More foreigners buy into Korea

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More foreigners buy into Korea

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Foreigners owned 0.2 percent of the total land in Korea, or 228.3 million square-meters (2.45 billion square-foot) as of the end of last year, and they paid a total of 32.6 trillion won ($27.4 billion).

According to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Friday, land owned by foreigners rose 9.6 from 2014 to 2015 and the price rose 7.7 percent during the same period.

“Those purchased by Americans accounted for 51.4 percent of the total and it was followed by Europeans, Japanese and Chinese,” said Eoh Myeong-so, a director at the ministry.

The ministry added that overseas Koreans were the largest share of foreigners who owned land in the nation. It was followed by joint corporations, foreign corporations and foreigners.

Overseas Koreans bought a total of 124.3 million square-meters, or 54.5 of the total, and corporations bought 93.1 million square-meters, or 40.7 percent of the total, according to the ministry.

By types, 60.5 percent of land owned by foreign nationals was forest and farm land, and 28 percent was for industrial uses.

By region, South Jeolla was the most popular with foreigners. Out of the total land owned by foreigners, 16.8 percent was in South Jeolla and 15.8 percent was in Gyeonggi. Foreigners currently have 38.3 million square-meters of land in South Jeolla and 36.0 million square-meters in Gyeonggi.

Daejeon was the least popular among foreigners where they only owned 963,000 square-meters of land.

In particular, foreigners are actively involved in investing on the southern resort island of Jeju. “Foreign investment in Jeju is growing very rapidly and they own some 1.1 percent of the island,” said Eoh. It is the first time the rate has reached more than 1 percent in the island’s history.

Among property owned by foreigners in Jeju, 44.4 percent of the land belongs to Chinese, followed by American and Japanese.

According to the ministry’s previous report, the standard land price in Jeju jumped 19.4 percent in February compared to the previous year. This is the sharpest year-on-year growth of any land prices across the country. The national average growth rate of land prices during the same period was 4.47 percent.

The ministry compiled the data based on documents filed by foreigners. However, the ministry said it has limits on determining exact numbers since foreigners are mandated to report within 60 days of purchases but that they are not required to do so when they sell.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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