Industry leaders gather for real estate market conference

Feb. 16, 2017, 12:44 p.m.

The first annual Real Estate Market & Outlook Conference 2016 (REMOC2016) will launch this April 1st at the Phnom Penh Hotel, 8:30am until 5:00pm, with a host of the local and regional industry leaders giving their outlooks on the state of the Cambodian real estate market.   Realestate.com.kh caught up with the speakers of REMOC2016 to get their 2 cents on the state of the current and future Cambodian property market prospects.
Mr. Sim Hoy Chhoung, ceo, V Trust Appraisal Co. Ltd:
simchhoung (2) What topic will you speak to at REMOC2016, and why is it a key consideration for the Cambodian Real Estate sphere? At REMOC2016 I will be speaking about property valuation industry and practice, and its importance in Cambodia. Of course, property valuation should be considered the heart of all the real estate activities and a key to developing our industry. This means that brokers and salespeople serving their clients should have a good understanding of valuation; the concepts, practices and methodology. A seller’s unrealistic asking price is a roadblock that an agent should avoid to save time and effort! Because banks take property as collateral to secure loans, weaknesses in valuation processes in the booming years could lead to a banking crisis later on, as we see from lessons learned from the Central Bank of Ireland study 2012. What were the most significant developments for the property market over the last year? Last year was the year of the condo and retail development. Thousands of units of condo launched and international grade shopping malls starting construction. These new developments still drive land market prices higher and higher until late last year. What makes you optimistic and what worries you about the Cambodian real estate market? Personally, I would not be worried about the real estate market for the year to come. The market will correct itself. In addition, compared to other countries, Cambodia still has a strict credit limit on mortgage loan and interest rates are high, and terms are shorter (below 70% credit availability while other countries are up to 80% or 90%). Let’s imagine what is going to happen if banks can increase the limit, lower interest rates or extend the terms... Or alternatively, if the government did some things to benefit the condo market such as taxes incentives… Steps like this could add more liquidity to the market and quickly boost it. What significant changes are you anticipating for the Cambodian real estate market over the next year? There will be a market correction in some subsectors and a switch of project development proposals toward the sub-sector’s that exhibit continuously high demand. The only thing that we all should know is that the market space is becoming narrower; so before committing to doing a development project, there needs to be a detailed market and feasibility study. And Vtrust is here to help in this regard. As I mentioned earlier, there are still room for policy makers to manipulate. So over the next year, the market can remain stable, one way or another.
Thida Ann, senior associate director, CBRE Cambodia:
annsothidacbre What topic will you speak to at REMOC2016, and why is it a key consideration for the Cambodian Real Estate sphere? CBRE are really pleased to be involved in the conference and will have two speakers discussing the commercial office market and also Phnom Penh's Serviced Apartment Market. CBRE will aim to provide attendees with new insights and outlooks into these key sectors through our active market participation as the leading international property advisory firm in Cambodia. What were the most significant developments for the property market over the last year? 2015 marked another extremely active year in the Cambodian property market with all sectors seeing significant activity. To run through a few key trends; CBRE tracked land price appreciation at approximately 8.4% across central districts. New mid-rise office developments that came on stream through 2015 saw strong take up and grade B and C rents increased by 6.2% and 2.3% respectively. 7,014 condominium units were announced across 26 buildings in 2015 bringing total future supply due for completion by 2018 to 21,414 units. Chamkarmon saw the greatest number of project launches announced with a 37% share, secondary locations such as Sen Sok and Chroy Chang Va accounting for 15%. Occupancy in serviced apartments held strong at a healthy 90% with occupancy keeping pace with supply.
James Padden, Commercial Agency Manager, CBRE Cambodia:
Jamespadden What makes you optimistic and what worries you about the Cambodian real estate market? CBRE are optimistic about the office market. Exchange Square is due for completion in Q4 16 and has seen strong interest locally and regionally highlighting growing demand for grade A space in Phnom Penh. Increasingly we are seeing interest from companies in office space in secondary cities such as Sihanoukville, Battambang and Siem Reap highlighting that Cambodia is not all about Phnom Penh but these provincial cities are seeing strong economic growth in their own right. I think there is a need for caution regarding the residential market and we are yet to see strong domestic owner/occupier demand that is required for condominiums to really drive the market forwards. Existing investment is predominantly by overseas investors looking for capital growth. This market will be driven long term by Cambodian occupiers and this has been slowly changing but is yet to become a clear segment of demand. What significant changes are you anticipating for the Cambodian real estate market over the next year? We have seen the announcement of strata title office space for the first time in 2014 and this is a welcome trend with this asset being a popular investment in other markets such as Hong Kong and Bangkok. There will be further segmentation of the office market as Exchange Square adds to grade A office stock. High prices and limited availability of land in prime, central areas is likely to continue the trend for development in secondary locations such as Sen Sok and Chroy Changvar. I think we will also see continued development and investment activity in provincial cities such as Sihanoukville, Battambang and Siem Reap. Overall we expect 2016 to be a year of a lot of activity driven by Cambodia’s continued strong economic growth and further bolstered by the movement towards ASEAN integration as there is continued intra-ASEAN investment and regional expansion of businesses out of their home markets.
Chrek Soknim, CEO, Century 21 Mekong: 
ChrekSoknim What topic will you speak to at REMOC2016, and why is it a key consideration for the Cambodian Real Estate sphere? At the upcoming REMOC-2016 on 1 April, I’m going to talk about the most updated Phnom Penh's Condominium Market and Trends, with Most Insights into Primary Market, Supply, Demand, and Key Successful Factors for Developers. Condominium isn’t a nascent market anymore in Phnom Penh. It’s been here now eight years, yet there are many things for developers, buyers and key players to carefully learn to get into the market insights so that they can gear to the right paths for this real estate subsector. What were the most significant developments for the property market over the last year? I believe condominiums are one of the solutions to curb with heavy traffic, increasing land prices, convenience, and a quick pace of modernizing living standards among young white-collar generation. However, with an excessive influx of condominium launches last year, the market now becomes stiffly competitive while it also offers numerous choices for buyers. What makes you optimistic and what worries you about the Cambodian real estate market? When looking at the Kingdom’s market absorption rate at an average of 32.4 months, in recent months it’s started to slow down and this needs a careful analysis on local demand, affordability, and trends, instead of relying solely on foreign market comparisons when a new developer wants to enter into condo market. What significant changes are you anticipating for the Cambodian real estate market over the next year? The condo market will suit the young generation and fulfill to their lifestyle demands. This sector will grow very fast if financial support comes from financial institutions providing the easy conditions to afford to buy condos. It is also the open market for the foreigner, which will help to supplement this sector’s growth.
Kuy Vat, chairman, CVEA; chairman and ceo, Century 21 Cambodia:
kuyvat (2) What topic will you speak to at REMOC2016, and why is it a key consideration for the Cambodian Real Estate sphere? At REMOC-2016 to be held on the 1st of April, we’re going to talk about general views on real estate sector, addressing opportunities and challenges for this year and the years to come. Bolstered by a gradual growth of our economy, we’ve seen that the real estate market is growing bigger and bigger, as it is so to meet the rising demand for housing, office space, retail space as well as industrial amenities, just to name a  few.   With lots of improvements in this industry so far, the year 2016 sees many opportunities despite emergence of some challenges that might somewhat cool down the market heat, for example, the condominium market. So far we’ve heard that there’s some sentiment over the condominium market, for instance, that has come with too many, resulting in stiff competition for developers to sell off their projects. But to me, I’ve got a different point of view. First, this will create jobs for local agents who are asked to help developers sell off their units. Second, through numerous available suppliers, it offers an opportunity for foreign investors to come over to our country and enjoy the newly available infrastructure and amenities currently or to be soon in place. 
Mr. Kim Heang, president, CVEA; ceo, Khmer Real Estate:
Kim Heang to Global Alumni What topic will you speak to at REMOC2016, and why is it a key consideration for the Cambodian Real Estate sphere? At the upcoming REMOC2016, I’m going to talk about situation of real estate industry and address the challenges and suggestion for future improvements in this sector. Construction and real estate sector plays an important role as an economic driving engine by increasing its economic influences on the country’s economy, especially providing construction jobs to about 10,000 workers throughout Cambodia and spillover impacts on several other economic sectors. We appreciate our industry leaders as well as key players for their effort in bringing construction and real estate sector to this point. Nevertheless, without some changes, unity and strong cooperation among the players to further improve and perform best practices for the industry (for instance, valuation subsector), we can hardly develop this sector to become a key leading industry for our country’s economy. Therefore, we have to address opportunities and key challenges for all of us to solve and improve so that everyone in the industry benefits.
Hoem Seiha, Director of Research, VTrust Appraisal Co., Ltd:
seihahoem What topic will you speak to at REMOC2016, and why is it a key consideration for the Cambodian Real Estate sphere? At REMOC-2016 to be held on 1 April, I’m going to present to the audience about the macro perspectives on real estate industry. Developers, policy makers and related key stakeholders need sound knowledge and in-depth insights into real estate sector at macro level so that they can together work to develop and, if any, curb with challenges in the sector. Construction and real estate sector has recently grown its importance to overall economy by contributing to creation of tens of thousands of jobs, pushing demand on mortgages to rise by 19 percent in 2014, and attracting US$ billions of real estate related FDIs that have spillover impacts on many other economic sectors. With my future outlook for this sector, even though real estate market has grown so quickly that it might pose potential risks and growth volatility, I foresee this sector will soon create a new economic engine alongside with the country’s key leading sectors such as garment, tourism and agriculture.
Sorn Seap, ceo, Key Real Estate:
Sorn-Seap-1 What topic will you speak to at REMOC2016, and why is it a key consideration for the Cambodian Real Estate sphere? At REMOC-2016, I’m going to present about the most updated Phnom Penh’s land market, going in-depth into market prices, zoning and development trends in the future. Phnom Penh land prices continue to rise up by 10 to 20 percent a year. Nevertheless, the whole Phnom Penh has many areas that see different price growth rates depending on many factors, including zoning, planned infrastructure, and location special features. Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen that Phnom Penh has expanded quickly. Residents not only concentrate in central business zones but also spread out to form new clusters of housing in the outskirts – with some areas are now home to tens of thousands of residents. Other locations, furthermore, will also have the same experiences in the next few years.
Sung Sina, Director, Bonna Asset Appraisal Department:
SUNG SINAWhat topic will you speak to at REMOC2016, and why is it a key consideration for the Cambodian Real Estate sphere? Industrial Estate Market, with Most Highlights on Supply, Demand, Market Performance, Zoning, and Future Trends, and Opportunities. Thirty Years after the genocide, Cambodia is just beginning to recover. The garment industryis the country‘s main industrial activity in Cambodia. The main topic will consider the heavy traffic jams developing on the outskirts of Phnom Penh (National Road Number 2, 3, 4, 51, 41, 6A, PPSEZ, Sihanouk SEZ, Bavet SEZ and Other SEZs). I will also consider how to reduce the pollution on the environment, the need for good infrastructure and ways in which we can bring the profit to the villagers in that area. What were the most significant developments for the property market over the last year?  Over the last year, I believe condominiums are one of the solutions to the rush traffic jam, increasing the land prices, convenience, and a quick pace of modernizing living standards among the young generation. However, with an excessive influx of condominium launches last year, the market now becomes stiffly competitive while it also offers numerous choices for buyers. On the other hand, the industrial estate market is located on National Road Number 2, 3, 4, 6 and National Road Number 51, with an excessive influx and new built of factories and warehouses for Chinese investor. What makes you optimistic and what worries you about the Cambodian real estate market? When looking at the Cambodian real estate market averages increasing 5 to 10 percent for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Since last month, it has started to slow down - and this needs careful analysis on local demand, affordability, and trends; instead of relying solely on foreigner market comparisons when a new developer wants to enter into the condominium market. On other hand, with the industrial market increasing year to year, the market now becomes stiffly competitive. Yet, it also offers numerous choices for the renter. What significant changes are you anticipating for the Cambodian real estate market over the next year? The condominium market is increasing the land prices, convenience, and a quick pace of modernizing living standards among the young generation to fulfill to their life style for living. This sector will grow very fast. But the banking and microfinance sector must provide the loans with easy condition so normal Khmer can afford to buy the condominium. It is also the open market, based on the Cambodian Regulation for the foreigner, that will help to push some part of the sector to grow.
Don’t miss out on REMOC2016 - find out more details HERE.
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