Government officials and local real estate experts agree: widening and repaving the capital’s Veng Sreng Boulevard will have a positive impact on the city’s transport network as well as nearby property values.
Phnom Penh municipal government spokesman Long Dimanche told the Post that Veng Sreng will be expanded 22 metres wide, with a green space running down the middle and dividing six lanes of traffic. The planned roadworks will require 14 months to complete and cost $10 million.
The 6.5-kilometre road, which is an important traffic artery in western Phnom Penh connecting Meanchey and Posenchey districts, has fallen into increasing disrepair in recent years. Continue reading
The growing activity in Phnom Penh’s property market, especially in terms of new housing coming online, is driving strong growth in demand for furniture in the city. Ming Wuoy Furniture City is one of the city’s largest suppliers of home furniture. Its original four-storey shop on Street 214 opened in 2005, followed by the opening of its second outlet on Monivong Boulevard. Srun Chheangsreng, general manager of Ming Wuoy Furniture City, sat down with the Post to discuss Ming Wuoy and the current state of the furniture market in Cambodia.
Post: Could you please tell us briefly about your company?
Srun: Ming Wuoy is the first, biggest and most modern home furniture company in Cambodia. Since opening in 2005 we have earned many loyal customers who appreciate the quality of the products we sell. Continue reading
Phnom Penh’s growing importance as a business destination has brought with it many opportunities and infused the market with a growing sense of ambition. Few developments embody this new ambition better than Vattanac Capital Tower, which will throw open its doors this spring.
“Cambodia’s seen nothing like it,” says Neil Brown, property services manager at Vattanac Capital Tower. As we strolled around the nearly finished building in hardhats, I had a chance to see why the building was awarded the best commercial property in Southeast Asia at the South East Asia Property Awards in Singapore last year. Continue reading
The west end of Street 110, also known as Russian Boulevard, is attracting increasing interest from investors and retailers because of its vital role connecting Phnom Penh International Airport with the city centre.
Local real estate experts estimate that land prices along the thoroughfare have risen between 10 and 20 per cent compared with 2012.
VMC Real Estate Cambodia general manager Dith Channa said property along Russian Boulevard has high potential, particularly because of the higher-income local and international traffic channeled through the street. New car showrooms, hotels, supermarkets and large-scale projects such as the $1.1 billion Booyoung Town development have all contributed to the increase in land prices along the street, he said.
Russian Boulevard’s most expensive land is on its east end near the central business district centered around Canadia Bank Tower and Vattanac Capital Tower, which is nearing completion [see page 4].
Land prices from Canadia Bank Tower to the 7 Makara Skybridge are currently running from $1,200 to $900 per square metre. From the 7 Makara Skybridge to the intersection with Hanoi Road, prices vary from $900 to $700. Further west between Hanoi Road and Chom Chav, prices are as low as from $600 to $300.
Land prices may be showing positive growth, but Confederation de la Russie has traffic problems that need addressing, Dith said.
“This road has a lot of potential and is attracting interest from larger companies, but there are some problems at times when VIP visitors take the road and traffic is blocked off,” he said.
Khmer Real Estate Company president Kim Heang gave higher estimates than VMC’s Dith for land prices along Russian Boulevard. Kim put prices from Canadia Bank Tower to 7 Makara Skybridge at $2,000 to $1,500. He estimated prices from 7 Makara Skybridge to Hanoi Road at from $1,500 to $1,000 and from Hanoi Road to Chom Chav at from $800 to $500.
“Land prices along Russian Boulevard increased from 10 to 15 per cent in 2013,” Kim said. “Big companies use this road to advertise due to many people traveling through, that is also why we see new car companies opening there.”
CPL Real Estate Company director and Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association president Cheng Kheng said that the rise in property values along Russian Boulevard was driven by the increase in building projects in the area.
A new CPL report lists prices from Canadia Bank tower at between $2,000 and $1,600 per square metre, while 7 Makara Skybridge to Hanoi Road is at $1,000 to $800 and Hanoi Road to Chom Chav at $660 to $450.
Ratanak Plaza Supermarket general manager Hang Sopisey said Russian Boulevard was a natural choice for the supermarket due to its easily accessible location.
“Being located on Russian Boulevard makes your business highly visible to people who travel to and from the airport – many tourist visitors see us on their way into town,” she said.
What are the biggest misconceptions about purchasing Phnom Penh property as a foreigner?
Bobby Peoples: The biggest misconception is that people believe they can own any apartment in their own name. Its is true that if you buy a modern condominium that has a strata title you can own that in your own name, but for virtually all the other apartments, anything above the second floor, you still need to have, as a foreigner, 49 per cent ownership and 51 per cent under a Cambodian national’s name. That can be set up through using a nominee structure, or using a landholding company but it is important to seek independent legal advice through the likes of DFDL or Sciaroni & Associates. They’ll let you know that in order to thumbprint a vente definitive [transfer document] you need to be a Cambodian national. Currently that law isn’t really being enforced, this is the reason why you’ll meet people that have properties in their own name. Real estate agents will still tell you that you can. Transactions happen on a daily basis with foreigners selling to other foreigners, but in the future, should the Cambodian government begin to enforce that law, those people will be in a very difficult situation. The key thing is to seek independent advice.
Which countries are leading in terms of amount invested and impact on the market?
Peoples: The big countries currently investing in Cambodia are the South Koreans, who have been for probably the longest. They’re buying everything from residential property to commercial to large tracts of land. Also, the Chinese and the Japanese, as well as the Taiwanese. Additionally, many European countries are investing here, but to a lesser extent.
How does FDI in residential property compare with retail or office space?
Peoples: I think that in terms of the greatest amounts of money, it’s certainly within retail and office as well as industrial and agricultural land, but a higher number of transactions happen within residential.
Which parts of town are attracting the most FDI?
Peoples: To the west and the south of the city is where most of the development is going. Every time I drive there I see something new that’s being built. The centre of Phnom Penh is moving west as the city continues to develop. In BKK1 in particular, many villas are being bought and then either renovated or demolished to make way for new apartment buildings.
Chroy Changvar is also being developed quite heavily at the moment. With the introduction of the Chinese bridge over Tonle Sap, this will ease congestion. There will be development of the riverfront at Chroy Changvar as well, maybe not to the same extent, but it will create a similar riverfront across from the Riverside area. Over the next five to 10 years this area will become more developed, in terms of both commercial and residential property. The building of the Bellevue serviced apartments recently has also added to the profile of the area.
When purchasing a property, what are the most important things to consider?
Peoples: As a crude measurement look at the price per square metre and compare it with other properties that are on the market. You obviously want to make sure that you conduct due diligence, which includes checking that the owner is actually the person selling it, or checking if there are any complications with the property involving access or complications with a debt being connected to the property. Parking is also an important consideration. You need to check all those things before you actually commit to buying a property. Doing your homework to make sure that the property is as described is important.
What trends do you see defining the next year or two for foreign investment in Phnom Penh property?
Peoples: I think one of the trends is definitely the building of modern condominiums with strata titles, which now makes it easy for foreigners to invest in Cambodia and own property in their own name. That’s a really big development. The integration of Cambodia into the ASEAN economic community will strengthen investor confidence in the Kingdom.
Increasing sophistication in the market means that Phnom Penh is becoming more diverse culturally, which attracts more people. There’s more big business moving in than in the past, and we’re living in a more multicultural society which by definition draws in more people from other parts of the world to come here.