Gov’t will add 132,000 homes in and around Seoul

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Lee Kyung-min lkm@ko­re­atimes.co.kr

The govern­ment an­nounced Tues­day that it will fa­cil­i­tate the sup­ply of 132,000 new homes in Seoul and the sur­round­ing Gyeonggi Prov­ince by eas­ing con­struc­tion rules and mak­ing more land avail­able in its lat­est ef­fort to curb prop­erty spec­u­la­tion and sta­bi­lize home prices.

Con­struc­tion rules will be eased through the in­crease of floor area ra­tios, mea­sured by build­ing area di­vided by lot area, to up to 500 per­cent, which will al­low for the re­de­vel­op­ment of aging apart­ments. Also the cur­rent height re­stric­tion limit of 35 sto­ries for apart­ment blocks will be raised to 50.

Lands to be opened for home con­struc­tion in­clude those pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by state-run or­ga­ni­za­tions, and ar­eas re­turned by the United State Forces of Korea or owned by the Seoul Metropoli­tan Govern­ment.

The sup­ply-bol­ster­ing mea­sure is part of the govern­ment’s 23rd real es­tate pol­icy to curb spec­u­la­tion amid the rapid up­trend of apart­ment prices in Seoul and the rest of the coun­try over the past three years.

“The govern­ment plans to max­i­mize the sup­ply of homes in the mar­ket to help peo­ple achieve sta­ble, longterm liv­ing ar­range­ments,” Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Hong Nam-ki said dur­ing a brief­ing at the Seoul Govern­ment Com­plex in Gwangh­wa­mun, Mon­day.

Around 10,000 homes will be built at the for­mer Taere­ung Coun­try Club in Nowon, north­ern Seoul; and 3,100 in Camp Kim, an old mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity in Yongsan, down­town Seoul. The golf course was made avail­able af­ter the govern­ment lifted a “green belt” re­stric­tion put in place there to help pre­serve the wild, agri­cul­tural land near the highly de­vel­oped ur­ban area.

Around 6,200 homes will be built on land pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by state-run or­ga­ni­za­tions, with most of these to be of­fered to young peo­ple and newly-weds, a group of peo­ple for whom sta­ble hous­ing has in­creas­ingly be­come a dis­tant dream, the govern­ment said.

Four thou­sand homes will be made avail­able in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Prov­ince, where an­other govern­ment com­plex was lo­cated be­fore it was moved to Se­jong.

Un­der the eased re-de­vel­op­ment rule, Korea Land & Hous­ing Corp. (LH) and Seoul Hous­ing & Com­mu­ni­ties Corp. (SH), the two state-run en­ti­ties, will play a role in en­sur­ing the sup­ply of up to twice the num­ber of ex­ist­ing homes will be built in cer­tain ar­eas af­ter the govern­ment’s re-de­vel­op­ment plan takes ef­fect.

Seoul Na­tional Univer­sity econ­o­mist Lee In-ho re­mained skep­ti­cal over the mea­sures not­ing that the much-dis­torted real es­tate mar­ket will only ex­pe­ri­ence fur­ther con­fu­sion due to a lack of deep con­sid­er­a­tion about peo­ple’s wants and needs.

“Peo­ple want to live in de­cent homes in de­cent ar­eas, not govern­ment-rented homes. The in­crease in sup­ply will never draw the de­sired out­come be­cause of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s con­tin­ued fail­ure to un­der­stand what peo­ple re­ally want,” he said.

Yon­hap

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Hong Nam-ki, cen­ter, Land Min­is­ter Kim Hyun-mee, left, and act­ing Seoul Mayor Seo Jeong-hyub give a press brief­ing at the Seoul Govern­ment Com­plex in Gwangh­wa­mun, Tues­day.

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