As sanctions bite, rental market grows in North Korea

Lee Sang Yong  |  2018-04-12 17:53
North Koreans in agricultural regions are reportedly renting out their homes for monthly fees to help cope with the knock-on effects of international sanctions targeting the regime for its nuclear and missile development. This has caused real estate prices drop inside the country, as demand for rental properties outpaces demand for home purchases. 

Its gotten even harder to live these days, so a lot of people are selling their homes and moving in with others. You dont want to have your house on the market for long, so people dont mention their complaints and reasons for doing so in order to attract renters," a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on April 9.

Times are tough, so this year has seen a lot people getting by on rent paid by people coming in from other cities. Some places go for as low as 30,000 KPW--thats how low theyre willing to go to find a way to survive.

Based on current market trends, 30,000 KPW is approximately 4 USD, although the exact prices fluctuate based on accessibility and proximity to transportation hubs like train stations, and whether the house is single or multiple occupancy.

A place really close to a university is only about 100,000 KPW per month, with people there sometimes sharing meals together or others simply using it as a place to sleep. People provide their own rice and can pay an additional 100,000 KPW for side dishes during their stay.

The price is inversely proportional to the distance from the university, he added, with the more far-flung rental locations running as low as 50,000-60,000 KPW.

A source in North Hamgyong Province added, A place right around Chongjin University is 110,000-130,000 per month, and if you want to share family-style meals together you pay a total of 150,000 KPW.

This proliferation of rental homes is yet another example of the erosion of socialist tenets and the complex nature of North Koreas market economy vis-a-vis the state. Some are reportedly renting out unoccupied rooms in their homes or refurbishing their homes to take on additional tenants looking for housing.

On paper, such practices remain illegal in North Korea, but officials in charge of housing provisions are understaffed and increasingly lax in their enforcement of the law. Residency-affiliated officials, like the inminban (peoples unit, a type of neighborhood watch) and the Ministry of Peoples Security who are tasked with the control and monitoring of itinerant populations simply submit reports without including potential problem cases.
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