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South Koreans' purchases of overseas properties decline in 1Q

SEOUL: South Koreans' purchases of overseas properties declined during the first quarter from three months earlier as investor sentiment remained sluggish despite steadily improving global economic conditions, data showed Wednesday, May 5.

According to the data provided by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, South Koreans purchased a total of US$58.7 million (RM190 million) worth of land, houses and other properties in foreign countries during the January-March period, sharply down from the US$85.1 million tallied during 4Q2009.

The sharp on-quarter reduction is attributable to sluggish sentiment among investors who remain reluctant to venture out to purchase expensive assets amid lingering global economic uncertainties, reported Yonhap news agency.

Bolstered by the government's move to ease related regulations, South Koreans' investments in overseas properties had been growing sharply until the world was hit by the financial turmoil in late 2008.

In 2003, local citizens bought a total of US$3.6 million worth of overseas properties, but the amount jumped to US$743.5 million and US$1.17 billion in 2006 and 2007, respectively, according to the data.

The global financial crisis and resulting economic downturn worldwide, however, dampened market sentiment. Property transactions halved to US$514 million in 2008 and they further declined to US$223 million last year, the data showed. -- Bernama
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