Foreign investors acquired more land in Gyeonggi Province and Jeju Island but sold their properties in mountainous Gangwon Province last year.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, foreigners owned 238.9 million sq.m of land in Korea as of the end of last year, up 2.3 percent or 5.34 million sq.m from a year earlier.

Their holdings account for 0.2 percent of the total land in the country.

Yet their properties' value fell W2.19 trillion compared to a year ago to W30.12 trillion based on the posted price (US$1=W1,080).

Gyeonggi Province was the most popular with 42.71 million sq.m, up 12 percent.

The ministry said, "It seems that many Korean Canadians and Korean Americans acquired land in Gyeonggi Province either as a gift or by inheritance," which usually come to the same thing.

The holdings of Chinese nationals rose 11.8 percent to 17.98 million sq.m. The increase rate peaked at a frantic 98 percent in 2014, but has been cooling off since then.

Some 50 percent of the land owned by Chinese or 9.44 million sq.m was on Jeju Island, which heavily promoted second-home schemes. 

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