China cracks down on property speculators in city bordering North Korea

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/15 21:43:40

Detente on peninsula triggers buying frenzy

A Chinese city bordering North Korea is cracking down on housing speculators who have been flying in from other cities around the country to snap up properties in anticipation of a breakthrough in the Korean Peninsula denuclearization talks.

Housing prices in Dandong, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, have nearly doubled since March. The local government on Monday announced new regulations, requiring non-local residents to pay a 50 percent down payment for homes purchased in the city's Xincheng district which includes the bank of the Yalu River, the border river between China and North Korea. These people will not be allowed to sell their properties for two years after purchase.

City authorities also announced that a previously scheduled spring real estate promotion event and housing purchase subsidies have been cancelled.

The buying frenzy of Dandong properties has already begun to decline, Zhang Xu, a local real estate agent told the Global Times, adding that the number of purchase applications has fallen from more than 200 to about 100 a day.

Zhang said she sold her river-view apartment in Xincheng district on Monday for nearly 800,000 yuan ($126,000), which was valued at 480,000 yuan just two weeks ago.

Housing prices in some communities in Xincheng have jumped from around 3,000 yuan to over 8,000 yuan per square meter since March, local residents say.

Zhang said that the majority of buyers are from outside the city. "Quite a few are from big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and East China's Zhejiang and Fujian provinces and even Taiwan," she said, adding that it was not uncommon to see buyers fly in from big cities, purchase a whole floor of apartments and leave.

Zhang predicts there will be another wave of soaring home prices if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump reach a settlement during their summit in June.

Economic boom

The party chief of North Korea's North Pyongan Province told a Chinese delegation headed by Ambassador to North Korea Li Jinjun that his province expects further joint exchanges and cooperation with Liaoning Province, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

The Chinese delegation visited Sinuiju, capital of North Pyongan Province, on Friday and Saturday. Sinuiju lies directly across the Yalu River from Dandong.

Zhang Huizhi, a professor at Jilin University's Northeast Asian Studies College, said on Tuesday that a peaceful resolution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue could create an economic boom to the border regions of both countries. Investment from both home and abroad will flow to Dandong and Sinuiju, likely fueling in a wide range of industries, said Zhang.

Liaoning and Jilin provinces, which both border North Korea, have natural advantages and a good solid foundation when it comes to Sino-North Korean cooperation, Zhang said, noting that rebooting dormant cooperation projects in the two provinces would provide immediate stimulus to North Korea's economic development.

Newspaper headline: Border city cracks down on property speculators

Posted in: SOCIETY

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