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Multiple-home-owning government officials would rather keep Seoul properties

Senior administration officials who own two or more homes are not complying with Cheong Wa Dae guidelines against multiple property ownership by public servants, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said, despite a recently introduced housing policy designed to discourage the practice among the general public.

The party’s spokesperson Kim Sung-won told The Korea Herald that the Moon Jae-in administration’s real estate measures prevented the middle class from purchasing homes by restricting mortgage loans, while high-ranking government officials continued to retain property in pricey areas of Gangnam, southern Seoul.

“The chief of staff to the president as well as the chairman of the Financial Services Commission have stated they would not sell their Gangnam properties,” Kim said. “What this signals to the real estate market is that home prices in Gangnam will never fall.”

The Gangnam nightscape (123rf)
The Gangnam nightscape (123rf)

Announcing the housing regulations on Monday, Cheong Wa Dae urged public servants who own multiple properties to “keep one (home) and sell the rest.”

In a press release, the senior secretary to the president for public communication, Yoon Do-han, said chief of staff Noh Young-min “advised senior government officials to join in on the administration’s efforts to stabilize housing prices by selling off excess properties in Seoul and the surrounding area of Gyeonggi Province.”

But these guidelines would allow Noh, who owns a home in Seoul and another in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, to hold onto both his properties.

Another dual-home owning government official, Financial Services Commission Chairman Eun Sung-soo, said during a press conference Tuesday that he would be keeping his property in the wealthy district of Seocho in Seoul, selling another in the city of Sejong.

Konkuk University real estate studies professor Shim Gyo-eon told The Korea Herald that this series of moves by government figures would exacerbate polarization in real estate wealth.

“Government should take the lead in forgoing vision of houses as assets and investments,” he said, pointing out “the inequality where some multiply wealth by owning several, while others struggle to rent one.”

A 39-year-old office worker, who asked to be identified only by his surname, Lee, told The Korea Herald the Cheong Wa Dae measures were totalitarian and infringement on constitutional rights to property.

“But it is also ironic that those in government are not following through with its proposed aim to curb rising housing costs and cut down on the practice of property hoarding in Seoul, especially Gangnam,” he said.

By Kim Arin (

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