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Land Minister vows to ease price ceiling on privately built apartments

Flights connecting Gimpo, Haneda to resume on June 1 at earliest

Land Minister Won Hee-ryong speaks at a press briefing marking the start of his term, held in the administrative city of Sejong on Monday (Yonhap)
Land Minister Won Hee-ryong speaks at a press briefing marking the start of his term, held in the administrative city of Sejong on Monday (Yonhap)
New South Korean Land Minister Won Hee-ryong pledged Monday to announce measures to ease the cap on presale prices of privately built apartments, a scheme adopted by the previous Moon Jae-in administration widely criticized for failing to curb the housing prices here.

“The scheme has been introducing side-effects to the market as it forcefully puts a cap on the presale prices when it doesn’t consider parts of maintenance cost or the rising raw materials cost,” Won said at a press briefing marking the start of his term, held in the administrative city of Sejong.

“We plan to announce detailed measures that could ease the parts the scheme that calls for more flexibility in June” he added.

But Won called the price cap scheme a “safety net” for the market that puts a brake on the surging presale prices of privately built homes, hinting he has no plans to completely lift the measure.

The minister also vowed to alleviate the previous administration’s heavy-handed tax measures on multiple homeowners, saying that the current tax system forces a singular rule upon them.

“The current real estate tax on multiple homeowners ignores the purposes of owning multiple properties and the roles of multiple homeowners in the market,” Won said

“It resulted in wiping out the supplies in the market and blocked landlords from receiving rents – we will not condemn multiple homeowners.”

To improve the access of Gyeonggi Province residents to Seoul and other parts of the province, the construction of high-speed Greater Train Express Lines A, B and C will be launched within Yoon’s five-year term. Other GTX Lines D, E and F will be reviewed for construction as well.

Meanwhile, flight services between Seoul’s Gimpo and Tokyo’s Haneda airports will be resumed as early as June 1, according to Won. The air route has been closed since March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A key goal of the Yoon administration is to ease the heavy-handed real estate policies imposed by the previous Moon administration, which has failed to cool down the heated housing market here.

The average sales price of apartments in Seoul has nearly doubled under the Moon administration, a civic group said last year, with the average price of a 99-square-meter apartment in Seoul rising to 1.19 billion won ($1.04 million) from 620 million won from May 2017 to May 2021. The data compiled by the Citizens‘ Coalition for Economic Justice involved the prices of 115,000 units in 75 apartment complexes in the nation’s capital.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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