November 25.

He said Covid-19 not only precipitated a public health crisis, but also had severe implications for socio-economic processes in all sectors and nations.

However, the Kingdom has been working hard to make adjustments to living and business environments in the context of the pandemic, he added.

“Although Cambodia is grappling with Covid-19 and is continuing to adapt to the ‘new normal’, the country’s real estate sector still has high potential and reasonable low prices for investment compared to neighbouring countries,” Pornmoniroth said.

He highlighted a number of regions for their real estate investment potential, including Phnom Penh and the surrounding Kandal province, where a new airport and other major development projects are planned.

Preah Sihanouk province is set to be transformed into a Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone, and Siem Reap province boasts historical tourist spots, he said.

Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town on the Vietnamese border and Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town on the Thai frontier were also areas of interest, he noted.

The minister urged local real estate appraisers and other operators and participants at the congress to ramp up cooperation and dialogue on emerging challenges and opportunities that could lead to the development of an industry standard for all AVA members.

“The congress should look at the challenges and opportunities to jointly explore new and better measures to improve the service environment in the real estate market in each country and in the region. This is an indispensable common prerequisite for promoting economic and social development,” Pornmoniroth said.

Chrek Soknim, president of AVA member Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), who chaired the event, affirmed that Covid had a devastating effect on Cambodia’s real estate sector.

However, he noted that the market was expected to recover as coronavirus vaccination rates rise and the Cambodian economy begins to reopen. “I am very optimistic about real estate market opportunities in Cambodia.”

The minister said the Cambodian real estate sector is projected to grow at a relatively slow rate of 2.4 per cent this year and 4.8 per cent in 2022, driven by a steady increase in foreign investment inflows.

He added that domestic investment and demand in the affordable and mid-priced market segments would remain on a sound growth trajectory.