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Government wants developers to build more affordable homes

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Developers and other delegates at the conference on building more affordable homes. KT/Pann Rachana

The government is urging more affordable housing development projects for lower and middle income people and the vulnerable because of rising demand from these groups.

At present, there are only five affordable housing projects in the Kingdom. They consist of 8,331 houses or units, said Beng Hong Socheat Khemro, general director of the department of housing at the Land Management Ministry.

Mr Hong Socheat Khemro was speaking at the Stocktaking Conference of Ministry of Land Management in 2019 and Goal Setting for 2020 yesterday.

He said that among the five projects, two are located in Phnom Penh, two in Kandal province and one in Poipet-Banteay Meanchey.

“The ministry has already issued construction permits to M R Sokha Resident Group for 4,296 houses in Poipet, Banteay Meanchey province, in 2019,” Khemro added.

He said the department of housing has also been facilitating and consulting on the architect’s plans and and application for affordable houses for two companies – Ly Brothers Ltd, with 1,927 houses in Siem Reap province, and Phnom Penh Land, with 227 houses in Kandal province.

From 2015 to 2030, the demand for new homes is estimated be 1.5 million.

The demand in Phnom Penh alone amounts to some 800,000 more houses.

Based on this figure, Cambodia would need to build 50,000 units per year to meet the demand because of rapid urbanisation, says Lao Tipseiha, secretary of state of Land Management at the Urban Planning and Construction Ministry.

He said that by the end of this year, Cambodia supplied more than new 38,488 general houses and 8,331 of affordable houses  across the country

Vongsy Sam, director of the Central Public Private Partnership Centre of the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance, told the Khmer Times in July that only two developers applied for affordable housing licences and incentives although two years have passed since the policy was introduced.

“We have not seen many developers apply but I assume that if the pilot project by WorldBridge Homes Co Ltd is successful, others would show interest,” Vongsy added. He contends that the government has yet to widely promote the policy because it is preparing an assessment framework on the affordable housing project.

“We have issued one licence, which we are monitoring. After this first project, we would have some experience and would be able to handle other applications,” Vongsy adds.

Khemro added the Land Management Ministry’s department of housing is calling on  local authoriies to identify state-owned land, determine the amount of temporary housing and the numbers of families in the temporary area and ascertain demand for housing. The point is to show affordable housing is viable to attract investors. At the same time, the government is continuing to try to attract nongovernmental organisations and investors to invest in affordable housing projects to sell to lower-income people and to build homes resilient to climate change.

In January 2017, WorldBridge invested $100 million, kicking off the first affordable housing project in Cambodia called Serey Mongkul Satellite City on a 45 hectare site in Krong Takhmao. The units are priced from $25,000.

Chea Sophara, deputy prime minister and minister of land management, urban planning and construction, said the ministry is working with the private sector to develop affordable houses especially for lower and middle income people including the vulnerable and civil servants. It is to enable them to have a proper house to live in securely and with dignity.

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