Authour: Song Lim(Bank of Korea)
In this study, we present a methodology and model to estimate land prices and the value of land assets in North Korea in the absence of any data about land characteristics from North Korean authorities. Using this framework, we experimentally make market price-based estimates for land assets across the entire urban area of North Korea. First, we estimate the determinants of land prices in South Korea using data on market prices of land from the late 1970s, when it was estimated that the income level gap between South Korea and North Korea wasn’t relatively large, and from the early 1980s, when urbanization levels in both of them were similar. Second, we calculate land prices and their relative ratios for each city and urban area in North Korea around 2015 by substituting proxy variables of determinants of land prices derived through a geographic information analysis of North Korea into the function of land prices that we have already estimated. Finally, we estimate the value of land assets in urban areas across North Korea by combining the ratio of housing transaction prices surveyed in several cities in North Korea with the relative prices estimated in this research. As a result, land prices in urban areas in North Korea, looking at the relative ratio of price by city, are estimated to be the highest, at 100.00, in Tongdaewon district of Pyongyang, and to be the lowest, at 1.70, in Phungso county, Ryanggang Province. Meanwhile, the value of land assets in urbanized areas was estimated at $21.6 billion in 2015, which was 1.2 to 1.3 times the GDP of North Korea that year. This ratio is similar to South Korea's in the 1978-1980 period, when the South Korean economy grew at an average rate of 6%. Considering North Korea’s growth rate of about 1% in the 2013-2014 period, its ratio of land assets to GDP appears very high.