The real estate sector will “suffer in the short term” but will become “stronger than ever” once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, according to industry insiders.
Dr Alexander Evengroen, managing director of Asean Realtor Inc and Group CEO of UK Condo & Property Co Ltd, said it cannot be denied that Cambodia – like a majority of other property markets – will suffer the consequences of the pandemic.
“We all have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the country’s economy, including the Cambodian property sector,” he said.
Frederic Chan, executive director,ANGGroup(Cambodia), likewise, noted the adverse effects and the uncertainties caused by the outbreak.“In the last two months many small and medium businesses, such as shops, restaurants etc, have closed. This is very sad and we are all frustrated being in such a kind of economic uncertainty,” he said.
Evengroen said if there is one thing to learn from the crisis, it is that self-reliance is extremely important.
“It is a huge opportunity for the industry to adapt to a totally new approach that includes upgrading our industry knowledge and quality that will generate more opportunities for local investors and entrepreneurs as well as the general public,” he said.
“We understand that many people are focusing on Chinese investors to come back to the market after things return to normal, but it is a big mistake to mainly rely on foreign investors and developers once again. Foreign investment should only complement the local economy and industry not be the driving force. This will also take away potential vulnerability for the future and increase the benefits for the people and economy in Cambodia,” he added.
Evengroen said it will take time for the property sector to rebound, but that it will come out stronger than before.
“It will take at least until the last quarter of 2020 before the Cambodian property sector starts to recover if there is no pandemic relapse. The so-called property bubble is not about to burst but will come out stronger and more professional than ever before. The reason is that we have invested a lot of time and effort to educate ourselves and the industry on how to generate good sustainable business during a time of uncertainties,” he said.
Evengroen said it is important for all stakeholders to stay away from negativity and work together for the common good.
“If we follow the necessary guidelines provided by the Cambodian government and we use common sense while doing business we can re-ignite the industry and stay away from the negative information that is spreading. This will not contribute to anything other than problems,” he said.
“We should all put our shoulders under the real estate industry and together we will come out stronger than ever before, generating amazing results in the near future,” he added.
Chan said that the sooner Cambodia is reconnected with its key partner countries the better.
“The question now is when our economy will be fully active again. The sooner we are open and connected with our key partner countries, the best chance our property market will recover. It will take time, but it will definitely come out stronger and better,” he concluded.
According to data from Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Con- struction, close to 800 public and private projects worth almost $2 billion were approved in the first two months of this year.
The local sector has not reported a steep drop in prices. However, there have been reports of a market “stuck” with little selling or buying occurring. There had been fears as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting that the real estate sector – the third pillar of the Cambodian economy, in line with the manufacturing and tourism sectors, would suffer.