Thu, 27 February 2014

4-Borei-townBorey River Town, a residential property development around three kilometres northeast of downtown Phnom Penh on National Road 6A has been selling well for the first two months of the year, according to Teng Rithy, the development’s general manager.

Rithy said that the rate of sales of units at Borey River Town is evidence of an increasingly buoyant real estate market.

“Last year we only achieved 50 per cent of our sales target, but between January and mid-February this year we have already achieved 20 per cent of the annual sales target,” said Rithy, who added that better times had arrived.

“We’ve now sold 70 per cent of all the units,” he said.

King villas start from $500,000

King villas start from $500,000. PHOTO SUPPLIED

According to Rithy, sales of units at Borey River Town began to pick up in August last year after a slowdown in the aftermath of the contested results of elections in July 2013.

The first phase of the River Town project covers an area of 1.6 hectares and has a total of just 91 units – a mix of shophouses, stand-alone villas, terraced villas and king villas designed in a mix of Khmer traditional and modern architectural styles.

Rithy said plans for expansion of the property project are currently on the drawing board.

“If families are looking for a home they can do business in, they might be interested in our three and a half storey shophouse options,” he said, adding that they were priced at between $120,000 and $400,000 per unit, with the price depending on the building and location in relationship to the main street.

The king villas are priced from $500,000, but Rithy said that their development was currently in negotiations with clients who were interested in the luxury units.

Borey River Town is a joint venture between three local companies: Hour Hay Investment Group, Teng Lay Investment Group and Digital Advertising.

The joint venture – located about 800 metres from the Chroy Bridge in Chroy Changva commune and nestled alongside the Mekong River – calls the project a perfect residential choice for families who want to live in a pleasant environment not too far from the city.

“The overall concept is to build low-level buildings that are designed in harmony with the riverside setting and are appealing due to the landscaped greenery,” Rithy said.Read Original text

Letting it ride: NagaCorp lifts lid on large-scale expansion

Thu, 27 February 2014

3_After-reporting-close-to-full-occupancy-year-round,-NagaCorp-has-announced-a-major-expansion-of-its-gambling-and-leisure-complex_0NagaCorp recently announced it would invest $369 million in its latest project opposite the Buddhist Institute.

The Hong Kong-listed casino operator’s latest Phnom Penh venture, Naga2,will include a casino, a hotel and a conference hall.

The announcement of the investment by NagaCorp, Cambodia’s biggest casino operator, was made on the company’s website, where it reported that the company had already launched the $369 million project, which is slated to feature between 200 and 300 gambling tables, 500 gambling machines and 50 VIP rooms.

The project will also include a 1,033-room hotel, a conference hall with the capacity to hold 4,000 people, 18,000 square metres of retail space, as well as a spacious park.

According to the announcement, construction at the new project’s work site is proceeding on schedule, and the overall project will be finished by the end of 2015.

The project will feature three components: the so-called TSCLK Integrated Complex, the NagaCity Walk and a tourist park.

The company cites high occupancy rates at its current NagaWorld complex as the reason for its new phase of development, and announced on its website that Naga2 will be connected to NagaWorld, bringing the casino and hotel complex to a new level. NagaCorp reported profits of more than $140 million in 2013, according to Reuters.

The company has yet to provide detailed information about the heights and full scale of the new buildings under construction, but artists’ impressions of the complex on the NagaCorp website show a total of five buildings.

Dith Channa, VMC Real Estate general manager, hailed the new project as a boon to Phnom Penh’s tourism and real estate sectors, attracting further tourists to the Kingdom and in turn stimulating more investment.

“The project has a good location close to the river,” he said.

Meanwhile, president and CEO of VTrust Group Kuy Vat noted that not everybody was in agreement that Phnom Penh needed further development of its gambling industry, even though some gamblers also happened to be keen investors.

Some sections of the population, he said, think gambling brings negative habits with it.Read Original text

Improved infrastructure leads to boom in apartments, condos

Thu, 20 February 2014

5_Mr.Kuy-VatInfrastructure development and new condominium and apartment construction growth are boosting land prices in Toul Tompong and Deoum Thkov communes, and in Chamkarmon district by as much as 30 per cent.

Kuy Vat, president and CEO of Vtrust Group, said that increased land prices in Boeung Keng Kang commune have led to an exodus of buyers to Toul Tompong and Deoum Thkov communes, which are also closer to Phnom Penh than Toul Kork commune, and with the added attraction of more affordable prices. Improved infrastructure in the area is another factor leading to the construction of more apartment and condominium blocks in the communes, despite the fact that the areas are also home to numerous, noisy entertainment venues, such as karaoke clubs, beer gardens and night clubs.

“Land prices in Toul Tompong and Deoum Thkov communes have risen by between 20 and 30 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012,.”Vat said. “The average price in the area now ranges from around $1,800 to $2,000 per square metre. “

He added that apartments and condominiums in both areas were largely grades B and C, but he said fewer foreigners were living in apartments in the areas than in the Beoung Keng Kang area.

According to a VTrust Group report, in Cambodia between 2012 and 2013, 12 condominium blocks were ready for use and another five under the construction, while 220 apartment blocks were in use and 73 under construction.

Dith Channa, the general manager of VMC Real Estate Company, agreed that land prices in both areas increased around 20 per cent at the end of 2013 compared to 2012 and the price would continue going up in 2014 because of the high number of sought-after stores and services in the area, such as Toul Tompong market, NGOs, international schools, banks and supermarkets.

“Toul Tompong and Deoum Thkov communes are more attractive”, because the recent increase in prices for land in Boeung Keng Kang has pushed investors into these two communes, he said.

Plots of land along main roads is going for between $1,000 and $1,500 per square metre. Land prices in the Deoum Thkov area is priced 10 to 15 per cent lower than Toul Tompong.

Po Eavkong, general manager of Asia Real Estate, said that both areas in the future would be good because lots of projects were located in both areas. Also both areas were nearer to the central of Phnom Penh and more attractive than Toul Kork area, while the land price was affordable if compared to Tonle Bassaa and Boeung Keng Kang commune.

He appraised that the average price of the land in Toul Tompong commune was from $1,200 to $1,300 and Deoum Thkov commune was from $800 to $1,000 per square metre.Read Original text

Increased residential, office and retail demand fueling rise in construction imports

Thu, 20 February 2014

2_Increased-demand-in-all-sectors-of-the-property-market-are-pump-priming-both-domestic-and-foreign-investmentCambodia spent more than $414 million on imported construction materials to meet increasing demand in the local construction and property sectors last year – a rise of 7 per cent compared to 2012.

According to officials and industry insiders, the increased value of imports reflected steady growth of the construction and property sectors. They also suggested that the improving numbers were evidence that both local and foreign confidence continued to be high when it came to investing in the property sector, despite some domestic turmoil in the wake of national elections.

The Kingdom’s disputed election results in July of last year have continued to incite protests and some violence, but appear to have had little effect on business confidence or economic growth, which has remained steady.

Ken Ratha, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said the increase in imported construction materials was a sign that the property sector was seeing renewed growth, while the overall construction sector was continuing to move in a positive direction, particularly in the areas of residential property developments in the boreys on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Ratha added that construction companies were making large-scale domestic investments due to increased demand for better housing in the Kingdom.

“Due to residential-sector growth, both local and overseas investors are injecting more capital into the construction sector,” Ratha said.

He added that a corresponding development was the establishment of increasing numbers of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as large-scale enterprises, all of which were boosting the property sector.

“The important thing is that investment in the sector is now shared by both local and foreign companies,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, deputy general director of the Construction Department of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning & Construction Lao Tip Seiha recently told the Post that Cambodia’s strong economy was the major contributing factor in terms of increased investment in the construction sector.

According to government data, the ministry approved 1,641 projects covering a total area of 7.5 million square metres, and a total value of $2.8 billion in 2013, or an increase of 31 per cent year-on-year.

In 2012 1,694 projects were approved, with a total area of 6.5 million square metres and total investment of $2.1 billion.

“Obviously, the construction sector has seen remarkable growth, particularly in Phnom Penh, which has seen a lot of construction of condominiums and apartments, and residential and office space,” Tip Seiha said.

Socheat Yutharo, marketing and sales manager of K Supply, a construction equipment and materials company, said K Supply’s imported products had risen between 25 and 30 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012 due to increased orders from existing customers.

Yutharo added that K Supply experienced a lull in orders during the period of the national elections, but they revived later in the year despite some unrest on the streets and concerns among the local business community.

“Customers put a hold on some of their projects after national elections, but by late 2013 they resumed operations, so K Supply’s products ended up doing well,” he said.Read Original text

Kampot, a frontier on the cusp

Thu, 13 February 2014

Kampot-buildingt’s high season in Kampot, a riverine provincial seat world famous for its pepper. But talk to the expats who have made the town their home and it’s been high season for almost too long.

In fact, according to Neil Bullock, who runs O’Neils, a riverside watering hole popular with tourists and expats alike, business has been consistent for the past seven months, and he worries it might be getting worse.

“I don’t want nine people queued up at the bar ordering drinks,” he says. “I came to Kampot for the peace and quiet.”

Bullock, 60, who has lived in Cambodia for eight years, says he was lured to Kampot by its vibrant but niche-like scene, the pace of life and the ease of doing business – sentiments echoed by other resident foreigners.

According to Stefaan Lambrecht, the Belgian owner of Coastal, a local Kampot and Kep listings magazine, the changes he has seen over seven years have been “drastic”.

Crumbling colonial-era homes and villas are being converted into bars and restaurants

Crumbling colonial-era homes and villas are being converted into bars and restaurants. Post staff

Originally based in Kep, and drawn to Kampot by what he describes as its “more attractive social scene”, Lambrecht says: “When I first arrived in Kep, there were six or seven foreigners, but now there are hundreds. The same is true of Kampot, except on a bigger scale”

That said, despite the influx of foreigners, in property terms, Kampot is at a nascent stage of development. Construction is small-scale, with local Cambodians throwing up new buildings and renting out studio apartments for less than $100 a month. Meanwhile, a handful of foreigners are buying crumbling – often derelict – French colonial-era buildings and either renovating them or rebuilding them.

Chris Connop, a 57-year-old New Zealander with a degree in engineering and a background in horticulture and construction, says he stumbled into his current occupation – restoring and rebuilding Kampot architecture – after building a house for himself on the other side of the river two years ago.

“More and more people dropped by, and then I started to get requests for help,” he says.

Connop is currently restoring an 80-year-old French building.

“The problems are usually to do with bathrooms on the upper floors,” he says. “Water leakages ruin the flooring. A lot of the buildings that are 100 years old or older have to be raised, because they’re structurally unsound.”

According to Connop, foreigners in Kampot are paying on average around $90,000 for a building in a state of disrepair.

“It’s going to cost you around $225 per square metre to rebuild in the style of the original structure, but you have to remember that’s about a 10th of the price of putting up something similar in the West,” he says.

That is the reason Connop believes the current flutter of interest in Kampot property is more than simply a speculative punt.

“Retiring baby-boomers are coming here because Kampot makes it possible to afford to live on your pension and enjoy life,” he says.

Keo Socheah, 33, manager of Blue Star Real Estate Service, agrees.

An English teacher by profession, Socheah went into business in 2009 after fielding a small flood of inquiries from foreigners about how to buy property.

“Today, I get about 10 serious inquiries a week, mostly from retired foreigners who say they’ve fallen in love with the riverside setting and the friendliness of the town.”

Socheah says that in the past most of his clients were looking for old villas and standalone or terraced houses downtown, but more recently there has been a surge of interest in buying land and building homes outside town.

At the same, he admits, it has been an uphill struggle. Leasing property is theoretically the easiest way for foreigners to acquire a soft title on property and land. But lease agreements are at the discretion of commune chiefs, who are more accustomed to the concept of short-term leases.

Old-school rickshaws still bump along the streets of Kampot

Old-school rickshaws still bump along the streets of Kampot. Post staff

“I’m still working on providing 50- to -90-year leases for foreigners, but a lot of the commune chiefs prefer to deal with five-year leases,” he says.

It is a bottleneck that has prompted Socheah to become a property developer himself. His plots of land nudge at the edges of Bokor Mountain View Village, a small but growing community on the other side of the river – and down a rutted dirt road – which Socheah says will be paved by year-end.

So far, 26 foreigners have bought land and built properties, according to Pos Rey Ny, who is married to a local German homeowner in the village. She has built a bar and restaurant and a minimart to cater to the community.

“We have everything we need here, and the locals love it as well because it saves them a trip into town,” she says.

Kampot residents have mixed feelings about their indie act going mainstream.

“I love the size of Kampot, the small scene of expats who want Kampot to stay the way it is, and don’t want it invaded,” says 63-year-old Bob Couttie, a freelance writer from Britain, who stumbled upon Kampot in June of 2012.

“I spent a lot of time once in the south of France, and I remember I was sitting at a Kampot riverside cafe with a glass of pastis, and suddenly I was back there – in France – but with an Oriental flavour,” he says quietly, with a faint air of nostalgic foreboding, as if everything might one day change overnight.Read Original text