• Buying a Condo in Phnom Penh: A Beginners Guide

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    Cambodia is growing fast economically and has attracted many foreign corporations in the past years.

    With an influx of many Chinese buyers and expats (that needs housing), prices have increased much.

    Cambodia provides great yields and experienced early investors have managed to earn decent money through property investments.

    In this article, I explain the basics when buying a condo in Phnom Penh.

    Phnom Penh’s property market

    Property prices have increased fast in Phnom Penh in the past years. So fast, so that the local economy has difficulties to catch up.

    I would be lying if not saying that Phnom Penh is facing a new property bubble, within a short time. Or maybe not, if the Chinese continue to pour in, driving up the prices…

    It’s a similar scenario as we see with Bitcoin, very volatile, but continuously climbing higher.

    The property bubble is worst for the condo market, as expats and other foreigners (like Mainland Chinese) have poured in money the past years.

    If Cambodia will continue to perform well in the coming decade, without political unrest, the market might perform well over the long term.

    Developed countries have all gone through the same process. Focusing on labor-intensive industries, going through land reforms (supported by other countries, as we saw the US helping Korea decades ago). And maybe most importantly – to have an export-driven economy.

    But automation is also catching up, and the economy has slowed down a bit in Cambodia.

    Who knows what will happen in the coming decade. Maybe Cambodia won’t have the same opportunities as China had, to become a semi-developed nation, by offering cheap labor.

    If you’re buying and renovating a unit in an old shophouse, to keep as a long term investment, you also don’t know what will happen in the coming years. Especially not if Cambodia will continue to grow at a massive pace, as some claims.

    When I lived in the Hongkou district in Shanghai 7 years ago, I personally witnessed how old houses were torn down around my building, making space for new apartment buildings.

    So:

    If you’re a short term investor, you should understand that the Cambodian market is volatile. Properties have dropped as much as 30-40% from one year to another.

    The market is currently in a bubble, no one really knows how the market will act in the coming years.

    However:

    If Cambodia continues to perform well, long term investors can reap great yields in the coming decade.

    The same as it goes with Bitcoin, the early investors will, in that case, gain the biggest profits.

    Where should I buy a condo in Phnom Penh?

    In this article, I focus on how foreigners can buy a condo in Phnom Penh, as this is by far the easiest property type that “regular” overseas property investors can buy.

    If you decide to buy a unit in a condo and keep it for the long term, you should have a look at the following two areas, that are popular among foreigners.

    Doun Penh

    Daun Penh is the commercial center and located in the central parts of Phnom Penh.

    You’ll find famous buildings such as the Central Market, Raffles Hotel, and the Royal Palace. Many condos are also located here, making it a popular place to live for foreigners.

    Prices for a 1-2 bedroom unit usually start at around USD 200,000.

    Chamkarmon

    Chamkarmon is located in the Southern parts of Phnom Penh, it’s fairly relaxed compared to Doun Penh. You won’t see as many tourists in this area, albeit many condos are located here.

    Both the Phnom Penh Post and the Russian market are situated in this area.

    1-2 bedroom units in a condo usually start at USD 70,000 – 80,000, which is considerably cheaper compared to Doun Penh.

    Real estate agents

    It’s important that you find a reliable and English speaking real estate agent before engaging in the Phnom Penh property market.

    As an undeveloped country, there are many pitfalls you can encounter as a foreigner. Be sure to do your due diligence thoroughly, before going to Cambodia.

    Some of the most popular real estate agents and listing websites in Phnom Penh are:

    a. IPS Cambodia

    b. realestate.com.kh

    c. Century21 Cambodia

    d. Lucky Realty

    e. HomeConnect Cambodia

    Contact a handful of estate agents and see how they can help you.

    Conclusion

    Cambodia, and especially Phnom Penh, are very interesting at the moment and have many foreigners’ attention.

    Corporations pour into this fast-growing country, but the country still has more to show. For the early and experienced investor, Cambodia can provide great yields though.

    The condo market is saturated and some analysts believe that the prices will fall significantly in the coming years. But others still believe that the market will continue to perform well.

    I’d say that you should do thorough research, before investing in Cambodia.

    And don’t only look at the capital, Phnom Penh, but also at other promising places, like Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

    Sihanoukville is a beautiful place located along the Western shoreline, property is very cheap here compared to Phnom Penh.

    In case the local market won’t be able to maintain a healthy economy, Sihanoukville will at least attract many foreign buyers, like retirees and travelers.

    Siem Reap is located just next to Angkor Vat, which speaks for itself. The city is not only getting more and more popular among foreigners but also among locals.

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