Coastal Developments Add New Niche to Property Market

May Kunmakara and Vincent MacIsaac / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
An artist’s illustration of the first tower of Sunshine Bay, the first large-scale condominium project in Sihanoukville, which is being built on Independence Beach. Courtesy Bonna Realty Group Courtesy Bonna Realty Group

With the recent groundbreaking of the luxury Royal Sands residential project on Koh Rong by a Cambodian conglomerate Royal Group and two major luxury condominium projects being developed on or near the shoreline of Sihanoukville, real-estate agents say a new chapter has begun in the property market along the coast.

Cheng Kheng, managing director of realtor CPL Cambodia Property, said the new projects on the coast and on Koh Rong – Cambodia’s largest island – are proof that the property market in the area is taking off in Preah Sihanouk. 

“It is the starting point for the province,” Mr. Kheng said, adding that the upmarket developments will also add luster to the property market nationwide.
 
“Sihanouk province does not only have commercial and condo developments on the mainland. We also have development at the islands. We will see many more buildings rising in the near future,” he said .

The projects are targeting wealthy Cambodians, as well as foreign nationals looking for vacation homes along white sand beaches, and with an ocean view, Mr. Kheng said.  

The $20 million Royal Sands Koh Rong is a joint venture between Royal Group and Luzi Matzig, CEO of travel group Asian Trails. It held its groundbreaking ceremony on December 12. The project will take just one year to complete, with construction of the more than 60 houses and villas scheduled for completion in December next year.

Mr. Matzig said during the groundbreaking ceremony that he had visited the island several times before selecting the Royal Group as his development partner. The project on Sok San beach, described by many as the island’s most pristine and beautiful beach, aims to be one of the most attractive in Asia, he said.  

“It is our aim to provide top accommodations in a relaxed and beautiful natural environment. All our villas, except for the presidential villa, will be single [floor] style. We don’t want any high-rise buildings on this most beautiful beach. And we hope there will not be any high-rise buildings in the future,” he said.

Two major luxury condominium projects – D’Seaview and Sunshine Bay – are also being developed behind Sihanoukville’s Sokha beach and on Independence Beach respectively.         Construction of the first tower of Sunshine Bay began at the southeast end of Independence Beach in early June. When completed in late 2018, the 25-story tower will have 275 units. More than 200 of these units were sold before the groundbreaking ceremony on May 18, with over half booked by Taiwanese investors, according to Sok Dara, director of Golden Sands Hotel Group, a unit of Cambodia-based SGPD Corp. The sales occurred with virtually no advertisement and no showrooms for the project, Mr. Dara previously told Khmer Times.

The project is a 50-50 joint venture between SGPD Group and Singaporean firm Holiday Hotel International Inc., Sok Sophal, the eldest son of SGPD founder and executive chairman Khou Kim Leng, told Khmer Times. SGPD is also building one of the capital’s largest freehold mixed-development projects, the Skyline.

Chrek Soknim, chief executive officer of realtor Century 21 VTRUST,  said the rise in foreign tourists in the coastal area, especially Preah Sihanouk, improving infrastructure and an international airport, were factors driving the new projects in the province. He described the emergence of luxury residential projects on the coast as a new niche for Cambodia’s real estate market, and that realtors would have to carefully target potential customers.

Foreign nationals looking for vacation homes are likely to be the first to snap up housing, he said. “It this goes smoothly, local buyers will follow,” Mr. Soknim said, adding that the process would be “time consuming.” 

“With a growing number of tourists visiting coastal areas, I don’t think sales of villas, residences or condo there will be a problem,” he added. 

On February 26, leading Singaporean developer HLH Group Limited said it had reached a deal to acquire a plot of land in Cambodia for $1.77 million, on which it plans to develop public executive condominium and shop houses in Preah Sihanouk. 

On June 18, HLH Group Ltd announced its entry into the Cambodian property market with the launch of Camhomes, a property development firm developing quality housing and condos for the middle-income market in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and other major cities.

The 735-unit D’Seaview, by HLH Group, targets young Cambodians who demand “high quality” homes. Prices will start at $33,000 per unit and interested buyers are required to go through a registration process similar to Singapore’s public housing application procedures, according to a press release from the company. 

Johnny Ong, founder and CEO of HLH Group, said in the press release that Camhomes would make it easier for young professional families to buy a home by offering a range of attractive financing options.
“We want to offer quality, affordable housing to young Cambodian professionals and families with big dreams and a mid-range income,” Mr. Ong said. “We’ve been building these types of homes for Singaporean families for over 25 years. We believe this business model will work very well in the Cambodian market and will help young Cambodians realize their dreams of home ownership,” Mr. Ong said. 

Chan Nita, a senior marketing person at Camhomes, told Khmer Times yesterday that more than 30 percent of the units had been sold since its  launch and most buyers were Cambodian. 

“We offer a very affordable price. That’s why we see a lot local buyers,” she said. “In addition, it is a mixed development so our people will buy a second home for their holiday or vacation,” she added.

Ms. Nita said that the development project, with 735 residential units 66 commercial units, will have its groundbreaking ceremony on January 16. Construction will be completed in three to five years, she added.  

Sok Chenda Sophea, secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, said in late September that Preah Sihanouk province had been identified as a model industrial zone for the implementation of the government’s Industrial Development Policy. 

Century 21 VTRUST’s Chrek Soknim said that the limited number of construction projects on the coast would ensure there would be no oversupply for years to come.

Mr. Soknim said pricing was critical. If the prices target only the wealthy they may not be successful immediately because the number of potential buyers in Cambodia, in that price range, is small. In the long-term, however, it may pay off to be exclusive, due to the natural beauty of the area, he added.  
   
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said during the opening of the three day Sea Festival in Kampot on December 12 that Cambodia’s beaches had seen a rise in visitors of more than 15 percent during the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period last year.
 
 

Tycoon Kith Meng (L) makes an offerring before a groundbreaking ceremony for a project on Koh Rong. Supplied
 

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