While the Kingdom has done relatively well in containing the spread of COVID-19 within its borders, integral to this low infection rate was the closure of businesses which slowed economic activity. From businesses dependent on tourists, international businessmen, and even locals, wide swathes of the Cambodian economy felt their belts tighten for close to 2 quarters.
Earlier in July 2020, the government allowed some business to reopen with conditions to adopt measures to curb COVID-19 infection. Businesses such as casinos, clubs, and KTVs have been allowed to reopen – a positive sign that the Cambodian economy will soon rebound. While there is no definite schedule for schools, reports indicate that authorities are mulling their reopening soon.
The cabinet meeting last July 3, 2020 subjected businesses reopening to certain conditions. For example, landed casinos will be limited to slot machines and a few other gambling forms. Businesses who seek to restart operations will be required to get permission and meet certain requirements from the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has indicated that a plan will be set in place to begin resumption of much-delayed classes. The Ministry cited that the re-opening will be gradual in its approach; specific details, however, are not yet available.
Cambodia’s real estate market was not spared in the pandemic’s economic effects. Developers, investors, and buyers alike have felt COVID-19’s sting in the past few months. The restrictions on international travel have deterred would-be investors from traveling to Cambodia and the limitations faced by raw material exporters have caused some delays in some parts of the construction sector. Buyers have also become cautious of buying property during such an uncertain time.
Despite the troubles, Cambodia’s real estate industry has found ways to adapt to the new market realities. Chief example is Realestate.com.kh’s Black Friday Property Sale held last June 12, 2020. Realestate.com.kh reported $15 million worth of property sold during the 4-hour sale event online. The event showcased that stakeholders in the country’s real estate market are willing to participate given the opportunity, and the right price.
It’s worth noting that the most popular properties sold during the Black Friday Property Sale were mid-tier condos/serviced apartments and boreys.
Real estate insiders, however, are not under any illusion that Cambodia’s real estate market this 2020 will be as robust as initially expected. While the sector has certainly slowed down in activity, it has weathered what could have been a more severe contraction of the economy had the Kingdom’s infection rate became as severe as its neighbors.
As gradual reopening of businesses begin, locals and investors alike can look forward to a return to prime economic form within Cambodia.