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S. Korea may ease some construction rules to supply more homes

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (Yonhap)
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (Yonhap)

South Korea's policymakers have discussed easing some construction rules to supply more homes in Seoul and the neighboring area, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Tuesday.

A potential measure may allow an apartment building to have more homes by raising the residential floor area ratio, Hong told lawmakers.

Another measure may ease rules on floor-to-floor height in an apartment building, Hong said.

Hong has said the government will soon draw up comprehensive measures to supply more homes in Seoul and the neighboring area.

Last week, Hong and senior policymakers held a meeting and discussed measures to help resolve the housing supply shortage in the densely populated area.

The meeting included Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, raising speculation that military-owned land may be used to build homes.

Earlier this month, the government announced its toughest measures yet to rein in rising housing prices, as a series of steps, including tax hikes and loan regulations, failed to put the brakes on soaring home prices.

Record-low interest rates and excess liquidity, pumped into the market to help revive the virus-hit economy, have contributed to soaring home prices, analysts said.

Officials at the ruling Democratic Party (DP) said the government and the party plan to announce the envisioned measures to boost supply on Aug. 4.

The DP said the measures could create more than 100,000 new homes.

As part of the announcement, the party is also planning to come up with a new measure aimed at curbing speculative home purchases by foreigners, according to sources.

“When the home supply measures are announced, I believe they will have various impacts and consequences in the market,” the finance minister noted.

“The government cannot just watch the market (overheat), it will certainly come up with additional measures, if (the upcoming ones) are not enough,” the top policymaker added. (Yonhap)
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