My first investment in overseas property and it’s in Cambodia!

Last week, I made a downpayment for my very first property investment in a country that most investors in Singapore have probably never considered before – Cambodia. My property of choice was a  freehold small office/home office, also known as SOHO in a 45 storeys tall mixed residential and commercial development mixed development in Phnom Penh called The Bridge Cambodia.

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

Every week, I’ll be sharing practical tips and invaluable knowledge to guide you on your path to financial independence.

Why Cambodia?

Cambodia is one of the countries that I have shortlisted as a potential destination for retirement. The country has a rather impressive average of 7.8% GDP over the last 12 years. With 100% foreign ownership, competitive wages and tax incentives, Cambodia is ready for business. While most Singaporean investors are looking at investing in properties in Australia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom, I decided to jump on the Cambodia wagon to capitalise on first mover advantage and the low property prices in Cambodia.

How I selected my investment property in Cambodia?

When I was doing my research about investing in properties in Cambodia, I learnt that many property developments werebadly hit during the global financial crisis and some of them remained uncompleted to date. While this did not scare me away from investing in Cambodia, it was clear that the selection of a trusted property developer is of utmost importance.

Looking at the list of property developments that are in the market, I shortlisted The Bridge Cambodia because it is jointly developed by two prominent property developers – Singapore-based Oxley and Cambodia-based Worldbridge Land. Oxley Holdings Pte Ltd has a strong track record as a property developer and is listed in Stock Exchange of Singapore.

I went for the cheapest unit available

Coming from a low income family, I didn’t have a lot of capital in the bank. While I want to begin my first foray in the world of property investment, I don’t want to lose everything in one go.

After examining the entire development, I decided on a SOHO unit that costs around 110,000 USD that is able to house a small room for the Director and 2-3 office tables for Executives. This set up is perfect for foreign companies who are coming in with a small footprint to establish their presence in Cambodia.

6% guaranteed rental yield is a good start

One of the reasons why I was interested in The Bridge Cambodia is because the developer  offered a guaranteed rental yield of 6% for the first 3 years. While 6% rental yield is quite decent, the average rental yield in Cambodia is around 10%. It makes me wonder if I could get a higher rental income if I rented it myself or had a local property agent rent the property out on my behalf. That said, with no connections to trusted local property agents, I would play it safe and let the property developer manage the property for me.

How does this property investment change my investment strategy?

Previously, I have been making regular investments into the Nikko AM Singapore STI ETF with a good portion of my monthly income. With this property investment, I will stop making the regular investments in the equities market and hold on to the cash to meet the deferred payment required for the property.

My plan is to try to complete the property purchase with cash and try not to take a mortgage loan because the interest rates charged by Cambodian banks for mortgage loans are too high for my comfort.

Are you looking to invest in properties in Cambodia?

Are you also interested in investing in Cambodia properties and would like to get more information?

You’re welcome to contact me with your questions and I’ll try my best to answer them.


  1. Hi Mickey,

    Wow. I am impressed. You must be pretty familiar with the country. I haven’t even been to the place before!

    Just curious, what are your plans after the 3 years are up?

    1. Hi Mr 15HWW, I can’t say I am very familiar with the country, but my travel adventure there has shown that this country has potential. My plan is to see how the rental market performs in the next 3 years and if it does well, I’ll most likely renew the additional rent management option that the developer may offer. If I manage to find a good property agent in Cambodia, I may even consider having the agent manage the property on my behalf.

  2. woah, that’s a pretty daring venture in a used-to-be communist state. USD 110,000 is a rather big commitment considering it’s almost same price as that of a small subsidized HDB flat. Is there an sg bank loan to take for it?

    Hope this investment would pay off well in time.

    1. You are right that it is a daring venture. I already own a flat so I only compared this investment with private properties in Singapore (which makes it insignificant). In any case, it’s high risks for high returns right? I would prefer to be a first-mover in an emerging market than a laggard in a developed market. As for loans, I don’t see any mortgage loans in Singapore and Cambodia that is attractive enough to consider to date, so it’s going to be fully funded by cash for now.

  3. Hi,

    Just read your post regarding your property investment in Phnom Phen.

    I am living in Hongkong and recently have idea to invest in property in Phnom Phen. Similarly, I am just a white-collar with not much initial capital. Is it possible for a foreigner (not living in Cambodia) to apply mortgage for purchasing?

    At present, is it still good for investing in serviced apartment type property?


    1. Hi Wilson,

      I’m not really in the position to advise you on whether it’s still good to invest in serviced apartment type property. You probably want to get a real estate professional’s advice on that.

      It’s definitely possible for a foreigner to apply for mortgage for purchasing. However, the interest rate for the loan is quite high. That’s the main reason why I opted for cash payment instead.

  4. how are you funding your monthly installments?
    you opened a local bank account?
    how do you plan to liquidate your asset, and take your profit back to SGP?

    1. I’m funding the payments by remitting the money to the developer from Singapore. No local bank account was created.

      The current plan is to sell to investors in Singapore and get everything done in Singapore. That may change in a couple years time.

  5. Sometimes real estate investing for beginners can seem a bit intimidating and it’s easy to get lost in the lights and sounds of all the blogs, books, and television gurus with their slick hair.

  6. If you don’t mind, could u give an update on how the property investment is currently doing? Is it completed? Rental started? How’s the property market like in Cambodia now?

    1. Hi Jeff, the property has not been completed yet so rental has not started. I think the property market is not very hot if you compare to countries like Melbourne or even Thailand. At the end of the day for investors, it’s a wager on whether the country will boom in the next 10 years. 🙂

      Are you looking to invest in Cambodia?

      1. A friend of mine also have The Bridge SOHO. After paying 40%, he decided to let go. He got the same local agent that sell him and sign a 6 months exclusive deal to get same agent to help him sell the unit. However, after 6 months, the agent still cannot find a buyer. Is it that hard to find a buyer??

        1. Hi JG,

          I’m not surprised. The Cambodia property market is not super hot like Malaysia and Australia. It will take a significant time to find the right buyer unless you are willing to take a big hit on the selling price.

          I can imagine myself having this problem as well if I need to sell the property today. I’m going to let the property ride out the next 3 years and see what happens after that.

    1. Hi Jason,

      I can’t say that I’m an expert in this market just because I bought 1 property. I’d say that do a lot of research about the country, economy and property developer (if you are planning to buy a property). It’s still very risky so only invest money you can afford to lose.

  7. Do you think that they can be able to deliver on the promise of 6% return without any hickups also do you trust the Cambodian government? One day they can just say all foreign property belongs to the state. Im interested in the bridge retail mall thanks

    1. Hi Sangyoon,

      One of the reasons why I chose to invest in The Bridge is because the property developer is a joint venture between Oxley in Singapore and a Cambodian business. That lends quite a bit of credibility because if Oxley fails in this venture, its stock price will tumble heavily. Just like me, they also have a lot to lose.

      Personally, I’m quite confident that they can deliver on the promise of 6% rental without hiccups but let’s see how it goes.

      The property TOPs in January and the rental will start in another 3 months time. Let’s see what happens.

  8. Hi….
    Been trying to sell my Soho in The Bridge but with no luck…. in the process of getting a loan from Maybank Cambodia…. if it doesn’t go through, I would to ask how much will I lose as I have paid 50%… thanks

    1. Hi Wic,

      It’s best that you read the clauses in the contract. I know that there’s a 1% per month for outstanding and due amount. There are also termination clauses that you should be mindful of.

  9. yes, it’s a very impressive article. If you’re in the first time to investment property, invest confidently with the Peak. The property has a Partnership with CapitaLand and Shangri-La Hotel. Phnom Penh is filled with street markets where you can go shopping and use your bargaining skills. In fact, the Peak Cambodia Phnom Penh, which is a new Retail Mall will rise here and will be managed by CapitaLand Singapore.

    1. Hi Lyn,

      I did a ‘mystery shopper’ stay at The Bridge last week (will write an article about it later on) and I think the rental business is still sound, though time will tell. I had the leasing agent show me around and the quality of the build and amenities are really nice. I’m pretty sure some of the more premium projects that are being constructed around the area and across the bridge on Koh Pich will be much nicer (and expensive).

      The Peak is adjacent to The Bridge, separated by a road junction. It really depends what you are planning to do with the purchase.

      If it’s for investment, I can’t say you’d definitely make money off it yet since the price is quite premium and most likely you’ll need to sell off to other foreign investors. I do see property agents showing PRC investors around The Bridge (most likely for leasing).

      If it’s for own use or stay, I’d prefer The Bridge over The Peak because of its north-south facing. The Peak has a better view over the river but its east-west facing means your unit will either get the morning or afternoon sun. That’s unavoidable.

      That said, I think the proposition of a nice view is very subjective because if the area becomes very popular, there are empty land parcels around both The Bridge and The Peak that buildings can be constructed. I already notice a building that has been constructed behind The Bridge that is blocking the view of several units on the condominium side.

      I’d say that you should only invest what you are willing to lose. 🙂

  10. Hi, interested to buy a small commercial unit at the peak. May I have some advice you from your experience and what you feel after visited the bridge. Thank you.

    1. Hi, I feel that the location of both The Bridge and The Peak are rather decent. They are not exactly smack in the middle of business district. In fact, I find that offices are quite dispersed in Phnom Penh and there isn’t a dense central business district area so you can find businesses located in a few locations. That said, The Bridge and The Peak are definitely located in central Phnom Penh.

      The key differences between The Bridge and The Peak is that the Bridge has a good facing (no direct sun) while The Peak will have a better view of the river.

      That said, the inherent risk is that it could be challenging to find a seller and tenant after the GRR period ends.

      1. Thank you! would you be able to comment a little more on what you see i.e spending power at the mall?

        guess, this does be a deciding point for me to go or not.

        thanks again

        1. Surprisingly, there were quite a lot of footfall in the mall and it’s a mixture of expats and locals. I found myself wondering how the locals could afford to dine in the restaurants because they aren’t that affordable.

          That said, it’s just 1 mall. There are a few shopping malls that are being developed right now and the architecture looks really modern.

          1. A big thank you for all the good insights and views. Would you consider another investment there again??

          2. Looking at my current investment portfolio, purchasing another property in Cambodia would be allocating too much money in one market. So the answer would be no.

            I hope the information I have shared with you, have been useful.

          3. If you have a chance to visit Phnom Penh, I’d definitely recommend checking things out on site. 😁

          4. will go and see if am there.

            have 2nd thought after your suggestion..lolx

            anyway, thanks for so frank and open in your opnion

  11. Hi Micky,

    Wish to understand more on your invested property. Has it completed? Did the developer promise the guaranteed 6% return? Thanks!

    1. Hi Alex,

      The project has completed. Without a doubt, the developer delivered their promise on the guaranteed 6% return. On hindsight, I guess the thing I’ve missed are the small details in the terms and conditions where there are other costs involved, like legal fees to transfer title from developer to owner, etc. that is a substantial amount of costs on top of the initial purchase. my advice to future property buyers would be to examine all the terms and conditions and make a list of all the costs involved outside of the purchase price.

  12. Hi Mikey

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Can you share with me how the developer can guarantee a net return? Does that mean regardless if the space is occupied or not you’ll still get paid at the end of every month?

    1. Hi Dan,

      That seems to be the case. On contract, the developer has 3 months (if I remember correctly) to perform renovation to bring the unit to a state where it’s ready to rent and after that, they will have to start paying the guaranteed rental for X number of years promised in the contract regardless whether it’s rented or not. In my case, rental payment is received at the end of each quarter and the maintenance fees/sinking funds are deducted from the rental payment.

    1. Sorry I don’t understand why you would want to buy REITs in the cambodia stock exchange, that is if they offer them. I would stick to the ones in Singapore.

  13. Hi Mickey, Can you give an update on your investment. Also, I am currently looking at Flatiron by Meridian in Phnom Penh. Any suggestion of a new project that you know I can look into? Thanks

    1. Hi, where I’m at with The Bridge is that the property has completed the Title Deed transfer to all the respective owners of the property and I am left with around 6 months of Guaranteed Rental Renewal (GRR) by the developer. It’ll be interesting to see if they will extend the GRR by another 3 years. Otherwise, the next alternative is to find a property agent in Cambodia to rent the unit out on my behalf.

      As for suggestion for new projects, I’m not an expert in Cambodia properties but from what I’ve read online, the biggest fear seem to be around property developers not being able to complete the construction of the projects. Some of the horror stories I’ve read online talked about how some property developers ran out of money in the midst of construction and halted the project without providing any updates to the owners and the owners were left in the lurch with no alternatives.

      That’s on top of you knowing that investing in a Cambodia property is a high risk move as it may not be that easy to sell since the demand is not high right now.

      My suggestion is to buy something that is within your means and it’s money you can afford to lose. Research heavily on the property developer and you need to be confident that the developer can at least complete the project (bare minimum) and the property is at a good location.

      Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *