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NR10 nearly 50% finished, real estate market yawns

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Construction of National Road 10 is 48.77 per cent complete and remains on schedule to be completed by the end of 2023. TRANSPORT MINISTRY

NR10 nearly 50% finished, real estate market yawns

Property prices along the under-construction National Road 10 have not seen a marked increase, even as work on the road nears 50 per cent completion, according to real estate observers.

The more than 198km National Road 10 links Battambang province’s Samlot district through Pursat province’s Veal Veng district to Koh Kong provincial town. On March 9, 2020, Prime Minister Hun Sen broke ground on the road, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.

The project is expected to cost more than $188 million, and is financed by a Chinese government grant and contributing funds from Cambodia.

National Road 10 project director Bong Bun Hourn said the road is 48.77 per cent complete and remains on schedule as of mid-May, despite the Covid-19 situation.

During a visit at the weekend, Bun Hourn, who is also Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state, inspected the technical details of the work and monitored the progress of construction.

Not only will the road reduce travel times from the Kingdom’s northwest to the coastal southwest, it will also attract a lot of tourists, according to him.

Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association president Chrek Soknim told The Post on May 19 that most of the areas along the project are forested – with some portions used for agriculture – and that real estate transaction activity remains limited.

Once the road is completed, property prices will see an additional surge, but only at a muted pace if the areas are not classified as commercial or industrial, he cautioned.

“I think the real estate market along National Road 10 will not see very strong momentum because it is an area with high potential only for agriculture and tourism. Usually, real estate has a thriving market only when there are a lot of business set up and people are living there,” he said.

Due to lacklustre transaction volumes, land adjacent to the road can average $20-30 per square metre at prime locations, but that figure falls to below $3 in other places, depending on plot sizes, according to Soknim.

Real estate investment agency Khmer Foundation Appraisals Co Ltd president and CEO Nuon Rithy said new roads lift property prices according to the sectors in which nearby lands have investment potential, noting that areas along the length of National Road 10 by and large only have potential for agriculture.

“With prices of land there so low, it may present a grand opportunity for investors that know how to transform it into a production hub for merchandise with high market demand on the international market,” he said.

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