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Report: North Korea real estate plummets after summit collapse

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: North Korea real estate plummets after summit collapse
High-rise apartments in the city of Sinuiju, North Korea (pictured) are falling in value, according to a recent press report. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, March 11 (UPI) -- Real estate prices are taking a dive in North Korea following the collapse of the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, according to a recent press report.

The pace of apartment sales is slowing in North Korean cities like Pyongyang and Sinuiju, where prices are in sharp decline, a North Korean source temporarily visiting China said, according to Radio Free Asia on Tuesday.

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"The price of newly built high-end residential apartments in Pyongyang have fallen significantly," the source from Pyongyang told RFA, adding the apartments in question are the new upscale residences that are redefining the city's skyline.

The source went on to say the fall in prices is not easily explained; North Koreans in the class of wealthy traders and elites are the only people who can afford posh properties. Recently they have not been purchasing the apartments.

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North Korean entrepreneurs are taking on a gloomier outlook following the breakdown of talks between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. They are being more careful with their money, RFA's source said.

A source in Sinuiju speaking on the condition of anonymity said the real estate slowdown is affecting the border city.

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"Our economic situation is different from China," the source said. "There are not many people who can afford to buy high-rise apartments by paying tens of thousands of dollars."

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Some owners are offloading their property, the source in Sinuiju said.

"There are people who purchased 3,560 square feet of housing for $40,000, then spent [$7,500] on interior design," the source said. "They're now selling it for $40,000."

The Hanoi summit ended without a deal, but the United States is not yet ready to return to the mutual distrust that defined relations before 2018.

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U.S. special envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun downplayed the importance of commercial satellite images showing activity at a satellite launch pad, Voice of America reported Monday.

"We don't know that it's meant to send any particular statement to us," Biegun said.

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