Construction Industry Sees 43 Percent Investment Increase

Investment in Cambodia’s booming construction industry increased by 43.3 percent over the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to data released by the Land Management Ministry on Tuesday.

A total of 1,020 new construction projects worth about $4 billion—and covering 5.6 million square meters—were approved from January to the end of last month, compared to 712 projects worth $2.8 billion approved during the same period last year, says the report, which was posted to the ministry’s website.

A construction site near Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Of those new projects, 147 were residential complexes.

The ministry said that applications for a further 1,011 construction projects by 970 different companies are pending approval.

Between 2000 and last month, overseas private investment from 18 different countries backed 304 projects totaling $4.5 billion and occupying 13 million square meters, says the report.

There are now 901 high-rise buildings—structures that are higher than five floors—25 more than last year, across the country, though most are found within the capital, the report adds.

Seng Lot, spokesman for the Land Management Ministry, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Miguel Chanco, lead regional analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, said the new figures were consistent with the kind of growth the industry has seen inside the country for years.

“The latest figures simply confirm what has been the case for a few years now—that construction remains a key growth driver in Cambodia and that the country continues to punch above its weight regionally in terms of the share of construction projects to the size of its (relatively small) economy,” Mr. Chanco said.

However, oversaturation of Phnom Penh’s residential real estate market and the “banks’ high exposure to this segment of the economy” was worrying, he said.

“I would certainly be concerned if a big proportion of these new projects are in Phnom Penh’s residential real estate market, which has looked shaky over the past few quarters or so,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Hannah Hawkins)

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