[Newsmaker] Two Seoul districts protest government’s latest home supply plan

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Oct 2, 2018 - 16:44
  • Updated : Oct 2, 2018 - 17:55

Residents in two districts in Seoul -- Songpa and Gangdong -- are protesting the government’s latest home supply plan, which includes building a new residential town in a former prison site in Songpa, saying they were not consulted before the Ministry of Land announcement.

Last month, the central government announced that it would supply some 300,000 public housing units starting from 2021, in an effort to stabilize the overheated housing market.

Under the plan, 11 areas in Seoul, including the former prison site in Songpa, will be developed into new residential towns. Some 10,000 public housing units will be supplied in these towns, the government said.

An apartment complex in Seoul`s Songpa district. (Yonhap)

The plan also includes a proposal to build a residential town specifically for newlyweds, supplying small-size apartments at relatively lower prices, in Seoul’s Gangdong district.

However, the Songpa and Gangdong district governments are protesting the announcement, saying they had not been informed beforehand of the plans.

“We understand that there is a need for stable and affordable housing for newly married, young couples,” said Lee Jung-hun, mayor of Gangdong, in a statement.

“But our districts already have more than 10,000 public housing units for newlyweds, young citizens and those who are socially vulnerable. Building public housing only in certain areas won’t solve the regional inequality in Seoul in the long run.”

The government’s plan to build residential towns specifically for young married couples has met opposition from many parts of the country. 

Residents living in the affluent district of Seohyeon in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, have also been fiercely protesting the Ministry of Land’s proposal to build such a town in their district, claiming public housing will cause real estate prices in the area to drop.

Residents in Songpa, on the other hand, claim that the former prison site was supposed to be redeveloped into an area that consists of cultural facilities and a support center for young job seekers, among others.

Songpa is one of the richest districts in Seoul along with Seocho and Gangnam, and is home to a number of Seoul‘s landmarks including the Lotte World Tower.

Apartment prices in Seoul have shot up in recent months after Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon announced a redevelopment plan for two districts in Seoul -- Yeouido and Yongsan -- in July.

The mayor eventually postponed the plan, saying it would not materialize until the county’s real estate market stabilizes.