Cambodia is planning to set up a real estate school, a move to build professionalism and sustainable growth in a sector that has been growing rapidly in the kingdom.
Kim Heang, the president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents (CVEA) and also the CEO of Khmer Real Estate, told Khmer Times yesterday that his association had signed a memorandum of understanding last week to set up the school with the Malaysia-based University of Technology Malaysia (UTM), which specialises in real estate.
“Although we have a lot of people who have been in the field for many years, we don’t have experts – what we are now doing within the industry is only based on our experience, so we don’t have the right theory. We need lessons to learn,” he said.
He said that under the MoU, UTM would provide the curriculum and experts to train all the local businessmen or owners in the industry to be trainers for the institute.
“We will hold a meeting with all members in early September to talk about preparations for the institute and fund-raising initiatives,” he said.
“We will push to start the first course in early 2019 as we want all the real estate owners to get trained to be the trainers in order to reduce the costs, once we open the institute,” Mr Heang added.
At present, the CVEA has 102 real estate companies as members.
Sorn Seap, the founder and director of Key Real Estate and who has been in the industry for decades, welcomed the idea and said he hoped it would build up more human resources for the sector, which is in need of professional people with broad knowledge.
“It is the right time for the industry to have a real estate school because all of us who have been working in the industry have just been following what others have been doing all along,” he said.
“So once we have a school which specialises in the industry, it will offer the right concepts and theories and plus with our practical experience, the industry would grow in a sustainable and professional way.
“Once we have more professional human resources, it will also build confidence for both locals and foreigners to invest in our country. This would build our competitiveness, although many other countries have not had schools in the industry.”
Chou Ngeth, a senior consultant at Emerging Markets Consulting, agreed with the idea. He said that while billions of dollars had been injected into the construction sector every year, Cambodia should have a school for the industry to produce more human resources, although the laws or regulations for the industry have not been finalised.
“We don’t have professionals who are specialised in real estate. The sector is becoming more sophisticated and now it is the right time. The market is mature enough for the plan,” he said.
“Even if the law doesn’t exist for regulating the sector, there is no reason not to have the institute. The plan would bring in best practices and professionalism to the sector,” he added.
“I believe if the institute does a good job and produces highly qualified professionals for the sector, this could be a significant value-added thing for Cambodia compared to other countries in the region.”
Since 2000, the government has issued construction permits to 37,637 projects, the equivalent to 93.56 million square metres, bringing in approximately $32.62 billion in investment capital, according to the data from Ministry of Land Management, Urban and Planning.
The report also pointed out that construction investment in the first six months of 2017 reached $4.94 billion, compared with $3.87 billion over the same period last year, an increase of 27.44 percent.