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North Korea recognizes private ownership of land

An unofficial market economy is giving rise to a moneyed class in the country.

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea recognizes private ownership of land
A North Korean woman walks her dog in a small village near the North Korean city Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. Private ownership of land is being allowed in the country. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, June 28 (UPI) -- North Korea is legitimizing the private ownership of land, although the practice has been taking root unofficially in the country.

A source in North Korea who reports on behalf of New Focus International, a news service founded by North Korean defector Jang Jin-sung, said the government has recently permitted the possession and sale of real estate.

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The law comes with restrictions. The maximum amount of land a family is allowed to own is about 925 square feet, the source said.

The practice, however, has been ongoing.

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"North Korea previously did not allow the possession or purchase of land or real estate, but in reality, that was only true for the poor. Those who had money could buy and sell property legally. In fact, it's a growing trend in North Korea at the moment," the source said.

The report also stated the number of private homebuilders in North Korea has increased, and Pyongyang, out of concern, decided to establish a policy so trading takes place within certain parameters.

The policy includes restrictions on purchasable land and penalties, which include confiscation, if traders are found to be in violation of state rules.

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The increase in North Korean real estate activity is the result of a burgeoning market economy and the rise of a moneyed class, South Korean newspaper Kukmin Ilbo reported.

The materials for new homes are being imported from China, according to South Korea press, and demand for relatively upscale homes is on the rise.

Jobs such as interior design or in real estate property agency are becoming more visible, according to New Focus.

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