Cambodian Real Estate Market Challenges, with Kim Heang on

Every industry has its stories of successes and shortcomings. The real estate and property investment industry in Cambodia has certainly had lots of those – and has developed a lot alongside its victories and it’s rising from past failures.

This is the same reason why it is regarded as the rising tiger of Asia: Strong in its approach and wiser with each controversy and distress, the property and land markets have seen significant growth in the past years.

But there remains challenges that it must overcome to reach its maximum potential.

In a speech for fellow professionals and enthusiasts in the Real Estate Market & Outlook Conference (REMOC) 2016, president of CVEA and CEO of Khmer Real Estate, Mr. Kim Heang, addresses some of the challenges for the land, condo, borey, factory and warehouse markets.

Should Foreigners Be Allowed to Buy Land in Cambodia?

He states that Cambodia is fortunate enough to have laws and policies in place that restrict foreigners from buying land. Unlike countries that do not, Cambodia is reaping the benefits of this policy through stable investment opportunities for locals. Heang explains that if foreigners are allowed to buy properties in Phnom Penh, the whole of Phnom Penh would soon become a giant Chinatown, since the Chinese represent the largest population of investors right now in the area.

He adds, “I don’t want to be the last Cambodian to live in Cambodia.”

But even if laws to allow foreigners to purchase land may be possible in the future, Heang clarifies that now is not the right time for that.

Where to Invest Now?

Heang suggests that if you are looking to buy land for investment returns right now, buy from areas like BKK1 that have 25 years of reliable investment history and established amenities like hospitals, schools, market places and offices. This area is perfect for buyers looking for residential spaces.

But if you’re willing to wait and place your money for longer and for a bigger return, and plan on doing resale in the next five years, properties in areas like Toul Kork might show better potential for that purpose. He also mentions it is cheaper to invest in condominiums being built in Toul Kork now, because more established areas like BKK1 are heavily influenced by the very high land prices.

Heang adds that people looking for investment returns in the next ten years would be best to buy properties outside Phnom Penh itself, in the outer districts, or up to 15 to 20 km away from it.

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