Realestate.com.kh is pleased to release the results of the 2016 Realestate.com.kh Consumer Sentiment Survey. The survey reveals key information for investors, developers, retailers, financial institutions, insurers and personal home buyers and sellers.
The intention and scope of the December 2016 survey was to dig deeper into the hearts and minds of Cambodia-focused real estate consumers in regards to their perceptions of the market and their current spending and borrowing habits. By doing so, the survey allows us to predict future buying and selling trends in the market.
The responses revealed a generally positive attitude towards the real estate market of the Kingdom, which is currently perceived as growing, improving and, more importantly, a target for investment. As a matter of fact, almost 80% of those surveyed believe that purchasing a property in Cambodia represents a good investment.
However, the survey has also produced data that suggests many consumers perceive a series of weaknesses in the market - namely in regards to the current affordability of property (especially for local buyers), the need for financing for property purchases, and gaps in the market regarding professionalism and transparency in the real estate sales and valuation professions.
The survey was distributed over email to the Realestate.com.kh database of both local and international subscribers. It was also featured on the Realestate.com.kh website for a two week period, and shared on the Realestate.com.kh facebook and Linkedin. We also had guests to the Realestate.com.kh display booth at the Cambodia Construction and Property Expo at Koh Pich Exhibition Center in December 2016 complete the survey.
In total, 5000 respondents completed the survey in the space of just two weeks of December 2016.
The survey was available for respondents in two languages, English and Khmer, depending on the user’s preference. The results of the English and Khmer surveys have been tallied separately for one data set, and together for an aggregated data set.
To date, this is the most comprehensive real estate consumer sentiment survey ever conducted in Cambodia.
The following are the key results of the survey:
Understanding the financial capabilities of the potential buyers is crucial in order for property developers and agents to shape their property product correctly for their target markets, and predict future needs and trends of that market. It is also valuable information for finance providers attempting to understand the needs and means of the home lending market in Cambodia.
When asked “How affordable is housing in Cambodia?” respondents
referred to local property as “moderately unaffordable” (34%), “affordable” (28%) and just 16% stated that is “moderately affordable”.
However, it is important to note that the survey was distributed in English and Khmer. Upon analysis of the non aggregated data set, we can see that the price perception of the real estate market greatly differs among nationalities. The majority of those who have filled the survey in English (37% in total) have described the market as “affordable;” whereas more than half of the Khmer respondents stated that the market is “moderately unaffordable”.
Price Increases in the Market
The investments of property developers have been highly visible around the capital of Phnom Penh in the past year, greatly increasing the local supply. Other urban centers such as Siem Reap and Sihanoukville have also seen increased investment in the residential sphere, albeit incomparable to Phnom Penh.
Yet prices for end buyers do not appear to be dropping across the market despite this new supply.
More than half of those who took part in the survey suggested that they have seen a general increase in property prices over the past 12 months (58.6%). Furthermore, 54.6% off all respondents expect property prices to continue to rise in the coming 12 months.
What is interesting to notice is that although the imminent price rise perception, regardless of this, almost 80% of the participants believe that now is a good time to purchase a property in the Kingdom.
Almost half of the respondents (45.4%) stated that they fully own the properties they reside in. Meanwhile, 30% of all respondents are currently renting and are considering purchasing a property soon. In fact, an impressive 70% of all respondents surveyed showed great confidence in the local property market by declaring that they are considering purchasing a property in the coming 12 months.
This divergence in the perception of affordability of property is likely to depend on the difference in household incomes between Cambodian Nationals and non-nationals. When analysing the customer's profile results, almost half of the Khmer respondents’ income fell into the less than $500 per month category (42%), and 30% of all Khmer families fell into the $500-1000 monthly household income bracket.
In comparison, only 15% of non-Nationals stated to earn less than $500 per month, 30% earn between $500 and $2000 per month, and 15% stated to earn over $10,000 per month in total household income.
In conclusion, property in Cambodia is generally affordable for international residents and investors; whereas it is still moderately unaffordable for Khmer nationals.
In terms of buying power, more than half of the respondents (67%) have less than $70,000 to spend on a property; 13% of respondents have a budget ranging between $75-$100,000; and another 13% can afford a property between $100-$200,000. Lastly, a lucky 3% can afford properties between $200-$300,000, and 3% are able to invest over $300,000.
According to the results, 35% of respondents have enough liquidity for a downpayment of 10% for any property purchase, but almost 30% of the potential buyer pool do not expect any down payments whatsoever; 17% can afford a 20% deposit and just 12% can put down 30% for the deposit.
Yet, naturally, these figures differed in regards to English respondents versus those completing the survey in Khmer. Of the Khmer respondents, 36% expect no down payment; 36% expect only 10% down; 14.4% expect 20% down only; and just 9.5% can afford to put down 30% on signing.
In comparison, of the English language respondents (which naturally includes non-Nationals and investors), 28% are able to put down a 30%+ deposit.
These statistics would suggest many of the new development products on the market needing initial deposits of over 20% of the total unit price, especially in the prime condo market, are largely out of reach of the local market’s buying power - with or without financing.
Home Loan Needs and Means
A positive result has been shown for banks in Cambodia, with 69% of those surveyed saying they will require a mortgage in order to purchase a property.
When asked which banks they are likely to approach for a mortgage, the result showed a wide spread: Acleda ranked first with 22%, followed by ABA with 18%, ANZ 15%, Canadia 13%, Maybank 11.5%, CIMB 11.2%, and lastly Hong Leong with 9%.
The wide spread of results regarding consumer bank preferences is likely to be explained by the dominant factor for those shopping for a home loan being the interests rates offered by that bank. After this, home loan consumers noted that “industry market knowledge,” “response time” and lastly “bank fees” may influence their decision on which lender will be preferred.
These results suggest that home loan demand is expected to increase and that there is still room for improvement for the banks in terms of interest rates and customer support. Further, those projects supported with sound financing terms, either internally or through an external bank partner, will naturally have an advantage in the market.
Are Cambodian Properties Insured?
Only 26.6% of home owners currently have house insurance. Regardless of a very low rate of insurance penetration, 59.5% of those surveyed still think that this is a good time to purchase major household items, giving insurance companies market opportunities in the year ahead.
When asked about the purpose of purchasing a property in Cambodia, the respondents opinion almost fell in the middle: 53.3% wish to purchase a property to live in, while 46.7% is buying as an investment.
Land is the preferred type of property to invest in, as selected by 24% of the respondents, 23% of respondents are aiming to acquire a condominium unit, followed by 22% aiming for a shophouse and 18% for a villa.
When asked whether they would rather buy an independent house, a home in a borey development, a condo in a new development or land in a plot land project, respondents favored and independent house (35%), borey (26%), condo (22%) and finally plot land (16%).
Without any surprise, Phnom Penh (65%) came as a first choice for those interested in purchasing a property, followed by the fast developing Sihanoukville (15%) and world famous tourist city of Siem Reap (10%).
Investigating further within the preferred areas of Phnom Penh city: Toul Kork, Chamkarmon and Chroy Changvar were the most popular locations to buy in; and Russey Keo and Prek Pnov coming in last as the less desirable.
The dominant factor that influences the property of choice is location (50%). This is followed by the return on investment (20%), price (16%) and surrounding infrastructure (10%).
How do Consumers Find Property in Cambodia?
The vast majority of the respondents (71%) start their property search online. This does not come as a surprise, as according to wearesocial.com, internet penetration continues to rise in Cambodia and is now used by a third of the population - and increased by 32% since March 2015. Hence, the internet is rapidly being embraced by real estate agents/developers, and end buyers and renters.
However, there remains a mix between online and offline searching for property in Cambodia - with 17% of the respondents preferring to visit real estate agents directly and 12% relying on advertisements in newspapers and magazines.
Real Estate Agents play an Important role
According to the results, real estate agents still play a significant role in the house hunting process. However, respondents showed some clear concerns.
Although commission scheme plays a big part in choosing an agent, honesty and professionalism are the key characteristics that customers are looking for when selecting their property sales representative.
Further, consumers generally seem to be particularly concerned in regards to the unregulated nature of the Cambodia real estate market: 45% of all respondents wish to see a standardized valuation pricing, 38% a compulsory real estate agent license, and 18% wish to see regulated commission schemes for the agents.
For all those that took the time to complete the 2016 Realestate.com.kh Consumer Sentiment Survey we offer our most gracious thanks. The insights that your 5 minutes of time have offered the market are extremely valuable; and creates data with the potential to improve the real estate industry across Cambodia - and Realestate.com.kh’s service as the leading online source of real estate in the Kingdom.
With information on what is driving consumer decisions - agents, developers, banks and insurers are better able to provide products that the market will value. And likewise we are able to tailor our website services to better serve your needs.
Stay tuned to Realestate.com.kh for more market-leading research and data over the course of 2017.