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Issue 02 | September 2016 |

P.8 As Cambodia Develops, So does the Government: P.12 How to Celebrate Pchum Ben the Khmer Way The Enforcement of Cambodia’s Business Laws P. 18 International Schools in Phnom Penh Ever P.23 A Fool-Proof Guide to Property Valuation Parent Should Check Out

Issue 02 | September 2016 |

FEATURES As Cambodia Develops, So does the Government: The Enforcement of Cambodia’s Business Laws GRANT FITZGERALD / PAGE 8

International Schools in Phnom Penh Every Parent Should Check Out LACHLAN LEE / PAGE 18

A Fool-Proof Guide to Property Valuation SOVANNAROTH KHAN / PAGE 23

NEWS & LIFESTYLE Phnom Penh’s New Commercial office buildings and how to choose your next office PAGE 10

How to Celebrate Pchum Ben the Khmer Way PAGE 12

Phnom Penh’s New Khmer Architecture PAGE 13

Cambodian Property Titles: Everything You Need to Know PAGE 14

Biggest Mistakes that First-Time Homebuyers Make PAGE 29

The Nominee Structure for Foreign Buyers - How Does it Work? PAGE 32

Little Known Facts About Siem Reap’s Real Estate Market PAGE 33

IPS Siem Reap Exclusive Listings: Properties You Won’t Find Anywhere Else PAGE 34

Central Siem Reap’s Neighborhood Gems PAGE 36

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Welcome to the 2nd issue of Cambodian

I P S - C A M B O D I A

Property Investor




On a typical day, we encounter different property investors walking into the IPS office. Inquiries often lead to technical issues that the average property investor in Cambodia is ill-informed on, whether it be confusion regarding legal foreign ownership structures, leasing agreements, valuation processes, or rental and property taxes. At IPS, we want to inform our clients and the greater public the right way to do property transactions in Cambodia. We take spreading quality property information very seriously. When you read Grant Fitzgerald’s article on the Cambodian Government’s continued push for taxation compliance and enforcement, you will become a little more prepared for the changing business environment as Cambodia continues to integrate within the ASEAN business community. In a related piece, Head of Valuations, Sovannaroth Khan, discusses how to do property valuations - the right way. We have included area maps with our own price guidance highlighting current land square metre rates in this fast moving market. We hope this helps you make a more informed decision when making your next property purchase. This issue of Cambodian Property Investor includes a list of International Schools, carefully handpicked by our Phnom Penh Branch Manager, Lachlan Lee. The article is a great starting point for parents searching for the best school for their children. Also in this issue is a variety of interesting topics, including an explanation of the Pchum Ben holiday, casting light on the little known neighbourhood gems in Siem Reap, and we, of course, take a look at the current state of the Cambodian Real Estate market. We invite you to read, be enlightened and integrate our tips into your own plans, whether you are buying or selling your property through

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LACHLAN LEE Branch Manager - Phnom Penh NIGEL DOUGHAN Head of Commercial Leasing SYTO NHIEV Property Consultant SOVANNAROTH KHAN Head of Valuations +855 77 959 861 #182 Street 63 (cnr St 294), Boeung Keng Kang 1, Phnom Penh

SIEM REAP ANDREAS REITERER General Manager - Siem Reap DAKA KUN Branch Manager - Siem Reap PARY HOUR Property Consultant KUNTHEA HEM Property Management Officer PHON BORA Property Management Officer +855 17 843 423 #618 Wat Bo Road (cnr St 26), Siem Reap

Independent Property Services ( is the leading agent in the booming Cambodian real estate market, with two offices in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, providing premium real estate opportunities for international and local clients. For inquiries: Want your business to be in the next issue of Cambodian Property Investor Magazine? E-mail us at or find us on

As Cambodia Develops, So does the Government The Enforcement of Cambodia’s Business Laws BY GRANT FITZGERALD Cambodia has traditionally been an easy place to set up and conduct business in the SEA region, as the government has often lacked the will or capabilities to enforce a range of standard regulations and taxes. With loose regulations, many local and foreign businesses have had the luxury of picking and choosing which rules and taxes they adhere to. However, 2016 has witnessed a palpable shift at various government ministries with many of them shifting towards stronger enforcement resulting and has resulted in many businesses scrambling to comply with the applicable laws. One of the major areas that has been targeted by the government has been property related taxes. “Land or Property Tax” is the annual fee paid by owners of landed and hard title property and the regulation is now being enforced much more rigorously. Whilst seemingly straight forward, this has created a number of issues for businesses. Recently I have heard from a number of frustrated business owners who are renting office space tell of a situation where their legal documents (certificate of incorporation, relevant licenses, etc.) are not being released by the Ministry until the landlord produces a property tax receipt for the corresponding year. This is a delicate situation, as the business owners need their legal paperwork to operate, but are not necessarily in a position to push their landlord to pay the property tax. Another property related tax that is being cracked down on is Rental Tax. This is a 10% tax applied to rental income derived from a property. Many landlords, in particular owners of apartment complexes, are now adding 10% to their rental fees to offset the payments they now need to make for the government. Villa owners are beginning to comply with the tax as the authorities ramp up their enforcement campaign. Value added Tax (VAT), a 10% tax on an extensive range of business transactions and imports, is now being followed by the government much more closely. Whilst some industries have been VAT compliant for a number of years, businesses such as restaurants and bars have largely managed to avoid paying VAT. Noticeably, a number of restaurants and bars in Phnom Penh started charging VAT on top of

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their menu prices and more and more businesses will have to follow suit over the next 12 months. Foreigners have not esccaped the eye of government. On 25th May, the Director of Phnom Penh Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction issued a notification letter instructing the Chiefs of all 12 Khans in Phnom Penh City to not process any titles in a foreign buyers’ name unless the specific conditions for a co-owned building are met. Essentially, they are now enforcing a law that has always been in existence but previously allowed individual Sangkats to enforce it at their discretion. This has spelt the end of foreigners being able to own a soft title property in their own name. New laws have also been brought in specifically targeted at foreign workers and long-term foreign residents. In July 2016, the Department of Immigration announced that it would introduce a new Visa for Retirees living in Cambodia. This new Visa, to be known as a “Category ER” Visa, will be valid for up to one year and will not require a work permit. However, to obtain the Visa, you will be required to produce proof of financial stability and documentation from your home country proving retiree status. This is a large shift away from what has traditionally been a permissive environment for foreigners to obtain a long term Visa/ In addition to this new Visa, there is the growing enforcement of Work Permits around the country. Officially, a Work Permit is required in order to obtain a “Category E” Business Visa, which allows foreigners to stay in Cambodia and seek employment for up to 12 months on a renewable basis. Although this is still loosely enforced when applying for a Business Visa, the Department of Immigration is now conducting audits of businesses with foreign employees to ensure that Work Permits have been obtained. Whilst these changes may be frustrating for long-term expats and business owners, they are nothing out of the ordinary for a country that is growing fast and looking to become an economic player in the ASEAN region. There is talk of more changes in the pipeline, too, which essentially means that the “good old days” of loose regulations and taxes are coming to an end.

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Phnom Penh’s New Commercial Office Buildings and how to choose your next office



ith the skyrocketing levels of construction in the Kingdom, it’s no wonder people are starting to compare buildings based on their “Grade.” Commercial buildings are categorized by their position on a comparative scale that rates them from A to C, based on a range of measureable traits. This rating scale, recognized internationally as the ‘be all and end all’ of building quality, determines where a new building fits in the market and influences the rental prices and the type of tenants it attracts. Cambodia is relatively new to this scale, and in the past the quality of office buildings has hovered around ‘C’, with very few buildings making it past entry level. Historically, office space in Phnom Penh was available in villas, shop houses, and low-quality small office buildings. Over the last decade, however, we have seen massive growth in the commercial office building market. About eight years ago, Canadia Tower opened and led the market for a few years until Phnom Penh Tower arrived and slightly surpassed it in quality. From there we waited several more years until Vattanac Tower opened and clearly overtook all that had come before it - the building proudly boasting it was Phnom Penh’s first Grade A office tower. Now we have Raintree and Exchange Square challenging the status quo for the best available office space. With many new buildings becoming available in the market, there is literally a smorgasbord of options available to a new market entrant. Here is a framework for people to be better equipped to compare different options and find the most appropriate solution for their office needs: For a building to be rated as Grade A, it must meet most of the following criteria: It must have high-quality building systems, such as fire services, power supply, lifts (elevators), security, air conditioning and ventilation and a building management system. It also needs to have high-quality design and construction, including appropriate ceiling heights, open floor plans, large floor plates, good natural lighting and professional common areas. Finally, to meet the Grade A standard a new building must be in a very prominent location, have high-quality building management, and readily have available all the facilities that a modern business would require. Pricing for this higher quality space starts at $25 per square metre and goes up from there.

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Grade B buildings generally fall short in more than a few of these categories. They may reside slightly further away from the CBD, have inferior systems, or be a little older. However, these buildings often make a very strong case to be chosen for office space. One major influencer is the price. Grade B Buildings are generally priced in the range of $15-$25 per square metre, including service charges. This can allow a larger company to make significant savings over Grade A space. Buildings that fall into the Grade C category are those older office buildings that don’t meet the above standards. They are generally lacking in safety features and quality services but still appeal to a certain segment of the market, usually those focussed on price. These spaces commonly rent for $10-$15 per square metre and are in abundant supply around Phnom Penh. In Phnom Penh, we have Vattanac Tower, Exchange Square, and Raintree as the only potential Grade A buildings. Vattanac is very impressive from the outside but remains largely unoccupied for reasons that are a mystery. Raintree is a brand new building on Ang Duong St. It has very strong demand for commercial space after leasing all its retail space before the opening date. Exchange Square is still several months from operation, but it also has strong demand for both its retail and commercial spaces. In the Grade B market, Phnom Penh has a plethora of options, either buildings already operating or those about to come on to the market. The very popular Phnom Penh Tower and Canadia Tower boast very high occupancy rates, with limited vacant space. Other attractive Grade B+/options include the soon-to-open Sokea International building on Monivong, the Maybank building on Norodom, the Emerald Building, also on Norodom, or for a decent quality and cost effective solution, the brand new Vision Fund Building on Monivong in BKK1. At IPS Cambodia, our commercial agents are always adding new options to our comprehensive list of commercial options for new firms entering the market or companies looking to move from or upgrade their current offices. Whether you are in the Grade A, B or C market, or searching for that elusive perfect space that is something out of the ordinary, we would be happy to aid you in that search. Contact to open the door to all the commercial opportunities available in the Cambodian capital.

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Phnom Penh’s New Khmer Architecture




How to Celebrate Pchum Ben the Khmer Way Living in Cambodia as an expat is one

thing, tasting the real local life is another.

Local IPS Residential Property Consultant, Tim Vathanak,

explains the importance of the Pchum Ben Festival.

Pchum Ben is one of the longest religious celebrations in Cambodia, usually lasting for 15 days. The exact dates vary every year in accordance to the Khmer lunar calendar, but usually fall late in September to the first few weeks of October. This year, the Pchum Ben Festival starts on September 30. Pchum Ben is a time for the Khmer people to remember and pay tribute to their deceased loved ones through ceremonies and processions around temples, lighting incenses, and most importantly, by bringing food offerings. The first day of the ceremony to the 14th is called “Dak Ben”, or “Khan Ben”, and Cambodians count each day of the ceremony as Ben one, Ben two, and so on. Day 15, which is the last day of the ceremony, is known as “Pchum Ben”, or “Pchum Thom”. The locals usually go home to their own provinces, or gather around pagodas to get blessings from the monks performing rituals. During this time of the year, the locals, especially the women, can be seen around wearing bright colored silk clothing or scarves. They also take time making ‘Bai Bens’, or balls of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk mixed with different ingredients depending on their local custom.

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Those who are deeply traditional, would get up early in the morning before the sunrise in order to offer these ‘Bai Ben’ or ‘Pieces of rice’ to the hungry ghosts that cannot bare the sun. Pchum or Brochum translates to “meeting” or “gathering”, while Ben means “a ball” of rice or meat as an offering. According to the Khmer beliefs, Pchum Ben is the only period when the souls and spirits of their loved ones can receive offerings, and maybe, gain some relief from their living relatives who consecrate and dedicate food and other offerings to them. If you find yourself in Cambodia during Pchum Ben, take this time to take part in their symbolic events, join the local crowds streaming to the temples and pagodas in any part of the country, and take part in “Pun Phnom Ksach” or “Building sand hills”, offering money to the elders, monks or the pagoda. You can also walk around the compound of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, or tour the Cultural Village in Siem Reap. Either way, this is an interesting time to get a glimpse on the diversity of the beautiful Khmer culture, making the countr y a true Kingdom of Wonder.

otted around Phnom Penh are the remains of a vernacular expression of European modernist architecture, known as New Khmer. The figurehead of this movement was Vann Molyvann who studied architecture in post WWII Paris at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where the work and thinking of Le Corbusier had a strong influence. New Khmer architecture combines truth to structural materials and refined simplicity of modernism with sensitivity to climate and geography specific to traditional Khmer buildings, such as the world renowned temples of Angkor Wat. Buildings such as Molyvann’s Teachers Training College (now the Foreign Language Institute) and the Olympic Stadium, both demonstrates that modernism could be at once international and idiosyncratic. While the links to regionally specific buildings can be made at both functional and stylistic levels, the buildings are realised with a confidence that allows them to transcend the limitations of context. The striking repetition of abstract geometrical forms and paradoxical combination of the skeletal and the muscular, of lightness and heaviness, allow both the Training College and the Stadium to exert an influence that is wholly their own. In this sense, Molyvann’s work demonstrates the tension between “the inherent striving of form to achieve complete autonomy” (Koltz, 1988) and the customs of making on which humans inevitably depend for their inspiration. At an impressionistic, aesthetic level, the Training College resembles something from the set of a science fiction film as much as it does the traditional Khmer vernacular. The discrete classrooms or “pods” seem as though they have landed on the site, floating on diagonal, cement stilts. Molyvann’s taste for the support generating capacity of diagonals is again on show at the Olympic Stadium, which achieves a remarkable structural continuity despite accommodating a variety of performative spaces, including a sports field, athletics track, basketball court and swimming pool. The Stadium is one of the most dynamic buildings of its kind, in both design and atmosphere. The structure is typically buzzing with activity, with people engaged in formal and informal sporting and leisure pursuits. From the perspective of a Sydney local, who is used to large stadiums that are either remotely located or uninviting to the outsid-

er, the Olympic Stadium is an example of how large piece of sporting infrastructure should be integrated into the heart of a city. The style and principles of New Khmer architecture have in part been forgotten due to historical misfortune and the growing dominance of glass and air conditioning, convergent technologies which are an unfortunate characteristic of rapidly modernising urban environments. Hopefully, the Cambodian government has the foresight to protect and preserve its iconic New Khmer buildings, so the Cambodian people can continue to enjoy their utility from a health and cultural perspective, while capitalising on the increasingly value they present as tourist destinations. Tom Lee is a lecturer in design history in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney. He has a PhD in comparative literature, focusing on the innovative syntax of WG Sebald and has published on topics including cemetery design, environmental aesthetics, literary lists, Peter Sloterdijk, contemporary aesthetic theory and the prose of Cormac McCarthy. Tom has travelled to Cambodia on two occasions over the last three years. @theaustralianugliness

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Cambodian Property Titles: Everything You Need to Know


Beautiful French Colonial Penthouse in Daun Penh

BY GRANT FITZGERALD In our continuing series of articles for property investors, Country Manager Grant Fitzgerald takes us through the various forms of ownership available in Cambodia. The forms of property ownership in Cambodia have been constantly expanding since the government reinstated individual property ownership laws in the 90s. Overall the changes have been positive as property titles have become more detailed & secure and more recently we have seen allowances for foreign ownership. So what titles are available and what do they actually mean?

Soft Titles

Soft titles are the most common form of ownership with some estimating up to 85% of all property held in Cambodia is held under soft title. A soft title is registered at the Sangkat (council) and Khan (district) levels only and is not registered at the National level. As the administration of these titles are managed by the local authorities, soft titles are transferred quickly (normally less than 10 working days) and at a low cost.

Hard Titles

Hard title properties are the strongest form of land ownership in Cambodia. Hard titles are registered at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (National level). In the rare instance where a property has a hard title and a soft title, the hard title supercedes claims of ownership based on possessory right. Because of this some property owners prefer to deal with hard titles. Transfer of hard titles are managed by the Cadastral office and usually takes around 12 weeks. There is a 4% transfer tax on the “property value”, with the valuation being calculated by an official from the Cadastral office.


The “Land Management and Administration Project” or LMAP is the third type of land title available in Cambodia. In conjunction with the World Bank, the program launched

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2 BEDROOMS / 3 BATHS USD 295,000

in 2002 and has been rolled out in selected provinces over the last decade or so. The project was designed to help implement a systematic registration system and improve the quality of information in land tenure. Similar to a hard title, an LMAP title is recognized at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (National level). Where an LMAP differs from a Hard title is an LMAP is effectively a Hard Title with Geo-tagged points - GPS coordinates clearly identifying the properties boundaries. An LMAP transfer process takes around 12 weeks and the transfer cost is a 4% of the property’s “value” which is determined by a Cadastral official.

This beautiful French colonial duplex apartment in Daun Penh features two bedrooms with en-suites, a small office, outdoor kitchen and three terraces. It has a total size of 326 sqm. with a huge unrenovated roof-top terrace and an amazing view of Phnom Penh. This property has a safe entrance and is located less than 5 minutes from central market. (Property ID: 3947)

Co-ownership “Strata Titles”

“Strata titles” are possession rights over property that has been given special approval that allows for co-ownership of a property by Khmer nationals and foreigners. To be granted a co-ownership title the property must meet a number of criteria: Only applies to new buildings – construction occurring 2010 and onwards Foreign ownership is limited to 70% of the total surface size of all units in the co-owned building Foreign ownership cannot be the ground floor or underground floor Building cannot be located within 30km of any land border A co-ownership title is recognized at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (National level). The transfer process takes around 12 weeks and the transfer cost is a 4% of the property’s “value” which is determined by a cadastral official. The Cambodian property market and the Laws governing land and buildings continue to evolve. Whether you are a Khmer national or foreign purchaser there are a number of ways in which to secure your investment. We will look at these structures in our next article.


Charming one Bedroom flat in Daun Penh 1 BEDROOM / 1 BATH USD 149,000

This French colonial style apartment is well lit throughout with plenty of natural light and high ceilings. Located within walking distance to Central Market, it features a large open plan living area and fully equipped kitchen, all beautifully finished with great attention to detail. It has a large balcony that would serve as a great entertaining area with a panoramic views of the surrounding streetscape. (Property ID: 2091)

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Charming western style Home in Prek Pra

Rare French Colonial duplex near River



USD 485,000

USD 280,000

This house located in Prek Pra is a fantastic opportunity to live 10 minutes aways from Phnom Penh. With 1,250 sqm., it caters five bedroom with swimming pool, and another four bedroom house adjacent to it. The larger house has two car garages on the street. The house is only 3km from the Monivong Bridge to Chbar Ampov and a investment to stay just outside the bustling city. (Property ID: 4435)

Renovated in 2011, this 110 sqm. duplex keeps all the charm of the French Colonial style with modern touches throughout. It features a kitchen, living area, 2nd bedroom, and a balcony with stairs leading to a large master bedroom that includes an ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet. Located on St. 240, the apartment looks out towards the Royal Palace and the National Museum. (Property ID: 3993)

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Luxurious Three Bedroom Villa in Tonle Bassac

Well-Established Business For Sale in Phnom Penh



USD 850,000

USD 140,000

This luxurious three bedroom villa is located in the popular Tonle Bassac area. The property comes elegantly furnished that features a spacious living room, a modern kitchen, 4 bathrooms with a small garden laced balcony. It has a total land size of 300 sqm and comes with a hard title. It also includes space for car or motorbike parking. (Property ID: 3615)

Fully fitted out and currently operating, the owners of this established business in BKK1 are relocating back to their home country. The business lease includes everything on site, a three bedroom apartment, and turn key operation. The property has strong revenue history with great staff. (Property ID: 4258)

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CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (CIS) Grades: Nursery to year 9 (with plans to expand to year 12) School fees: $7,000 (kindergarten) - $14,000 (7-9) Location: Bassac Garden city & Diamond Island The Canadian International School teaches the Alberta curriculum, and in partnership with the New French International School, it will teach a bilingual French/English curriculum. The new facilities will cater for up to 1200 students. Web:

International Schools in Phnom Penh Every Parent Should Check Out BY LACHLAN LEE


nternational’ Schools in Phnom Penh are as ubiquitous as Tuk-tuks. There seems to be a new one sprouting up each month. Often trying to promote a likeness to the western style of education with school names linked to well-known cities, countries or prestigious universities. The names, however, tends to be the only link. International Schools were originally set up to cater for students of expat families who needed access to a curriculum and a learning environment similar to the one they would receive in their home country. Parents want an education that is portable so that they can relocate back to their home or another country, and their children’s education will not have suffered as a result of their move. It is also very important for many parents that their children’s’ high school education is recognised by a range of Universities around the world. In a developing nation like Cambodia, International Schools have become hugely popular with the Cambodian elite and burgeoning middle class, and have also become a big business. The explosion of schools promoting themselves as an International School in Phnom Penh is a direct result of the success of the large, well-known institutions. It is also

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emblematic of the growing demand from Cambodian families wanting to provide their children with an education that opens up global opportunities. More and more Cambodians now have the ability to afford an international education, and more and more schools are setting up to tap into this surge in demand. For a family moving to Phnom Penh, finding the right school is as important as finding a place to live, and is a discussion we, at IPS Cambodia, have regularly with parents planning their move to Cambodia. So how do you sift through the proverbial chaff to find the wheat? Most of the parents that walk through our doors at IPS, sends their children to International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP), Northbridge, iCAN British International School, The Canadian International School (CIS), or Lycee Descartes (The French School). This does not mean that these are the only reputable schools in Phnom Penh, but is a decent starting point if you are looking for an internationally recognised school that teaches a curriculum that is transferable, and provides a learning environment and peers from a diverse set of nations; preparing your children to adapt to a multicultural world.

LYCEE FRANCAIS RENE DESCARTES (THE FRENCH SCHOOL) Grades: Nursery – year 12 Location: Wat Phnom Whilst Lycee Descarts offers a Franco-centric education, it is certainly not limited to French expats or French speakers. With 70% (40% bi-lingual) of the students French speaking and offering an education accredited by the French Ministry of education, it has long been favoured by parents considering relocation to France. Web: INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF PHNOM PENH (ISPP) Grades: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 12 School fees: $7,120 (pre-KG) - $22,210 in the high school years Location: Hun Neang Boulevard, Chak Angre Opening in 1989, ISPP is Cambodia’s first international school. With state of the art facilities and offering the IB curriculum, ISPP holds an enviable reputation amongst the International Schools for teachers and parents alike. Web: NORTHBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL CAMBODIA Grades: Nursery – year 12 School fees: $14050 (k, 1)- $19,650 (11, 12) Location: St. 2004, Sen Sok Owned by Nord Anglia Education, Northbridge distinguishes itself from the other international schools being a part of a Global Campus of schools, with 43 other Nord Anglia Schools around the world. The grounds are expansive and green and the facilities are modern. Web: ICAN BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Grades: Nursery – year 9 School fees: $8,190 (k, 1-4) - $10,920 (years 7-9) in the high school years Location: Tonle Bassac Centrally located opposite Aeon Mall, ICAN is primary school and middle school focused. ICAN teaches the International Primary Education Curriculum (IPC) and International Middle Year Curriculum (IMYC). ICAN offers a high quality education with a central location and with slightly lower fees than their larger counterparts. Web:

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OFFICE NOW LEASING +855 (0) 85 385 728


A Fool-Proof Guide to Property Valuation BY SOVANNAROTH KHAN

In a market that lacks transparency, an impartial and properly researched property valuation is an important source of information for residential and commercial property owners, banks, and investors. Unfortunately, the valuation process can often take a back seat in the sale process or can be clouded by the ‘opinions’ of interested parties. At its heart, a property valuation is an opinion. Most real estate agents will be able to offer you an opinion of the market value of a property, however, it is the processes and the research underlying a property valuation, which will determine its importance. So why does property valuation take a back seat in the sale process? Property ownership in Cambodia has a relatively short history compared to the global norm. For many property owners in Cambodia, the sale of a property is often not a commercial decision, but often one based on necessity or opportunism. There is also an inherent lack of trust in companies and institutions; especially those claiming to wield the truth. Why is valuation Important? Every property owner has an opinion of what their property is worth and every buyer has their own opinion. In markets that lack transparency or there is an in-balance of information, this creates inefficient markets where the variance in pricing of properties with similar characteristics is very large. Initially, this will create plenty of opportunities and risks for both buyers and sellers. In the long run, however, this dramatically reduces market liquidity. Sellers react by pricing well above what we think is fair and buyers offer well below the market value - so you have a stale mate. At IPS, we see valuation as a process to remedy this stalemate and improve transparency so that there are better outcomes for all market participants. How do you reach a valuation? There are many ways to value a property. If you talk to three different valuers regarding the value of a house, you will get 111, Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh 1st Floor, AEON Mall, Phnom Penh 22 | Cambodian Property Investor

l Open daily 7.00 am - 8.30 pm l l Open daily 9.00 am - 9.00 pm l

Tel: 023 223 622 Tel: 023 901 365

three different values. At IPS, we use a number of different methodologies in measuring the value of a property, then we choose the right method(s) that suits that particular asset or an average of two or more methodologies. It is not only the methodology that is important, but the assumptions used to come to a valuation. These assumptions are crucially important in producing a fair and impartial valuation, and are built up over many years of experience working in the sales process and collecting data. How do you use the data to come to a valuation? For the opinion to hold any weight it must be couched in reality. At IPS, we pride ourselves on having up-to-date and comprehensive price data for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Data that has been compiled by IPS’s head of Valuations, Sovannaroth Khan, and Valuations manager, Cheavly Leang, over a combined fifteen years. From this data, IPS’s valuation team draw their valuation assumptions and use their wealth of experience to create their perception of reality - a valuation. A valuation respected and approved by twelve of the leading banks in Cambodia. For ease of understanding, we are proud to present the general land market price in two main areas where our offices located; Capital City of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap City. It’s also important to note that this map is based on our own research and data collection.

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Biggest Mistakes that First-Time Homebuyers Make Like in most things that people do for the first time, it is almost inexorable for one to commit a handful of mistakes when purchasing one’s first home. That is why securing this big portion of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs requires careful and thorough preparation. So if you do not want to turn your dream into a financial disaster, you must craft that foolproof home-buying plan in order and mark the biggest pitfalls that should make your ‘Must Avoid’ list: Not Being Informed Enough Although clichéd, the adage “knowledge is power” still holds true. You must learn as much as you can about the housing market in order for you to get a good transaction. Newlyweds are the most likely to make the dreaded awareness slip-up, as they are often the optimistic and excited ones to quickly seal a whitepicket-fence deal. Do not buy the very first house you see; be sure to have many options, consider the neighborhood, and develop both short- and long-term perspectives on your acquisition. You may also want to seek the help of agents or real estate companies like IPS Cambodia to guide you in making a good purchase. Make a budget Homeownership is not exactly cheap, but financial planning will make it so that it will not hurt

your pocket so much. List everything: monthly wage, investments, and the detailed inventory of all your expenditures. Only when you know how much you spend will you also find out what you can and cannot afford. While you have the slices in your fiscal pie graph all taken care of, make sure to allow wiggle room for other incidentals. Not considering additional expenses Just because you have funds to acquire the house does not necessarily mean you can afford to live there, too. Do not be one of those first-time buyers that become complacent right after they have secured their dream home. Expenditures start exactly right after that — there are property taxes, insurance, maintenance, mortgage, and utilities to consider. If you are starting a family, you might also want to dedicate a big chunk of your time (and budget, of course) into the massive changes that will occur when you start to have children. Skipping home inspection Too much excitement that comes with being a homeowner can result to this seemingly commonsensical but ironically very usual blunder: neglecting to inspect the house. Before closing on a sale, make sure that you know the physical condition of your dream home in order to avoid unexpected expenses in the form of emergency repairs.

Is there a better way to make your foreign exchange transfers? The traditional way to move money between jurisdictions for overseas property purchases, international salary transfers or when repatriating money has been by bank transfer, at a cost of around $45. Banks will always offer this solution to clients, and most accept it as the norm and don’t quibble with the fee, which may seem reasonable. However the explicit $45 is only the tip of the iceberg when you transfer via banks. Many of you will have noticed that banks publish two sets of currency figures: the buy and the sell. This difference is known as the spread and varies depending on which bank you use. As I write, the market rate for AU$1 is US$0.7615, but ANZ (Australia) offer a rate of AU$1 for US$0.726. This may not seem significant but if you scale up the figures the difference is huge. On a AU$250,000 property purchase transfer, for example, the hidden fee works out at US$8,875! Many people don’t question the bank rate even though there are less expensive ways to make international transfers. When my clients complain about how much they are being charged due to spread they are delighted to find there is a solution. I recommend the services of a currency broker which operates from the safe and regulated environment of the UK. They typically work with a spread of around 1.5% which in the example above would reduce the transfer fee to around US$2,856, a saving of US$6,019! As with most areas of life it pays to be informed, make intelligent decisions and to seek appropriate advice. Banks

seemingly rely on client’s apathy and willingness to accept the status quo but this is one financial planning decision which can save you money. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch with Jonathan on +85577292130 or by emailing him at: Infinity Financial Solutions is Cambodia’s number one expat financial advice provider.

By Jonathan Flexer Jonathan is a Senior Financial Consultant with Infinity Financial Solutions and an expert in personal financial planning.





Attractive Boutique Hotel near the Night Market

Charming Villa in Siem Reap


Located in a calm and secured neighborhood, this 6 bedroom townhouse in Siem Reap is now for sale. The ground floor consists of a large open floor layout that includes the dining room and a separate kitchen. The property comes fully furnished and has a courtyard that can accommodate parking for several vehicles. The luxurious swimming pool is the perfect spot for relaxing. It has a total size of over 350 sqm and comes with a hard title. (Property ID: 4349)

6 BEDROOMS / 8 BATHS USD 450,000

USD 69,000

This attractive boutique hotel business is located in the busy tourist and local hotspot of Night Market and Pub St. It presents a rare opportunity of investment for someone looking to tap into the lucrative hospitality market. With sixteen bedrooms and a restaurant, this property gives an impressive indoor and outdoor atmosphere. Long term rental is also available. (Property ID: 3895)

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Attractive Hotel in Siem Reap

Luxurious Villa in Svay Dong Kum



USD 1,500,000

USD 250,000

This hotel comes fully furnished with high quality appliances and furnitures. It also offers a massive front area and a welcoming ambience. The outdoor swimming pool can be enjoyed with the whole family, with side pool chairs and umbrellas available. Suitably equipped with air conditioning, internet, and bar and restaurant. (Property ID: 4350)

This luxurious 3 bedroom villa in Svay Dong Kum has a total land size of 570 sqm. It features 3 bedrooms, an enjoyable outdoor pool, and an outdoor dining area inclusive of refrigerator, washing machine and gas cooker. There is also ample secured parking for cars and multiple motorbikes. (Property ID: 4348)

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The Nominee Structure for Foreign Buyers How does it Work? BY GRANT FITZGERALD

Foreign client buys a property and the new title is transferred to the nominees’s name

After the new titles are received, the four nominee security agreements are completed

The foreign buyer holds the original property title

Mortgage Agreement

Loan Agreement

Lease Agreement

Security Agreement

This document is registered at the local Sangkat and essentially makes the buyer “the bank” as in a traditional mortgage with a bank back in your home country. Once these documents are in place the nominee can’t sell, transfer, move or do anything with the title without the buyer’s permission

The nominee takes out a “paper loan” (no money actually exchanges hands) from the foreign buyer in the amount of the purchase price with the loan attracting interest throughout the life of the contract. This loan can be called in and enforced in the event the nominee tries to sell the property

This gives the buyer permission to live in the property on a long term basis

This agreement sets out the rights and obligations of the buyer and the nominee, clearly stating what each party can/can’t do.


he vast majority of properties purchased by foreigners in Cambodia use what’s known as a “nominee structure”. At IPS Cambodia, approximately 95% of all our foreign clients choose this structure, as it’s cheap, secure and fast, especially when compared to alternative options such as a Land Holding Company (LHC). Often we have clients who have a Khmer partner or colleague who they put forward as a nominee, however, if they don’t, there are a range of options available to source a nominee for the property for the duration of your ownership. Having a nominee by itself definitely carries some risk, which is why we highly recommend using “nominee security agreements” in order to mitigate the risk of having your property held in a third party’s name. These security agree-

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ments are directly between the foreign buyer and the nominee and normally encompass a total of four securitization documents: When purchasing a property using a nominee structure the process works as follows: A property is purchased by the foreign client and the property title is transferred into the Nominees name. When the new titles are received a mortgage and lease is registered at the Sangkat office. The remaining nominee security documents are also signed in Khmer and English. The foreign buyer holds the original property title. When set up properly, the Nominee structure is a very strong and inexpensive form of property security for Foreign owners. The method allows Foreigners to purchase Soft or Hard Titled property with peace of mind.

Little Known Facts About Siem Reap’s Real Estate Market Siem Reap is known for many things, including an abundance of excellent foreign-owned and operated restaurants and pubs, discos and all-around vibrant nightlife. Local flavor is on exhibit everywhere from the Night Market to the hundreds of street-food vendors that pop up once the sun goes down. It’s easy to experience the fun and excitement of this little city just by stepping outside of your home, apartment or guesthouse. But Siem Reap has a serious side also, and for those wishing to stay awhile or perhaps invest in or rent a property or apartment, there are a few facts that make Siem Reap unique in the Cambodian economy.

Tourism Drives the Siem Reap Economy

Siem Reap is the home to one of the world’s top tourist attractions, Angkor Wat. According to TripAdvisor, Siem Reap was ranked as the number two tourist destination in the world as recently as such statistics became available in 2015. Like a college town in the west, a certain percentage of these young visitors fall in love with Siem Reap and decide to stay, make a home here and raise a family. Although tourists come from all over the world, Chinese tourism is expected to continue to grow at an annual rate of 25%.

Foreigners are Prohibited From Owning Land

Newly-completed building projects usually acquire a “strata-title” as foreigners are limited to owning only upper floors, not ground floors of apartment and condominium buildings. In addition, condominium projects can only be 70% owned by foreigners. Properties can, however, be leased for up to 50 years with an option included for an additional 50.

Full Compliment of Rental Options Available

Siem Reap has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years in the diversity of properties not only available for sale but also those available for rent. You can rent a flat, a villa or townhouse, or a serviced apartment for anywhere from $250 per month, to upwards of $2000 per month

or more depending on your desired level of comfort and opulence. No matter what your budget is, Siem Reap has the property you desire at a price you can afford. A typical one bedroom apartment in Siem Reap rents for about $350 per month.

Commercial Properties are Abundantly Available

If you are looking for a land for residential, touristic, or industrial development, you will have the advantage of entering the market on an early stage. However the developing situation regarding infrastructure and access to basic facilities will require, you will need an in-depth market study and a strong partner like IPS in choosing the right property whether it’s brokering for land, office space, commercial buildings, hotel, or even a guesthouse property. The increasing availability in retail storefronts and office buildings attracts the settlement of start ups in the IT industry and more regional companies are establishing a regional base in Siem Reap. All these can be found in a low, medium, and higher price ranges. is Siem Reap’s and Cambodia’s property experts. We specialize in residential real estate, commercial space, and real estate investment. We are a team of knowledgeable and experienced realtors and have handled hundreds of Siem Reap real estate transactions successfully from the start to finish. IPS-Cambodia | 33



Siem Reap Properties You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

From left: Adventure Apartments, Mony Ratanak Apartments, Richard Apartment and Rose 2 Apartments.



hey say that first impressions are the most important because they are the most lasting. When in Siem Reap, you can easily spot unique properties that are not only visually satisfying but also easy on your pockets. At IPS, we pride ourselves on understanding the essential requirements of buyers and renters in an overwhelming real estate market. In this article, we have handpicked small- and medium-sized apartments that IPS manages across Siem Reap. You can consider this as an insider guide when picking your next home. If you’re curious about the murals inside pagodas and fancy the mixture of religious architecture - Wat Bo is the place for you. Recently opened in late 2015, Mony Ratanak Apartments offer a full range of amenities and services including an action pool, tuk-tuk service, gym, and 24-hour security. One bedroom units are available at 600 USD per month up to 1,500 USD for a luxurious 2 bedroom sky-flat. IPS Property Management Officer Kunthea Hem believes that the apartment gains its success through a balance between its quality of service and its diversity of tenants.More than

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Villa Rata.

10 nationalities, mostly young professionals or businessmen with their families, are represented. We consider Richard Home a dream pick for design-oriented individuals, with its 15 units situated in the safe and central boulevard that leads from main town to Angkor Wat Archeological park. Rental starts at 650 USD per month for a 1 bedroom and goes to 1,500 USD per month for a rooftop penthouse space. Another alternative is Angkor Rata Villa, which recently opened their

doors in May this year. This development has set the benchmark for high end Villas in Siem Reap. The complex includes 5 fully serviced villas designed with privacy in mind. Each Villa includes 2 large bedrooms with ensuites, huge open plan living area including kitchen, lounge and dining and includes shared amenities such as a tropical pool and barbecue area. Due to its success, several tenants have found their way to Siem Reap, choosing temple town as their new home base in South East Asia. Only here can you

afford a luxurious living for a competitive price of 1,200 USD per month. With the booming Siem Reap property market continuing to develop, there are more and more options for young professionals or families that are looking to relocate. Majority of these are serviced complexes being less than 2 years old like the designer condo Adventure House, Rose 2 apartments, and LP Angkor Apartments. These are often popular with expats working in Siem Reap or travelers looking for a quality service at a great price. These small and medium sized developments fits perfectly into the town’s landscape, averaging from 10 to 20 apartments each, offering privacy and safety to mainly foreign rental market. Siem Reap has definitely witnessed a number of early stage developments in the last year, particularly in central areas around Wat Bo and the National Road 6, as these areas offers good infrastructure and accessibility. IPS predicts that up to 400 new medium and high end apartment units will be added next year. This will definitely add up the quality of the housing market, keeping the rental prices stable, and IPS will surely follow closely this development.

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Central Siem Reap’s neighborhood gems


f you find yourselves strolling through Siem Reap central area, you will be pleasantly surprised to find an array of shops, restaurants, bars and galleries to keep you busy for a few days or provide a nice living environment. From the Old market (Psar Chas) to the upcoming Kendall village, you will find traditional Khmer arts, as well as more modern concept stores showcasing Cambodian expertise in various forms. When hunger strikes, you have a wide choice of food, from local Khmer cuisine, to sushi, to vegan cuisine and of course, western. On a commercial standpoint, the area has a lot to offer with a constant flow of tourists and locals. All necessities are available at your doorstep, a choice of supermarkets offering local and international products, pharmacies, travel agents, banks. Property in this area can vary immensely from a quaint apartment to a villa with garden. Many old colonial buildings are used for commercial purposes but with the ongoing constructions and renovations in the area, new apartments

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and houses should be on the market soon with prices similar to the following estimations: Zone A, which encompasses Pub Street and surrounding locations, has land valued between $1,700 and $5,000 per square metre on the main thoroughfares. Along smaller roads, the price dropped to $1,500 to $2,000 per square metre. Zone B, from Central Market to National Road 6, has prices from $1,000 to $3,000 per square metre on main roads and from $700 and $1,200 on smaller roads. Zone C, includes the main road to the Angkor Night Market. Prices are from $1,000 to $3,000 per square metre on main roads and from $350 to $700 on sub-roads. Whether you are planning to buy or rent property in this area, you will be in the heart of Siem Reap, but just a quick drive away from the temples and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. IPS, our professional team, with 6 years of expertise in real estate and our eagerness to serve, will be your best advisor to assist you in your search for

a home that fits all your needs and requirements. Here is a list of our favourite spots in this area. BREAKFAST/LUNCH If you are a keen coffee drinker, make sure to stop at Little Red Fox in Kendall village, for a good brunch/lunch Sister Srey offers a large variety of western style dishes as well as some vegan option. SHOPPING We recommend the Old market (Psar Chars ) of course, for local souvenirs but make sure to pay a visit to Louise Loubatieres, Trunkh, Saarti. You will find all these shops in the upcoming Kendall village just a stone’s throw away from the Old market. DINNER The FCC offers great new dining options from a new simple snacks menu to full Khmer style family meals to western classics.For more local cuisine try Chenray Tree, Haven for a meal with a good cause or Damnak AHA a new Khmer owned restaurant just behind Wat Damnak. DRINKS Asana is a lovely place to cool down with a cold drink and later in the night Miss Wong offers great drinks and live Dj sets.

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As Cambodia’s premier real estate company, our job doesn’t end with finding the perfect home for our customers. We are also committed to providing up-to-date information and

advice on real estate in Phnom Penh as well as other parts of Cambodia. We strive to con-

stantly improve our services by listening to what our customers have to say. Visit our website, check the reviews, and see for yourself how our clients rate the IPS-Cambodia experience: We were lucky to have the assistance from Vathanak of IPS. He is such a considerate helper that he can remember every piece of requests we raised before and during the house checking. Every apartment we checked was in good status, which did save us a lot of time and energy. We will definitely recommend IPS to our other friends who plan to relocate to Cambodia. -Joanne Zhang

とてもフレンドリー なマネジャーのアンドレ アスは、幅広い情報をも とに顧客のニーズに合わ せた適切なアドバイスを 提供してくれます。お勧 めです。 - 西澤慶彦

My husband and I were looking for a western style apartment with all

the comforts (AC, fully furnished, gym, swimming pool, generator, security gate), and at a reasonable price, in Siem Reap. It seemed a mission impossible until we met IPS. Andreas and his team had a great portfolio of properties for us to visit and we found what we were looking for after just two days search. Not only so. Their service has continued after the rental contract was signed -off. They keep on helping us deal with the landlord and are our point of contact in case of any issue with the flat. We would definitely recommend IPS to anyone who is looking for quality and good customer service. -Maio Gentile

IPS is a first rate company. They took great care to find us everything we needed in a place. We were new in town and probably gave the most vague instructions imaginable, but the team at IPS took our straw and spun gold. Highly recommended if you want to upper echelon place in PP. -Michael Bridgett I found IPS Cambodia online and sent an enquiry via their website over the weekend. Lachlan of IPS (English speaking) contacted me by email on Monday morning and I gave a description of the type and location of apartment that I required. Lachlan put a list together and arranged viewings. Within 4 viewings a nice furnished apartment with rooftop swimming pool and gym was ideal for me, Lachlan arranged signing of the lease and rent negotiation and within a week I moved in. Lachlan made this a very easy process and I would highly recommend IPS Cambodia for your property requirements. Thanks again Lachlan. Tony -Tony Lucas

IPS (Lachlan and Team) were extremely helpful in assisting me to find an apartment in Phnom Penh.I was referred by a friend and all it took was one email to get action.It only took 1/2 a day or less to find a very suitable apartment as I was chauffeured around Phnom Penh to view several apartments. Lachlan provided important information about each location (Accessibility, Security, Shopping locations) as well as tips and suggestions. All aspects of the Real Estate service was performed at the highest level. I highly recommend using IPS for your Real Estate needs. Thanks Lachlan and IPS team. -David Webb

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IPS Cambodian Property Investor Issue 02  

Cambodian Property Investor magazine is a product of IPS with the aim to provide an up-to-date information and advice on real estate, target...

IPS Cambodian Property Investor Issue 02  

Cambodian Property Investor magazine is a product of IPS with the aim to provide an up-to-date information and advice on real estate, target...