For starters, there’s not the same restrictions associated with buying landed property (link to article on this in property section) if you’re just going to be renting it. This opens up more opportunities for expats to get a coastal villa or simply a ground floor apartment.
Most expats tend to cluster around the capital, Phnom Penh. This is mainly due to jobs, but also its advanced infrastructure and development in comparison with much of the rest of Cambodia. The main two accommodation options for expats tend to be a typical apartment or a serviced apartment.
The first of these is a very standard living arrangement, under which you’ll generally be in charge of paying your own bills (around US$70 a month), and taking care of yourself to a greater extent than in serviced accommodation.
This also tends to mean you’ll be in a more typically local building, which can often be more on the run down and dilapidated side. You can expect to pay an average of roughly US$300 a month for a two bedroom apartment with air conditioning, although obviously this greatly varies depending on exactly what you’re looking at.
A serviced apartment affords you certain luxuries such as security guards, prepaid amenities, and a generally more modern feel, along with things such as backup generators in the case of a power cut. On top of this, you’re more likely to be surrounded by similarly minded expats.
However, of course this all comes at a price, and rent in a serviced apartment building could easily be over double what you’d pay for somewhere without all of these luxuries. This is most likely a more feasible option for those who plan a more short term stay, probably of a matter of months rather than years.
Where to rent
The main expat area within the capital is Daun Penh, which is very central and consequently, very popular with foreigners. Although, rising prices have led many to start looking elsewhere, and other areas are increasingly attracting thriving expat communities.
Other popular options include renting a villa in one of Cambodia’s many desirable beach resorts, or within a city. Plenty of marvellous buildings remain from the colonial days, and many have been modernised with the aim of meeting the demand of a growing expat market. Prices vary hugely depending on the number of bedrooms you’re looking at, along with luxuriousness and location. For something pretty nice, with four bedrooms, prices can begin at below US$900 a month. It’s important to consider that upkeep is likely to be more expensive with this kind of property.
Finally, you can rent a room in a shared apartment, which, as with anywhere, is likely to save you a reasonable amount of money.
For those living in the capital, the Phnom Penh Post provides a useful English language source to look for local housing, jobs etc. In addition to this, the first port of call in looking for accommodation is likely to be the Internet, here are a few helpful sites to begin your search.
- Cambodia Angkor Real Estate - Much the same as above but they also provide up to date news on the property market and Cambodia in general.·
- Real Estate Cambodia - Properties from various sources are listed. There are contact details for agents with available properties so they can be contacted directly.
- Rooftop Asia - Specialises in the rental market. The website is in various languages, and they have two offices in Phnom Penh.
It should, however, be noted that some providers greatly inflate their online prices in the hope of ripping off new and naive foreign customers. Beware of this, and always make sure you compare plenty of places to ensure you’re not getting a bad deal.