The trend of Penthouse living in Phnom Penh

The trend of Penthouse living in Phnom Penh

Due to the limited supply of condominium buildings in the past, there used to be only a handful of penthouse units available in the market. But new projects today are offering more penthouse units. 

The average size of penthouses ranges from 300 to 500 square metres. Unlike typical condominium units where demand comes from a combination of buy-to-let investors, end-users and speculators, demand for penthouses is mainly from end-users because very few buyers can afford, or are willing to pay rent for such large units. 

From the investor’s prospective, it is also difficult for them to produce enough yields for the investment to be worthwhile when the price of a penthouse unit is generally high and rental is limited to a certain level. 

Penthouses in new condominium projects in prime locations have achieved premium prices. Boeung Keng Kang 1 and Diamond Island are now the hottest locations for penthouse buyers as they are the capital’s prime residential areas, followed by Toul Kork, Chroy Changva and other select riverside locations. Current penthouse prices can go for as much as USD5, 000 per square metre, while units in older buildings with larger sizes are more reasonably priced at USD3, 000 to  USD4, 000 per square metre. 

As younger generations prefer to live in condominium units where they can stay close to their workplace, penthouse units have become the ideal alternative to the townhouses and villas in the prime areas of Phnom Penh. In the current market, it is difficult to find villas for sale in prime locations because few owners are willing to sell them or even if they sell them, the villas will eventually be converted into a high-rise condominium building or service apartment because the continued increase in land prices has made investment in high-density buildings more attractive. 

 “Seeing the current traffic problems in Phnom Penh, I think if the penthouse buyers are local buyers, they would likely want to move into these penthouse units. As for those who are not living in Phnom Penh, they would put the units up for rent,” said Chhayleang Nguon, CEO of Ratanaka Realty. 

Chan Mlop Sokha from Sokha Law Firm has a different view however, believing that, “Local buyers or investors will only purchase penthouse units and rent it out to others. They still prefer to live in a landed property.” 

Buying land and constructing a luxury house in a prime area of Phnom Penh will cost on average at least USD3 million. On the other hand, the hassle of acquiring land and undertaking construction make it an unattractive option for most buyers. 

Given the price factor and hassle, many would now prefer the convenience, facilities, security and views of penthouses offered in condominium projects.

With the growing demand for penthouse units, their specifications have also evolved. Penthouses can be offered on a bare-shell basis since buyers with a big budget often want to fit out their own units according to their material and style preferences. They can also be offered on a fully-fitted basis with completed bathrooms and kitchens.

Given the premium pricing, most penthouse buyers are particularly concerned about the design, and it must match their requirements in terms of number of bedrooms, layout, room type and size etc. In the future, the trend is that fully furnished penthouses matching the requirements and taste of buyers will become popular. 

In the future, penthouses will become the answer for wealthy Cambodian buyers who prefer living in the prime areas of Phnom Penh with larger space and exclusivity. As a developer, the challenge is to be able to customise and attune their designs, in order to cater to the needs and personal tastes of penthouse buyers.

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