With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, coupled with an online gambling ban that went into effect on January 1, growth in the casino hotspot of Bavet town in Svay Rieng province has slowed down to a crawl.
But on March 18, Vietnam suspended the entry of all foreigners into the country to curb the spread of Covid-19, which has severely limited the flow of people and goods across the border.
Kim Heang, regional operating principal of Keller Williams (KW) Cambodia, who hails from Bavet, told The Post on Wednesday that the town’s real estate market has reached a stagnant stage, especially the high-end property segment.
“There are no high-end real estate transactions at this time. The real estate market in Bavet now is not in good shape,” said Heang.
The lower-end of the market is doing better, he said, noting that transactions of houses and small plots of land were still muted.
Adding a note of optimism, Heang pointed out that the market would rebound once the Covid-19 outbreak begins to slow down, but that its recovery will be stifled if the government does not lift its online casino ban.
The Vietnamese side plans to open the border from July 1, he said.
As silence hangs thick in the air in Bavet, he said, property prices have taken a 20 to 30 per cent plunge compared to the same period last year.
The government’s decision to ban all types of online gambling businesses in Cambodia aims to strengthen the national economy, without relying on the online gambling industry, which would put the Kingdom at greater risk of national security threats, money laundering and terrorism financing.
KW Cambodia’s Heang estimated that land will sell for around $500 per sqm in Bavet’s central business district post-recovery, and $150 per sqm in residential areas.