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Seoul Mayor pledges city’s alliance with new government in housing policy

Oh vows to increase home supply; suppress real estate prices

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon speaks during a press meeting held on Tuesday at Seoul City Hall to celebrate the first anniversary of his inauguration. (Yonhap)
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon speaks during a press meeting held on Tuesday at Seoul City Hall to celebrate the first anniversary of his inauguration. (Yonhap)

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said Tuesday that he would seek close cooperation with the incoming Yoon Suk-yeol administration on Seoul’s housing policy to increase housing supply and suppress runaway real estate prices.

“I think it is important to work closely with the central government to increase the housing supply. But the city will approach the issue carefully so as not to cause any unnecessary surges of real estate prices,” Oh said during a press meeting held in line with the first anniversary of his inauguration at Seoul City Hall.

The mayor hinted that the Yoon administration and the Seoul Metropolitan Government are on the same page about housing policy.

Oh recently delivered his opinions on the housing policy to Won Hee-ryong, President-elect Yoon’s nominee for minister of land, infrastructure and transport, over the phone.

“Won and I came to a consensus that the housing policy should be designed delicately to prevent potential spikes in real estate prices,” Oh said. Oh also stressed that stabilizing real estate prices is more important than merely increasing the home supply.

The mayor of Seoul criticized the current administration’s housing policy, which apparently failed to stabilize the real estate market here. “For the last 10 years, Seoul was stuck in a dark age when it came to the housing issue,” Oh said.

Reinstating the troubled real estate market and normalizing the city‘s stagnant supply of new homes will be his goals during his term, he added.

He also promised to realize a “green ecological city” where buildings and forested green spaces coexist in downtown Seoul.

“The green areas of downtown London and New York are 15 to 16 percent, but the green space of Seoul is 5 percent,” the mayor said, vowing to increase the green area to more than 10 percent.

Oh vowed to lift the height limit on buildings and increase floor area ratios to make more space for trees, adding the specific methodology will be soon presented.

When asked about his thoughts on the six Seoul Mayor nominees from the major opposition party for the upcoming the June 1 local elections, Oh declined to comment, saying “It is inappropriate to make comments on the opposition party’s nominees.”

Oh is currently the People Power Party’s sole Seoul Mayor nominee for the upcoming local election.

Instead of making remarks on his competitors, Oh expressed hopes that the upcoming local election would become a stage where candidates are evaluated based on their visions and policies.

Oh also said he will seek reelection to pursue his 5-year plan, which he built since he won the Seoul mayoral by-election in April last year.

Among many agenda items, Oh mentioned that Seoul will make a new push to help the South Korean capital to step up as Asia’s premier financial hub. Oh said that he will work closely with the new administration to clear heavy-handed regulations which have weakened Seoul’s position. Oh said he would try to make changes to the tax system, while looking into opportunities to introduce new incentives to attract businesses and investors leaving Hong Kong.



By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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