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Property & Accommodation in Cambodia

The city skylines in Cambodia are constantly evolving as new developments change the face of the capital Phnom Penh, as well as the other major urban hubs such as Sihanoukville and Siem Reap. 

New business and residential projects are bringing with them a high-end range of accommodation dwellings, setting the pace for future property developments.

We take a look at the commercial and residential developments that are transforming Cambodia as well as find out the best way to find the perfect place to live or premises for your business. With property laws now meaning foreigners can snap up certain premises above the first floor, foreign investment in this arena is also growing.

If you can’t find your answer here, just ask us at B2B and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Updated July 2020.

Phnom Penh Properties

  • According to real estate giant CBRE, investment into the Cambodian construction sector during 2019 was worth a total of USD $9.3 billion spread across 4,446 approved investment projects.
  • According to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) into the Cambodian real estate sector in 2019 was valued at over $437.3 million.
  • Foreigners currently investing in the Cambodian property sector in 2020 come from 18 countries, the majority being Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese.
  • The Annual Banking Supervision Report 2019 said more than 97% of banks were offering credit to real estate in Cambodia.
  • In the first two months of 2020, the total value of the projects was valued at $1.996 billion in Cambodia with 728 projects approved.
  • A new Cambodian Law on Construction for the Kingdom was passed in October 2019 with a focus on construction safety.
  • A majority of the investments are residential and commercial property projects. According to CBRE, in Q4 2019, the condominium sector had 27 new project launches and 11 completions, adding 16,500 units and 3,800 units respectively.
  • These projects are getting bigger in scale. Affordable housing projects, condominiums, hotels, lifestyle malls and office buildings are the trend.
  • Many of these residential units are bought by wealthy Cambodians or foreigners, primarily as investment properties to either flip or rent out.
  • Condos that are selling well are those built by regional developers from Taiwan, Singapore, China, Japan and South Korea. They primarily market in their home countries, where buyers snap up apartments as investment properties.
  • Boreys—gated communities—are rife in outer districts of the city, such as Russei Keo, Toul Kork and Sen Sok, where land is more affordable and space more plentiful but they are experiencing abundant development.
  • A lack of unoccupied land plots coupled with historically high prices in central districts has caused developers to consider secondary locations. 
  • Local and regional brands are taking an interest in Phnom Penh’s grocery sector. AEON opened its first premium stand-alone supermarket under the brand of AEON Maxvalu and has expanded its stores. 
  • The Grand Phnom Penh City is a satellite town under development located 7 kilometres north-west of Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh, in Sen Sok district’s Khmuonh commune. The area of the project covers 260ha.
  • Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp has released plans of its proposed Naga 3 expansion in Phnom Penh.
  • Chip Mong Retail has also branched out between 2019-2020 and the giant Cambodian group has been building retail and mega malls in Phnom Penh.
  • AEON’s has started construction of its third shopping centre in Phnom Penh in 2020 which will be the biggest yet.
  • In recent years more than a dozen malls have opened in Phnom Penh, including Aeon Mall 2, The Park, Chip Mong Noro Mall, Prince Plaza Mall, Eden Garden, and Olympia Plaza Mall.
  • The Phnom Penh Hotel Market Update 2020 reports there are 313 hotels with 19,337 keys and 523 guest houses in Phnom Penh in 2020.
  • The expansion of Phnom Penh’s middle class acts as a key driver to the trend of international brands entering the retail scene. Sustained demand, principally from Food & Beverage and Fashion & Entertainment retailers are set to continue.
  • The traditionally expat-heavy area of BKK1 is being increasingly inundated with luxury residential developments with villas becoming sparse in the area.
  • Khan Boeung Keng Kang (BKK) remains the top spot for serviced apartments by the end of 2019, according to a report by Knight Frank Cambodia.
  • Previously villas were a popular option for families however many of these have either been demolished and the land sold or converted into boutique hotels or restaurants.
  • Across Phnom Penh, the serviced apartment market continues to expand quickly.
  • According to Realestate.com.kh, as more projects continue to be launched, tenanted properties, landlords, and related stakeholders will be expected to provide increasingly competitive pricing and flexibility in terms of tenant requirements.
  • The serviced apartments with 100 per cent occupancy are those that provide the highest quality services and living standards.
  • When new, high-quality residential or commercial space becomes available, whether it’s condos or retail space, there are people who want to occupy these new offerings, as they have previously not existed.
  • Other popular areas include Russian Market, Sen Sok and south of the city.
  • These locations are very close to central Phnom Penh yet property remains more affordable.
  • In addition, growing congestion and a lack of parking in the city centre is increasingly problematic.
  • A lack of unoccupied land plots coupled with historically high prices in central districts has caused developers to consider secondary locations.  
  • CBRE forecasts supplies of condominium units in 2020 to be divided into High-End at 24%, Mid-Range at 46%, and Affordable at 30%. The shift towards affordable units is cited to be due to the healthy demand among Cambodian buyers.
  • Tonle Bassac, BKK3 and Wat Phnom are also becoming increasingly popular with foreigners for similar reasons.
  • The Daun Penh and 7 Maraka districts are also seeing a huge amount of development.
  • Toul Kork is proving a popular option with wealthy Khmer families and is home to a number of spacious villas and several new condominium blocks.
  • Especially in outlying areas of the city such as Toul Kork and Sen Sok, there has been a rise in gated community developments (and boreys) offering an alternative to the traditional villa.
  • Chroy Changvar is also seeing rapid development. The introduction of the Chinese bridge over the Tonle Sap increased the number of lanes from two to six, which should ease congestion and boost the potential clientele of businesses located on the other side of the river.
  • New bridges and underground roads, as well as overpasses, are constantly being assessed to help ease the congestions and make the city better connected.
  • Chip Mong Retail has confirmed its biggest mall to date, the Chip Mong 271 Mega Mall, is due to be ready by 2022 and is expected to be 150,000 square meters over five floors.
  • AEON 3 is also underway and is planned to be a five-story shopping centre over 170,000 square meters, the largest of the three AEON Malls in Cambodia.
  • The Phnom Penh Megamall is being developed on Russian Boulevard in central Phnom Penh and has a total floor area of 47,000 sqm. Lt will be used as a mixed-commercial centre and is due in 2020.
  • The new mega malls will target Cambodia’s middle-class and higher-end consumers, but will also continue to cater to everyday shoppers, with a variety of international clothing and food and beverage brands.
  • Many smaller urban malls have also popped up in the major Cambodian cities, built to a high standard and offer F&B, cinema, and other retail outlets.
  • When a new high-quality space becomes available, retailers previously uninterested in coming to Cambodia become interested, as there are viable spaces for them to locate their brand.
  • Corners offer at least six to eight parking spaces. Parking is a real issue as more vehicles get on the road and more people move into popular areas.
  • Local and regional brands are taking an interest in Phnom Penh’s grocery sector. There are now half a dozen grocery chains including AEON, Chip Mong Supermarkets, Super Duper, Thai Hout, Bayon and Lucky Supermarkets across Cambodia.
  • Makro also opened its first outlet in Cambodia at the end of 2017 in Sen Sok district in the capital.
  • According to research conducted by CBRE, the top occupiers of shopping malls in Phnom Penh are Fashion & Accessories, Food & Beverages and Entertainment.

Sihanoukville Properties

  • Between 2017-2020 construction project investment was valued at more than $7 billion in Sihanoukville, with approximately 1,355 construction projects approved, occupying 13,107,209 square meters.
  • Land values, rents and condominium sales prices have skyrocketed during a three-year period due to the surging demand and massive development of the city.
  • C9 Hotelworks’ Sihanoukville Tourism & Property Market Update 2020 said by the end of 2019 there are 3,296 hotel keys in Sihanoukville, ranging from midscale to the upscale tier, with most properties boasting large room stock that caters to groups.
  • Key projects include a total of 18 developments, representing 30,549 condominium units with six mixed-use properties also having hotels, shopping malls and office buildings, said the report.

Business Properties in Cambodia

  • There is everything available from shared workspaces for start-ups to Grade A office space such as Vattanac Tower in Phnom Penh.
  • In the capital, the year-on-year expansion of the capital’s business activity gives investors a chance to choose from a healthy selection of Grade A, B and C office spaces say Realestate.com.kh
  • There has been an overall increase in available office spaces in Phnom Penh. As of 2019, a Knight Frank report projects that the growth would more than double by the year 2021; offering up to 1,059,170 sqm Net Lettable Area (NLA).
  • Exchange Square, is a second Grade-A office in Phnom Penh, with 18,000 sqm of office space.
  • TK Royal One, is a Grade B building in Toul Kork, while other Grade B projects include Downtown 93 (Chamkarmon), Fortune Tower (7 Makara) and East Commercial Centre (Chamkarmon).
  • The 22-storey Phnom Penh Tower and Canadia Tower are Grade B+ office buildings, offering a modern layout and finishings and quality fixtures. Office centres such as these are proving popular with international companies for the security and integrated facilities they offer.
  • Grade B standards are still high compared to the majority of offerings but fall below that of Grade A, usually in terms of location and facilities offered. The rental price is also reflected by the grade.
  • Several new Grade A office developments opened in recent years, including Vattanac Capital and GT Tower.
  • These developments will shape the future of Phnom Penh’s office landscape.

Cambodian Real Estate Top Tips

When setting up a business, finding the right residential and business premises is essential. We call on our industry insiders to share their knowledge of how to find the perfect place to house yourself and your company.

  • While the location is key for F&B businesses, prime spots in Phnom Penh include the popular BKK1, riverside or Toul Tom Poung, with Toul Kork and Sen Sok all now seeing saturation with restaurants and coffee shops, and are being snapped up with rental prices rapidly rising.
  • Looking at outlying, off-the-map areas is recommended.
  • If you’re a destination business and people will come to you regardless, then you may not need to be in the centre of town. If you are not – location may be crucial.
  • Prices slump drastically when only moving marginally away from premium spots.
  • As landlords realise the potential of their property, lease lengths and rental conditions have also been tightened.
  • The power of negotiation has also been lessened.
  • Lease length is important to take into consideration if you plan on developing a new building on the leased land or making drastic alterations to current buildings.
  • Real estate is viewed as a safe investment over the long term, generally in Cambodia.
  • The construction and real-estate sector in Cambodia yielded investment worth approximately $11.43 billion, in 2019, a 90% rise from 2018.
  • Coupled with the rise in upmarket offerings that meet international standards, Cambodia’s property investment market has been progressively driven upward.
  • And with more foreign investment expected from within the region as confidence in the market continues to grow, this is an area that is predicted to be active for the foreseeable future.
  • When it comes to investing in property, it’s advisable to recruit the help of reliable professionals who know the relevant laws and regulations of Cambodia.
  • Currently, there are no real estate related degrees offered in Cambodia but local expertise has been growing with a number of property agencies setup.
  • Real estate legislation is also constantly evolving, with the law allowing the sale of individual units within condominium developments only being introduced in 2009 and the law on foreign ownership being amended in 2010.
  • You need a lawyer and qualified professionals to exercise the necessary due diligence to ensure peace of mind.
  • Evaluating the pros and cons and carrying out professional research into property investment potential is key.

A Guide To Property in Cambodia

How to find a property in the first place, what to look for when purchasing it and how to keep your title safe once you have bought it.

  • A few years ago most property that was bought, sold or leased was found by word of mouth or signs posted outside.
  • In fact, many people still look for apartments and office space by simply driving around town looking for “For Rent” Property values and rent prices were assessed by the owners and were often so arbitrary that good value came through luck or a lengthy search.
  • Even with the advent of estate agents and valuers, purchase and rental prices can vary considerably for similar properties in similar areas.
  • Be careful of landlords assessing what you are worth, as opposed to what their property is worth.
  • Realestate.com.kh offers the biggest web portal to properties in Cambodia and hosts annual expos on Cambodian property.
  • For a newcomer, real estate agencies and their increasing array of websites are arguably the best resources for finding property and accommodation in Cambodia.
  • Real estate agents not only serve as a buffer between you and the landlord but can also be a great source of information for other things you may require to get settled.
  • A reputable company should be able to provide references from satisfied customers.
  • As well as the established agencies, locals often know of a friend or family member who for a fee, paid by either you or the landlord, will find available apartments or offices.
  • Keep in mind, all of these people will be paid in commission from the house owner for introducing you. If they are negotiating on your behalf, bear in mind they are set to benefit from a higher rent price.
  • Property is the most valuable possession one can have in Cambodia, providing the chance to access additional services such as loans as you’re able to provide capital as security.
  • Cambodian law dictates that land can only be owned by a Cambodian citizen or a company in which at least 51% of the shares are owned by Cambodian citizens. Because of this, many companies simply lease property instead of purchasing, with land leases up to 99 years available.
  • The other way is to apply for Cambodian citizenship though this is an expensive exercise and you will need to demonstrate competence with the Khmer language as well as an understanding of Cambodian history and culture.
  • Foreigners can only own properties on the first floor or higher (not the ground floor), up to 70 per cent of any one building, however, this only applies to buildings with a strata title.
  • To legally own a property outright in Cambodia, that land must have a strata title regardless of whether it’s on the first floor or not, and regardless of whether a soft or hard title has been attained.
  • A strata title is a special type of hard title that allows an owner to divide a building into multiple individually saleable properties.
  • This is also known as the “condominium law”, as it is generally only granted to new condo buildings that are being built for this specific purpose.
  • Remember, if a strata title is not attained or unavailable, you will not be the owner of that property.
  • The law was introduced in a bid to boost the capital’s condominium market following the global economic crisis.
  • However, many estate agents have failed to pass on the correct information and if a strata title does not exist on a property, a foreigner can only have up to 49% ownership.
  • The remainder must be under a Cambodian national’s name.
  • Long-term leases are common for large land plots where the occupier plans to build a permanent structure or use it for agriculture.
  • These can be for terms as long as 70 to 99 years but commercial sites such as pre-existing factories and warehouses will typically have lease terms of 5 to 10 years.
  • Rental prices continue to grow hand-in-hand with the capital’s swelling rental market. Also accompanying this growth is a decrease in negotiation power and lease length.
  • A 10 per cent rental tax has caused landlords to increase rents to match, however, be aware that some have tried to raise the rent significantly more, so check the small print before signing a contract.
  • Leases for buildings typically run for 2 to 5 years with a reassessment of the terms upon expiration.
  • Given that property prices, and therefore rents, have tended to rise in recent years, you should factor into your budget a probable rent increase when the contract is up for renewal.
  • If you are planning on developing the land or buildings under the lease – remember, your rent may rise dramatically in 5-10 years when you are due for renewal. This increases the risk of any investment into the property dramatically – and may limit the investment of many new business owners.
  • When renting accommodation, leases vary widely and there does not tend to be an industry norm. This makes checking the deposit amount and what is included in the rent, such as WiFi, cleaning and laundry, are also important factors.
  • When you find something to your liking and begin negotiations, keep in mind this is essentially the same as shaking hands on the deal and the details just need to be worked out. If you negotiate a price and then say you need time to think about it that won’t be well received.
  • The serviced apartment and condominium market in Cambodia continues to expand and remains heavily driven by the number of foreigners wanting to invest in the capital.
  • Mirroring the boom in high-end office space offering, Cambodia’s luxury living is also on the rise.
  • The movement has been spawned by the shake-up to property purchasing laws, with an increase in the country’s luxury condominium in major cities such as Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
  • According to Realestate.com.kh’s Consumer Sentiment Survey 2019, 76% of property buyers within Cambodia are looking to purchase property in Phnom Penh and respondents earning $1,000 (and above) per month expressed they would be willing to spend anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000 on a residential property.
  • Renters and those leasing commercial space face a rental tax which has caused many landlords to increase rents.
  • Most have increased it to match the 10% tax but a few have tried to raise the rent significantly more, so check the small print before signing a contract. For more information, visit the website of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
  • To register to become a taxpayer for property tax, the first thing you must do under this law is to register at your tax branch. You only need to register the property if it’s worth $25,000 or more.
  • Property valuation in Cambodia can at times be difficult to assess, as there is little transparent data available but reputable companies do publish reports.
  • It is recommended that valuations, especially for larger assets and multi-million dollar transactions, are carried out by international valuers who comply with globally recognised standards set by governing bodies, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
  • Some Cambodian banks still do in-house valuations when assessing new loans. This creates a conflict of interest as mortgage brokers are paid on commission.
  • Although, the industry is expecting the NBC to outlaw this practise at some point, instead demanding all valuations are conducted by accredited independent appraisers.
  • Often in Cambodia the value is in the land rather than the building, especially with regard to older properties.
  • This is due to relatively low construction and labour costs and, in many cases, the buyer wanting to demolish and develop on the existing land.
  • This leads to land price inflation—another reason why it is vital valuations are based on actual transactions, not speculation. In addition, always make sure the structural integrity of buildings is well assessed.
  • The age-old saying that ‘knowledge is power’ is ever apparent in a market that lacks transparency.
  • Accessing market data is extremely difficult as property records and statistics are not publicly available. Moreover, the accuracy of information received should always be questioned and sources cross-checked.
  • All land records were destroyed between 1975 and 1979. Consequently, this led to a number of disputes over land after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, as proof of ownership was effectively impossible. In 1989, a Land Law was passed with a revised version being issued in 2001 that allowed private ownership of land.
  • Since then, more than two million land titles have been issued to Cambodians.
  • Property ownership can now be secured by one of three forms of Cambodia land title: Hard title, Soft title and Private Ownership in Co-owned Buildings – also known as Strata Title. In addition, an LMAP title is also now available.
  • A soft title is a possessory title issued by the village chief at the local communes and is not registered at national level, while a hard title is registered nationally with the Land Office and offers full ownership.
  • Hard titles contain detailed information that has been duly recognised and certified at a national level with the Ministry of Land and a cadastral office. Hard titles are the most secure proof of property ownership and are considered the best Cambodian land title.
  • Soft titles often remain more popular, however, due to the avoidance of transfer tax, as when a hard title transaction occurs a four percent transfer tax is levied.
  • Private ownership in co-owned (strata) buildings is a recently introduced form of title that also allows foreigners to legally own property in Cambodia.
  • The majority of land in Cambodia comes under the soft title category, so if you want a hard title, employ the services of qualified legal specialists to ensure that is what you are getting.
  • Always conduct a title search with the relevant Ministry of Land Office or Commune Office before purchasing property. Such a search should confirm who holds the title to the property and reveal any registered mortgages or other encumbrances on the title.
  • Keep in mind, as a buyer, you may not be given the actual title to conduct the search, because this is the seller’s only evidence of ownership. The buyer will instead get given a copy of the title, so it is important that you confirm that it is the most recent copy.
  • A titling system called LMAP (Land Management and Administration Project) has been introduced in Cambodia to improve land tenure security. Under the scheme, GPS coordinates are being registered for all land plots in the country.
  • In 2012, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen launched a huge operation when he tasked more than 1,600 student volunteers to help grant land titles to villagers by measuring the land in a new land titling scheme.
  • If you have an LMAP title, the borders have been agreed between neighbouring parties so all border disputes have been resolved. This is the safest type of title.
  • The government is playing a key role in order to get a lot of property on a hard title as it’s more transparent and secure; secure for the owner, and also secure for the bank when the owner finances through the bank.
  • Soft titles are insecure, because you can place your soft title with many financial institutions and get a loan, whereas you can only have one hard title to one property.
  • A well qualified, and well-connected lawyer should check for you, rather than checking yourself. It’s not that easy to check yourself if you don’t have the right connections or don’t speak the language.
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