Moving house can be a daunting task anywhere in the world, even more so in a city constantly on the move and rapidly expanding in all directions!
Movers and shakers
Fear not, a number of companies will happily help share the load, such as Asian Tigers Mobility, taking care of everything from visas to immigration, move management to house hunting, as well as destination programmes.
Phnom Penh has a plethora of rental options for every taste and budget, from traditional Khmer-style townhouses to luxury apartments complete with rooftop swimming pools. A modest one-bedroom will average between $200 and $300 a month in rent, rising in accordance with amenities and proximity to the city centre. A little can go a long way if you know what you want and where you want to be!
Location, location, location!
Within easy reach of the city centre is the newly trendy and affordable Russian Market (Tuol Tom Pong to give the area its proper name). area, where fully-furnished Western style apartments start at around $300 a month and go up to $1,000 for all-inclusive apartments boasting private balconies, gym, swimming and sauna facilities.
Central district BKK1 has a wealth of luxury residential options available, with more on the way. Prices tend to be higher here than in neighbouring areas, with fully-serviced apartments averaging around $1,000 a month.
Want to be in the middle of the action? Check out the Riverside, Phnom Penh’s commercial epicentre. The area has seen huge development, with pricing options from $500 up to a few thousand a month. You can find townhouse apartments for cheaper in the side lanes, but expect to compromise on mod cons, natural light and storage.
For the quieter life, less central areas such as Tonle Bassac, BKK3 and Wat Phnom are becoming increasingly fashionable. Away to the northwest, Toul Kork offers spacious villas, gleaming new condominiums and exclusive gated communities. Studio apartments start from $500.
Finding a home
Spotting “For Rent” signs in desired areas and word of mouth used to be the best way to go (and may still be if your budget is under $250 a month). Nowadays, enlisting the help of reputable real estate agencies can make all the difference when negotiating this ever-changing market. SEAPS (South East Asia Property Services) have expert knowledge of the city and the real estate that is available. They recognise that your property is an extremely important piece of capital and remains an integral part of your life, even while you are selling it, and understand how important it is to your future to get the price you want on your property. PhnomPenhRealEstate.net is one of the best online options, a single website where tenants and landlords can view and show all properties currently available within Cambodia. The user interface is intuitive, and the search results are on point every time.
If you are planning a move to Siem Reap, you will find yourself in a city less chaotic than the capital, but still with a lively entertainment and restaurant scene, not to mention close proximity to the world famous Angkor complex! As you would expect, you get a lot more ‘bang for your buck’ in Siem Reap. You can get a good 1-bedroom apartment with shared pool in the city centre area for around $200-250. A serviced apartment with gym, pool, and other services will cost from around 480 per week, a great option for shorter term stays. Western style apartments and villas usually start around $400 for a 1-bedroom, a 3-bed villa can cost as little as $750, and a larger 5/6-bed villa, with private pool, will set you back from around $1400 upwards.
In case you have been in hiding the last year or two, there have been massive changes in this seaside city. Massive amounts of development, multiple casino and hotel projects, and huge pressure on the infrastructure means that fewer westerners than ever before are heading here. Property – both sale and rental – prices have gone through the roof, with some agents quoting as high as $3000 psm for some areas. But the Cambodian real estate market has many small/independent agents who work with little experience and often illegally. That’s why we recommend using legitimate agents such as SEAPS or IPS, or an online portal such as RealEstate.com.kh. A studio room in Sihanoukville can cost from $400 upwards nowadays, and 2-bed apartment may cost more than $1000.
This sleepy(ish) riverside town has grown in popularity in the last 18 months. The favourite haunt of expats seeking to escape Phnom Penh, the exodus from Sihanoukville has seen prices rise here steadily, though not to the ludicrous levels of Sihanoukville. And despite many doomsayers seeing it as the next Sihanoukville, the town is fairly safe from over development (there is a ban on casino development here, other than on Bokor, until 2035). A single room can still be had for around $100 per month, but will be fairly basic. Houses outside of the town can range from $200-450 per month, with many situated in the popular International Village a few km from town. 2-bed new builds are currently going for anywhere from $400-600 depending on location (riverfront properties command a premium) though we would advise that advertised prices are always negotiable.
Your next move
You’ve found your dream nest in Phnom Penh. Now what? Long-term leases of six months or a year are a good “insurance policy” against rental price hikes and give you room to negotiate changes with your landlord, such as removing or adding furniture, appliances or installing window screens. Negotiate a deposit, usually one or two months’ rent, which trustworthy landlords will either return or let you to use up in free rent at the end of the term.
For shared apartments, Facebook groups “Phnom Penh Housing” and “Phnom Penh Shared Housing” are a go-to for many, with postings that showcase photos of homes and profiles of housemates for your perusal. Most cities have their own Facebook real estate group and a quick search should find one for your desired location.
If you want to put down roots, the aforementioned real estate agents can give you the advice and assistance you need in the world of property sales in the Kingdom.
At time of writing (December, 2018) all information was correct, but may have changed since. If there’s something you read here which you feel is incorrect or requires updating, please let us know.