By Sohn Dong-woo and Lee Ha-yeon
Foreign ownership in South Korean land edged up 0.3 percent in the first half of this year from the end of last year, slowing down amid a fall in Chinese-owned land, government data showed on Monday.
According to data released by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the total area that foreigners own in Korea reached 234.16 million square meters as of the end of June this year, accounting for 0.2 percent of the country’s entire land. In terms of value, it reached 31.86 trillion won ($29.3 billion), down 1.4 percent from the end of last year.
Foreign investments in Korean land surged in 2014 and 2015, but the growth started to slow down last year. Korean land held by foreigners grew 0.5 percent in 2013 on year, 6.0 percent in 2014 and 9.6 percent in 2015. Then it slowed down at 2.3 percent in 2016 and a mere 0.3 percent in the first half of this year.
The slowdown in the foreign ownership of Korean land comes amid a fall in Chinese investment over the cited period. Chinese-owned land grew 37.9 percent in 2013 on year and 98.1 percent in 2014, and then its growth slowed at 13.1 percent in 2016 and 6.5 percent in the January-June period of 2017.
By nationality, Americans owned the largest land of 119.08 million square meters, or 50.9 percent of the country’s total area. Europeans followed with 9.1 percent, Japanese 7.6 percent, and Chinese 7.3 percent.