Along with many British property investors, the Koreans know a bargain when they see one and the US property market is one of them at the moment. According to a report issued by the Korean Ministry of Finance and Economy, Korea’s overseas real estate buying increased in October from a month earlier due to a higher number of purchases in North America. Korean individuals and companies bought $96 million worth of land and houses in foreign countries last month, up from $86 million the preceding month. That brings the total value of the country’s overseas property buying from January to October to $968 million.
Individuals and businesses made more purchases in North America last month from the previous month, while making fewer purchases in Southeast Asia. They made 77 purchases in North America, up from 72, while making 96 purchases in Southeast Asia, down from 157. The volume of purchases for investment purposes came to $37 million in October, the report said.
Korea has seen a surge in foreign reserves and earnings in securities companies and are clearly determined to invest some of this new found wealth in the North American property market. According to the Bank of Korea, the nation’s foreign reserves amounted to $261.9 billion as of the end of November, up $1.8 billion from the preceding month.
“A weaker dollar boosted the dollar conversion value of assets denominated in euro and other foreign currencies, while investment profits also grew,” the central bank said in a statement.
Foreign reserves consist of securities and deposits denominated in overseas currencies along with International Monetary Fund reserve positions, special drawing rights and gold bullion. As of the end of October, South Korea was the world’s sixth-largest holder of foreign exchange reserves, outpaced by India for the first time. The country, which was overtaken by Russia in April last year, ranked 5th in the world until September.