Housing market boom reported at North Korean border

The housing market at a North Korea-China border city is so hot that it could give San Francisco a run for its money.

Home sales in Dandong, which sits across the Yalu River from North Korea, have surged to an eight-year high. There were 320,000 square meters sold in March, Bloomberg reported.

“Two Koreas shake hand, and Dandong rises!” the slogan at Zhao Ziye’s real estate agency in the border town reportedly says. Zhao’s real estate company is reportedly hiring five more employees to keep up with the demand.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Beijing late March spurred optimism in the relations between the two countries. The meeting was followed by the historic inter-Korean summit late April, drawing the attention of “opportunistic investors,” Reuters reported.

"The price hike took place after Kim Jong Un visited China," Xu Min, a Dandong real-estate agent, told the state-run Global Times, according to Business Insider.

Buyers in the frontier city of 2.4 million are hoping that sanctions will lift soon, potentially making Dandong wealthy like the Shenzhen economic zone near Hong Kong, the Insider report said.

Some new residential complexes have seen prices rise by more than 50 percent, Bloomberg reported. Some areas are seeing increases at a rate of $47 a day, Business Insider reported.

With prices and sale rates booming, local housing applications are exceeding processing limits, Business Insider reported.

There has also been increased interest in North Korea’s housing market from Chinese buyers, Reuters reported. Jason Cheung, general manager at Cushman & Wakefield, told Reuters that most buyers in Dandong New District are speculators.

“This is the root cause of the rocketing rise of home prices there,” Cheung said.

A city plan for the Dandong New Zone, around 9 miles from the city centre, is displayed in a sales center, in Dandong, Liaoning province, China, September 28, 2017.

A city plan for the Dandong New Zone, around 9 miles from the city centre, is displayed in a sales center, in Dandong, Liaoning province, China, September 28, 2017. (REUTERS)