Buying residential property for rental returns in Phnom Penh

James Whitehead / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Buying a flat house in the suburbs of Phnom Penh will earn anywhere between $350 and $550 per month in rental returns. Wiki Commons CC BY-SA

Cambodia has many types of properties suitable for investors seeking rental returns, such as villas, flats, shophouses, apartments and condos. However, finding the right properties for the right tenants can be time-consuming if you don’t have an understanding of the current rental market supply and demand. Be careful investing a large amount of money into a property that nobody will rent.

Here are some handy tips to consider before buying a rental property for future returns in Cambodia, thanks to

Target tenant versus target rental returns:

It is vital that you know who your target tenants are: Cambodians or expatriates. They are two very different targets – with different tastes and financial means.

If you target local middle-income Khmer families, you can buy a flat house in a borey project in the suburbs or a shophouse in the inner city with both residential and retail capacity. Expect lower returns for these properties than you might get from foreigners renting condos or villas – but expect more security in this income; as demand for these properties is high compared to supply. The Cambodia dream is a home plus a small business – and these properties allow this.

You might consider affordable houses like a flat house with purchase prices of between $70,000 and $100,000. Buying a flat house in the suburbs of Phnom Penh will earn anywhere between $350 and $550 per month in rental returns. For renovated one and two-bedroom flat houses around central Phnom Penh, you can earn between $450 and $550 per month. As a general rule in Cambodia, affordable rental properties tend to attract more tenants than expensive ones.

However, if you aim to get higher rental returns, you can buy a shophouse in a prime location in central Phnom Penh such as Daun Penh, Chamkarmon or alongside a major wet-market – where purchase prices are about $3,000-$4,000 per square metre – but you can then rent for an average of $1,500 per month. This is because a shophouse has high potential for retail businesses, especially if it has corner parking spaces.

If you want to target foreign nationals for more lucrative rental returns, you should consider buying a condo or high-end villa in the heart of the city for anywhere between $100-$700K. This can bring you between $1,000 and $4,000 per month in rental returns, depending on quality, location and services. With a heavy supply of condos now entering the Phnom Penh market however, focus on location, quality and other unique features to make sure that your asset will actually generate the rental returns you are seeking. Inspect the past rental returns of similar properties closely and get advice from more than one agent and/or developer.

Alternatively, look at budget condos (about $20-$80K purchase price) in the less-central districts of Phnom Penh as these types of properties are able to be rented by locals working in the city, albeit at a smaller monthly rate than expats can afford to pay. But these assets will have a safer rental return.

Look for bargain condos in areas like Tuol Tum Pong/Russian Market, Tuol Kork, around Olympic Stadium or in Steung Meanchey. Local renters are happy to live in these areas of the city, close to their work places or schools. Sen Sok, Chbar Ompov and Chroy Changvar are also seeing many new development projects popping up, and buying rental properties in these areas is likely to get a good monthly return in rental fees from locals or expats – and is also an asset that will appreciate in the coming years as you consider resale. Make sure you get a strata title so that your ownership is guaranteed.

Location and safety:

Tenants, especially expatriates, tend to consider safety and security when they decide to rent a residential property. Boeung Keng Kang, Tonle Bassac, Tuol Kork, Daun Penh and Tuol Tum Poung are among the most secure locations in central Phnom Penh. But for Cambodian nationals, location is second only to price; therefore, they seem less concerned about security compared with foreigners.

Furthermore, you should buy rental properties in areas with amenities such as schools, hospitals, restaurants, entertainment services and convenient access to business and commercial establishments. Make sure you are investing in an area where there is a high and sustainable rental demand into the future.

Agency advice:

Finding a good real estate agency before buying a rental property is crucial for you as a buyer because the real estate agency will guide you towards the right sector of the market for your needs and financial means. In addition, the real estate agency is aware of the history of a property – and its actual potential for rental returns. They will also be able to manage leasing the property for you, if you want a full-service approach to your investment.

Want to learn more about making safe real estate investments? Check out today, Cambodia’s home of real estate.

James Whitehead  is Director of Content @

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