Phnom Penh versus Bangkok: the battle for investors

Phnom Penh
Reading Time: 4 minutes

With property prices about half of those in Bangkok, and average rental returns as much as 2 percent higher, it’s easy to see why Phnom Penh may challenge Bangkok for overseas property investments.

Interest from overseas buyers, especially from China, is rising but like Bangkok, Phnom Penh could be set to experience oversupply in some sectors.

That said Ross Wheble, the Country Head for Knight Frank in Cambodia, told ThailandProperty.News: “There are a number of factors that make Cambodia an attractive destination.”

“Foreigners are able to purchase freehold property outright from the first floor and above, and own up to 70 percent of an entire building (compared with 49 percent in Thailand).”

Cambodia is seeing strong economic growth and relatively low inflation, Wheble said, adding that the fact that Cambodia is a dollarized economy helps to mitigate currency risks.

“A company can be 100 percent foreign-owned (if not holding land) and there are no restrictions on the repatriation of profits,” he said.

Crowdsource data website lists prices to rent a one-bedroom central Bangkok property as being THB 20, 910 compared with THB 14,845 for a Phnom Penh equivalent.

Central Phnom Penh average gross rental returns, at 5.78 percent, are significantly higher compared with the 3.99 percent for Bangkok that users of the website have confirmed.

For rentals, Phnom Penh does appear to offer exceptional value. This furnished central one-bedroom ready-to-move unit (pictured} is available through Knight Frank Cambodia for US$ 400 (THB 13,000) per month.

Modern, spacious apartments are available for sale at significant less than THB 2 million, and below anything you can buy within central Bangkok.

Chinese buyer demand in Phnom Penh rose by 19 percent during the first half of 2018 compared with the previous six-month period.

That’s according to Carrie Law, the Chief Executive Officer of, the number one Chinese international property website.

Law told ThailandProperty.News: “Buyers are drawn to luxurious developments such as The Bridge,⁠ which offers rooftop pools, an integrated gymnasium, reading lounge, sauna, playground, barbecue area, and an outdoor dining area at what are bargain prices by global standards.”

A one-bedroom, off-plan apartment at The Bridge starts at about US$ 130,000 (THB 4.24 million).

“There are risks,” Law added.

“There is a looming oversupply of new condo units and a thin rental market for the high-end condos that are so appealing to many Chinese buyers.”

She added that industry sources have reported the Cambodian capital has 8,942 luxury apartments today, will have 22,828 by the end of 2018 and about 30,000 by 2020.⁠

“While inexpensive by global standards, these properties are well out of the reach of local buyers”.

She concluded: “We are firm believers in the long-term potential of investments in Cambodian property, but as a developing market it will most likely go through some turbulence in the medium-term.”


Note for clarity: Andrew Batt, the Founder and Editor of ThailandProperty.News, is a columnist for Chinese international property website on matters relating to Thailand property and real estate.

Andrew Batt
The author of this article is Andrew Batt, the founder and editor of Andrew has been writing about property and real estate issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia for more than 10 years. He has worked for PropertyGuru Group, DDproperty, Dot Property Group, Hipflat and AsiaRents. He has also produced content for leading Thailand property developers and real estate agencies.

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