PHNOM PENH, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Investment in Cambodia's construction sector saw a 22-percent decline in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, the Khmer Times reported on Wednesday, citing government figures.
According to a report from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, construction investment from January to March this year stood at 1.28 billion U.S. dollars, a 22-percent decrease compared to the same period last year.
The ministry provided licenses to 786 construction projects, equivalent to 2.07 million square meters, in the first quarter of this year, the report said, adding that most construction projects were commercial buildings, shopping malls, condominiums, apartment and factories.
Despite the decline, property experts remained optimistic about the industry's outlook as there would likely be more capital inflow throughout the rest of 2017.
"There are many projects popping up in the outskirts of the city (Phnom Penh), but they are smaller than previous years so the investment capital saw a decline," Century 21 Mekong's CEO Chrek Soknim was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
"It is not a worrying sign for the property sector as projects keep popping up in the market. There already are many high-rise buildings in Phnom Penh, so this could be a sign showing an investment boost for projects in the outskirts of the city," he said.
CL Realty CEO Sear Chailin also expressed optimism, saying that political and economic stability will help all sectors flourish and will draw in more investors.
"The property situation in the country is still favorable and the country is still an investment destination. Cambodia has strong policies for investments to come here and invest compared with other countries in ASEAN," he said.
Since 2000, the government has issued construction permits to 37,637 projects, the equivalent to 93.5 million square meters, bringing in some 32.6 billion U.S. dollars in investment capital.