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S. Korea speeds up plan to supply homes: finance minister

Apartment and high-rise buildings in downtown Seoul (Yonhap)
Apartment and high-rise buildings in downtown Seoul (Yonhap)
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Wednesday the government is speeding up a plan to supply homes in Seoul and other regions, as it seeks to curb high-flying home prices.

In February, the government unveiled the plan that eased building regulations and supported redevelopment projects in urban areas to increase the number of new homes by up to 836,000 nationwide in the next four years.

Some residents in the designated areas in Seoul have already voted in favor of the redevelopment projects, making it easier for the construction of new homes to begin earlier than scheduled, Hong told a meeting with relevant ministers.

The February housing policy focuses on increasing the home supply in the Seoul metropolitan area and other major cities to stabilize the heated real estate market, in what could be a drastic shift from imposing a series of tougher regulations.

The supply plan includes 323,000 new units in Seoul, the hotspot of the real estate frenzy, and 293,000 in the surrounding Gyeonggi Province by 2025, officials said.

Together with housing plans announced last year, the number of new units in the greater Seoul area, home to nearly half of the nation's 52 million population, will rise to over 2 million, the largest supply plan under the Moon Jae-in administration, officials said.

The average price of apartments spanning 83 square meters in Seoul reached 1.2 billion won ($1.1 million) last year, jumping 82 percent over the past four years under the Moon administration, according to the data by the civic group Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice.

The rising property prices and tight lending rules made it more difficult not only for low-income families but also high earners to buy a home in Seoul without financial support from their parents. (Yonhap)

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