A public housing project, which aims to provide affordable housing for the lower middle class, low-income earners and state workers, is due to start at the end of the year after the completion of a study to determine its feasibility.
Sear Rithy, chairman of WorldBridge International Group, which is authorized by the government to develop the public housing project, told Khmer Times yesterday that the feasibility study was almost completed and the first phase of the project would start either this October or November.
Mr. Rithy said the whole project is expected to be completed within two years.
“This project is aimed at those in the low and middle income groups and also state workers who do not earn much,” he added.
According to Mr. Rithy the price of a house in the project ranges from $25,000 to $30,000 and financial assistance will be available in the form of housing loans for those who want to purchase homes.
WorldBridge, however, did not disclose the exact location of the project due to concern that speculators could snap up nearby properties to cause a boom in land prices.
Peng Hong Socheat Khemro, general director of the Housing Department in the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, declined to comment when asked whether the government had allocated land in the WorldBridge public housing project.
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia, which works with families to build houses or repair their homes, said one in five people in Phnom Penh lived in an informal settlement or a slum and lacked access to basic services and secure tenure.
“The urban poor would settle in every conceivable empty space, from courtyards to rooftops, by the side of railway tracks, and near riverbanks and swamps,” said the NGO on its website.
Chrek Soknim, CEO of Century 21 Mekong, yesterday welcomed WorldBridge’s public housing project, saying it was suitable for a Cambodia that still had many poor people who could not afford decent housing.
“Such a project would also help the poor to be able to afford to live in Phnom Penh,” he said.
Mr. Soknim said for the project to be a success, it must have strong support from the government.
The construction sector in the Kingdom is booming with total investment skyrocketing to $832.2 million this month compared to $39.7 million last June, according to latest figures from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.
Ministry figures reveal there were a total of 277 projects as of the start of this month, translating to 1.5 million square meters, compared to 108 projects last June, with an equivalent of 128,285.49 square meters. From the year 2000 to this June, the ministry approved 35,206 projects that translated to 85 million square meters nationwide. During the same 16-year period, total construction investment reached $32.3 billion.
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