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S. Korea's home transactions plunge in March

All Headlines 11:00 April 14, 2016

SEJONG, April 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's home sales plunged 30.4 percent last month from a year earlier amid some signs of a slowdown in the local property market, government data showed Thursday.

The number of home transactions reached 77,853 in March compared with a record 111,869 tallied a year ago, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

It also marked a 9.9 percent drop from a five-year average of 86,000, while it jumped 31.4 percent from the previous month's 59,265.

For the first three months of the year, home sales slid 26.1 percent on-year to 199,483.

The sharp decline in March came after a 25 percent on-year drop in February and a 21 percent fall in January, signaling that the local real estate market is rapidly cooling down from a market boom last year.

The country's property market was on a roll throughout last year on the back of a series of government measures to revitalize the housing market and the entire economy.

It has lifted reconstruction regulations and eased other financial hurdles to let people easily borrow money and buy or rent houses, while the central bank cut the base rate to a record low of 1.5 percent.

As a result, home transactions hit an all-time high in 2015, surging 18.8 percent on-year to 1,193,691 last year.

In March, home transactions in Seoul and its surrounding areas posted negative figures, dropping 34.2 percent on-year to 38,311.

In rural areas, the figure stood at 39,542 last month, down 26.3 percent from a year earlier.

brk@yna.co.kr
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