PHNOM PENH—Cambodia's parliament on Monday approved a law allowing foreign ownership of property such as apartments and office buildings, in a measure intended to increase economic growth.
The draft law, which will permit foreigners to buy leaseholds on buildings and apartments, but not own the land beneath them, was passed when 85 of 96 members of parliament who attended the Monday meeting voted in favor.
Land management minister Im Chhun Lim told the national assembly the law would boost the kingdom's real estate market and bring in more foreign investment.
The law will take effect after approval from Cambodia's Senate and promulgation from King Norodom Sihamoni, which are both considered formalities.
Under old rules, foreign property investment could only be made through the name of a Cambodian national and many were unwilling to risk losing their assets to potentially unscrupulous local partners.
The cash-strapped country's investment law was amended in 2005 to allow foreign ownership of buildings but the legislation was never implemented and the initiative foundered.
Despite the restrictions, billion-dollar skyscraper projects and sprawling satellite cities promising to radically alter Phnom Penh have bloomed over the past few years.
But many projects have been halted or slowed down as Cambodia was buffeted by the world financial crisis after several years of double-digit growth, fuelled mainly by tourism and garment exports.