The Cambodian city of Poipet, situated on the border with Thailand, has long been thought of as just a rough and ready casino town.
However, the imminent completion of a rail link between Thailand and Cambodia and the opening of two new international border crossings have renewed prospects for commercial growth in Poipet and pushed up real estate prices.
The northwestern border town of Poipet is around a third the size of its better known contemporary Phnom Penh, spread over 262 square miles with an expanding population currently at around 100,000.
Long known for its casinos, commerce and industry are driving the latest boom in the city’s development.
Occupying the main trade route between Cambodia and Thailand, Poipet is the country’s busiest border crossing for both domestic and foreign tourists. Subsequently, the Cambodian government plans to open more border crossings.
In addition, a nearly completed railway link to Thailand and a new Chinese-funded belt road along the Cambodian-Thai border have led to an influx of foreign investment and boosted property prices higher than other border crossing areas.
Tan Yim Chhay, vice chairman of Chhay Chhay Investment (CCI), the investment company that is developing Poipet O’neang Special Economic Zone (POSEZ), said that the area is now seeing an influx of foreign capital. and international investors have been sinking money into developing factories, hotels, casinos, restaurants and residential projects.
He said: ‘The economic condition in Poipet is gradually improving because it now has a wide range of infrastructure. Better still, a railway connection between Cambodia and Thailand will officially open soon.’
Chhour Vichet, CEO of Sanco Cambo Investment Group Co Ltd, the Cambodian-Japanese joint venture that operates Sanco Poipet Special Economic Zone, said news of better connectivity with Thailand has made Poipet a magnet for foreign investment.
He said: ‘According to leaked information, the government is planning to open the Steung Bot border crossing in 2019. When this crossing opens everything will benefit, including trade and real estate.’
Recent research by CL Realty found that commercial-zoned land located along main roads in Poipet sells for between $500 and $1,000 per square metre. Undeveloped residential land sells between $100 and $500 per square metre.
Newly appointed governor of Poipet, San Sean Ho, said that his office has prioritised infrastructure projects to support the city’s property boom, and is ‘gearing up for more development projects to convert Poipet into a magnet for both residents and investors’.
He said the city’s rapid development has led to a spike in property prices in some areas, with properties adjacent to casinos reaching as much as $1,000 per square metre. He also said that residential property is hot, adding that the city has 10 borey (gated residential communities) projects and an additional 50 companies sub-dividing residential plots for resale.
Overseas property investors wishing to benefit from the imminent expansion of Poipet should research carefully and use advisors with local knowledge.