As world warms to N Korea, China border town enjoys property boom
Beijing: The dramatic diplomatic thaw on the Korean peninsula is sparking an unexpected economic windfall on the Chinese border, where property prices are skyrocketing.
The northeastern border city of Dandong — the main artery for China's trade with North Korea — has been in the doldrums since the United Nations punished Pyongyang for its nuclear and long-range missile tests last year.
The sanctions put a squeeze on trade in seafood, textiles and other commodities, and forced hundreds of North Korean workers to leave Chinese factories there.
But property prices in the city surged in the weeks leading up to the historic summit between the two Koreas, with speculators snapping up homes expecting prices to rise further.
It's an unexpected bonanza for a region that was bracing itself for an influx of North Korean refugees and even possible radiation just months ago amid worries about war on the peninsula.
On April 26 — a day before the inter-Korean summit — the Dandong Property Registration Office posted a notice on its door, saying "the number of applications to register property transactions in recent days has exceeded our daily capacity of 260 cases per day".
The influx of homebuyers to the city of nearly 2.4 million residents began in March, when Kim passed through in his armoured train on his way to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping — the North Korean leader's first overseas trip in office.
"Over the last two weeks, the number of people that have called to inquire about properties or come to buy homes has jumped," Li Xinyu, CEO of Aijia Real Estate Co. in Dandong, said.