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- Housing prices in China’s border city Dandong have skyrocketed, particularly since Kim Jong Un visited Beijing in March.
- Prices and sale rates are booming, with local housing applications exceeding processing limits.
- Three-quarters of China’s trade with North Korea used to flow through Dandong.
- Buyers may be hoping that sanctions will soon lift, and that Dandong may one day become wealthy like the Shenzhen economic zone near Hong Kong.
Housing prices along China’s border with North Korea have skyrocketed since Kim Jong Un visited Beijing in March.
In the border city of Dandong, in the north east region of China, some prices have even doubled, according to state-run outlet Global Times. Other properties have seen a rise from 3,000 yuan ($471) to 5,000 yuan ($785) per square meter, and some areas are reportedly increasing at a rate of 300 yuan ($47) a day.
The reason for the soaring prices appears to be Kim Jong Un.
“The price hike took place after Kim Jong-un visited China,”Xu Min, a Dandong real-estate agent, told the Global Times. Xu also said the Xincheng district, which is next to the Yalu River that defines much of the North Korea-China border, has seen prices rise particularly quickly.
In another district, Zhenxing, local housing data indicates property sales have risen 30% and new housing applications have exceeded the local processing limit of 260 per day. While most of the interest has come from locals, one real-estate agent told Reuters a recent long weekend saw a third of buyers from out of town.
Local officials say the reason is several projects have finished around the same time, but before the latest round of sanctions, around three-quarters of China’s trade with North Korea traveled through Dandong.
And it appears some buyers may be interpreting Kim’s recent trip to Beijing as the first step in opening up of greater commerce with North Korea, a step that would greatly benefit Dandong and the value of real-estate there.
It may be hoped that, if trade were to flow more freely with North Korea, Dandong could eventually become the next Shenzen, which borders Hong Kong and is now one of the country’s wealthiest cities.
There has also been increased interest in North Korea’s housing market from Chinese buyers, particularly in Pyongyang and Wonsan, though no deals have yet been made, according to Reuters.
The Yalu River and Dandong are also one of the most common routes out of North Korea for defectors.