Cambodia Opens Real Estate Market To Foreigners

Have you been hankering to buy real estate in Cambodia? OK, maybe not. But you may want to give it some thought now that a new law allows foreigners for the first time to purchase real estate in the impoverished Southeast Asian country.

Those in the know already know that some investors have long gotten around the prohibition. But do you really want to do something blatantly illegal in a place such as Cambodia? Well, now you won't have to.

The new law has passed the lower house of the Cambodian parliament. It still needs approval from the Senate there and the King, but that's considered nothing more than a technicality by the 'in the know' crowd.

There is just one small caveat you should be aware of, however, if you are thinking of buying into the Cambodian dream.

Under the new law, foreigners, says the Associated Press, will only be able to buy property at least one floor above the land. In other words, you can own the building sitting atop the land, but you can't own the land itself!

Agence France-Presse quotes Cambodia's land management minister as saying the new law would "boost the kingdom's real estate market and bring in more foreign investment."

The Xinhua News Agency quotes the minister as saying the new law will now permit foreigners to own apartments and condos above the ground, or from the first floor up. So, who owns the underground parking garage, is what I want to know?? Then again, maybe that's an LA thing. You could always take a rickshaw.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think, The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has written about real estate related issues for several years.