Investors Scramble To Secure Property On The Korean Border

  • Written by Zero Hedge
  • Published in Economics

Authored by Fred Dunkley via SafeHaven.com,

Welcome to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, where real estate prices are reportedly skyrocketing as peace-profiteering makes an outsized bet that the unlikely trio of Donald Trump, Kim Jung-un and Dennis Rodman will end the nuclear threat and render the DMZ the place to be.

From February to March this year, land deals in Paju more than doubled, according to South Korean government data cited by Reuters, and it’s enough to outshine the trendy Seoul neighborhoods, like Gangnam.

Paju, located at the 38th parallel and right on the border with North Korea and the home of a strategic South Korean military base, is considered the gateway to the United Nations’ ‘truce’ village of Panmunjom—and then to North Korea itself.

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And it’s turning into a major tourist attraction, land mines and all.

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Source: YouTube

From Paju, visitors can hit up the Dora Observatory and view North Korea from binoculars. But while now it’s just a game of peeping Tom, if peace descends on the region, Paju may end up being the hub for a new, much more hands on type of tourism. At least that’s what investors are betting on.  

Past bundles of razor wire, reinforced fences, and guard posts, can be made out the cluster of gray, blue and salmon buildings which make up the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

According to the Wall Street Journal, while farmland in the DMZ could be found for about $2/square foot back in February, in May it was already over $5/square foot, in some places, and $13 in others.  

Now, with many believing that peace is just around the corner, the DMZ is experiencing a run on property, with a property agent in Munsan near the border who noted that even properties “riddled with landmines” had risen 100 percent.

Reuters cited a South Korean dentist near Paju who has acquired eight separate lots just since mid-March, bringing his total DMZ investment to 49 acres worth an estimated $2.8 million. And he bought them without seeing them.

But real estate sales can be fickle, with on-again-off-again. When Trump cancelled the June 12 summit earlier this month, no one moved on real estate, but when it was reinstated only days later, the run on real estate renewed.

And the DMZ between North and South isn’t the only swathe of land that’s on investor radar right now.

Real estate prices in the Chinese town of Dandong, on the border with North Korea, saw a 2-percent jump in prices from March to April, according to Quartz, citing Chinese official data.

New property sales in the town are almost double what they were a year ago, outperforming China’s biggest cities.

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Source: Quartz

Investors are likely hoping that all...

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