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Foreigners’ land ownership up 0.7%

Foreigners’ ownership of South Korean land edged up 0.7 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier, posting a much slower growth rate seen before the recent global financial crisis, the Land Ministry said Sunday.

As of the end of March, foreigners owned a combined 225.3 million square kilometers of land, 1.57 million square kilometers more than at the end of 2010, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said.

Foreigners’ land ownership grew at a slower pace in the past quarter, compared with an expansion of 0.9 percent posted during the first quarter last year, the ministry said.

Foreigners held 0.2 percent of the country’s total land measured at 100,210 million square kilometers as of end-March, it added.

Since being first allowed to hold local land in June 1998, foreigners’ land ownership has jumped by 38.3 percent annually over the four years to 2001.

The growth rate, however, slowed down to an annual rise of 6.5 percent since 2002 before further losing steam due to the 2008 global financial crisis, the ministry noted.

In terms of financial value, overseas investors’ land ownership reached 32.4 trillion won (US$29.9 billion) as of the end of March, up 2.7 percent from three months earlier, according to the ministry.

South Koreans with foreign nationalities accounted for 49.2 percent of the total foreign landowners, followed by corporate investors with 36 percent, the ministry said.

The U.S. was the biggest investor representing 57.3 percent of the overseas ownership, trailed by European nations with 15 percent and Japan with 8.7 percent. 

(Yonhap News)
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