N. Koreans eye investment opportunities in Pyongyang’s Hwasong District
Following the North Korean government’s move to develop new housing complexes in Pyongyang’s newly designated “Hwasong District,” many people in the city are eyeing opportunities to purchase houses in the area.
“Hwasong District has been designated a part of the city’s central district and there’s rumors that the apartments being built there will be more modern in various ways. That’s led people to express interest in buying homes there,” a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK last Thursday. “From early May, wealthy people began paying in dollars to buy homes they’ll turn around and sell later.”
The source explained that Hwasong District is considered a high-value area at the center of Pyongyang due to the planned construction of tens of thousands of new apartments along with various government buildings and a market. Wealthy people, in particular, are interested in the district because the new market will help support their commercial activities.
In addition, given that the district’s new apartments are expected to be “high-quality and strongly-built,” wealthy North Koreans are keen to buy them up as investments.
People interested in becoming prospective occupants of the district’s new apartments must make an initial investment of USD 1,500. The second payment of USD 6,500 must be paid at a designated date, and the authorities have stipulated that prospective homebuyers must strictly adhere to the payment deadline.
According to the source, people who complete both payments can purchase homes at about half their post-construction purchase price. For example, if the sales price of an apartment is USD 300,000, the government will take half of this (USD 150,000) while home buyers will be required to pay the remaining balance – minus the investment payments they already completed – in order to receive a home.
Essentially, the government is offering people a lucrative opportunity to buy new apartments at half their original price.
A key question, however, is whether people who want to buy the new homes will be able to do so.
“The government is first allocating homes to selected people and then selling the remaining apartments. With so many people wanting to move in, people are scrambling for an opportunity,” the source said. “Wealthy people are rushing to get one of the remaining apartments, even bribing relevant officials.”
Given the opportunities at stake, Pyongyang residents are talking a lot about the district’s new housing development, he added.
Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.
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