Vietnam is the most preferred country among rich South Koreans looking to make overseas real estate investments, a new survey has found.
More than half of 400 South Koreans with assets worth over a billion won ($831,000) expressed interest in overseas real estate investments, according to the Korea Wealth Report 2019 recently published by KB Financial Group Research Institute, a private financial think tank.
Of these, 57.1 percent said they want to invest in Vietnam, followed by Singapore (32.1 percent), China (30.7 percent) and Malaysia (26.4 percent).
Among those with total assets worth less than 5 billion won ($4.16 million), who accounted for 60 percent of the respondents, 57.6 percent said they preferred Vietnamese real estate, followed by Singapore (31.8 percent), mainland China (30.6 percent), Malaysia (25.9 percent), Europe (17.6 percent), the U.S. (10.6 percent), Hong Kong (9.4 percent) and Japan (4.7 percent).
Among the remaining 40 percent with assets worth over 5 billion won, 56.4 percent expressed their interest in investing the Vietnamese market, followed by Singapore (32.7 percent), China (30.9 percent), Malaysia (27.3 percent), Europe (23.6 percent), the U.S. (18.2 percent), Hong Kong (10.9 percent) and Japan (9.1 percent).
The report said that rich South Koreans preferred indirect investments in overseas real estates through funds or real estate investment trusts, avoiding the trouble of understanding and analyzing unfamiliar foreign markets. It also said they will remain cautious about expanding their investments in 2019.
"The wealthy are delaying their investments, due to the economic slowdown following the U.S.-China trade war and regulations on the domestic housing market," it noted.
South Korea came second after Hong Kong in terms of foreign direct investment in Vietnam in the first nine months of 2019, pouring nearly with $4.62 billion, making up 18 percent of total FDI pledged to the country, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Data from the Bank of Korea shows that South Korean investors poured $56.1 million into Vietnam's property market last year, behind the U.S. with $155.2 million.