Thursday, May 6, 2010

South Koreans' foreign property purchases sharply down in Q1

(SEOUL) South Koreans' purchases of overseas property declined during the first quarter from three months earlier as investor sentiment remained sluggish despite steadily improving global economic conditions, data showed yesterday.

According to the data provided by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, South Koreans purchased a total of US$58.7 million worth of land, houses and other property in foreign countries in the January-March period - sharply down from the US$85.1 million tallied during the fourth quarter of 2009.

The sharp quarter-on-quarter reduction is attributable to sluggish sentiment among investors, who remain reluctant to venture out to purchase expensive assets amid lingering global economic uncertainties, reported Yonhap news agency.

Bolstered by the government's move to ease related regulations, South Koreans' investments in overseas property had been growing sharply until the world was hit by the financial crisis in late 2008.

In 2003, local citizens bought a total of US$3.6 million worth of overseas property, but the amount jumped to US$743.5 million and US$1.17 billion in 2006 and 2007, respectively, according to the data.

The global financial crisis and resulting economic downturn worldwide, however, dampened market sentiment. Property transactions halved to US$514 million in 2008 and further declined to US$223 million last year, the data showed. -- Bernama

Source: Business Times, 6 May 2010

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