[Press] “Vietnam & Cambodia, new stars of southeast Asia on the rise”, Property Times


Two rapidly developing markets offer opportunities for both investment and escape

“The idea that these once war-torn countries could be the setting for soigné new resorts attracting an international clientele would have been unthinkable a few years ago. But if swords can be turned into ploughshares, then formerly cratered paddy fields can become elegant 21st-century residential complexes. Vietnam has been on the global tourist trail for some time now, with the Con Dao islands and one-time hill station, Da Lat, in the vanguard of exotic attractions. The property market, on the other hand, is still in its infancy, and not for the faint-hearted, but expect to hear more about it over the coming years.


The presence of international realtors like Savills in both Hanoi and HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon) provides reassurance. They suggest there are two distinct markets: one for international investors from Hong Kong and Singapore looking for six per cent or so returns from city-centre developments, and the other for lifestyle buyers attracted by the islands and a long, relatively untouched coastline. Of the resorts, Troy Griffiths in Savills’s HCMC office likes the look of the palatial residences being built at the Mia Resort Nha Trang, costing from about $1.5million. He also likes Da Nang, and cites a new international airport at Phu Quoc as beneficial to that local market. “For investors, then, we’d expect HCMC to be the prime target,” he says. A July 2015 change in the law made the Vietnamese market more accessible to international buyers. It allows foreigners to lease and own a maximum of 30 per cent of an apartment building or up to 250 villas or townhouses, and gives them the same rights as Vietnamese to sublet, mortgage, trade and inherit. Neighbouring Cambodia’s residential market is similarly still in the start-up phase, but Phnom Penh is experiencing significant growth in demand and prices thanks to foreign investment.


Cambodia’s residential market is similarly in the start-up phase, but Phnom Penh is experiencing significant growth in demand and prices


This is now spilling out into the residential resort market in the Gulf of Thailand. The first destination of distinction was Song Saa, offering a mix of island and overwater villas on long leaseholds. The project, now sold out, is comparable with the best Sonevas for build quality and service, and is proving immensely popular with those seeking an eco-luxe escape. Next up is the Alila Villas project on the scenic island of Koh Russey, where 132 villas priced from $480,000 for one-bedroom units to more than $2m for four-bedroom pool villas, are being built. Just across from Sihanoukville, the location is a 25-minute flight then 15-minute speedboat ride from the Cambodian capital, so easily accessible for trans-national holiday-home buyers.Cambodia already attracts more than two million visitors a year to the likes of Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, with that figure expected to grow by 15 per cent year on year, so Alila Villas, marketed by Abercrombie & Kent International Estates, might best be described as a lifestyle investment opportunity. Both Vietnam and Cambodia have complex local property laws, so prospective buyers need expert local guidance, but history in Indochina has moved on and today, to quote the motto of the SAS, “Who dares wins”.”


Source: Property Times, the lowdown on real estate around the world: what’s hote, where to look and when to invest.


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