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(LEAD) Ruling party chief warns of stronger steps to curb housing prices if needed

All Headlines 14:19 September 14, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS more details from para 6)

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- The chief of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Friday warned of stronger measures to curb soaring housing prices if speculative demand continues to disturb the housing market.

The government announced Thursday that it will impose tougher taxes on the owners of high-value houses and multiple homes and increase the housing supply in Seoul and adjacent areas as home prices posted the fastest growth in a decade.

Lee Hae-chan, the chairman of the DP, expressed strong willingness to stabilize the housing market.

"If there is a market disturbance, we need stronger measures," Lee said at a meeting with senior party members.

"The latest measures are aimed at blocking speculative demand and protecting people actually hoping to purchase homes, as well as boosting the housing supply," he said. "I hope that people don't seek unearned income any more with apartments or housing."

Hong Young-pyo, the DP's floor leader, also said that his party is ready to mobilize every means available to stabilize home prices.

But opposition parties denounced the government for dropping a "tax bomb," claiming that its policy failure is to blame for the soaring cost of housing.

Since taking office in May last year, the Moon Jae-in administration has unveiled a series of measures to curb rising housing prices.

But they have had little impact on stabilizing the market amid ample liquidity and expectations for redeveloping Yongsan and the financial district of Yeouido in Seoul.

Kim Byong-joon, the chairman of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, branded the government's latest housing policy an "utter failure."

"The government should not stick to the income-driven growth policy that focuses on income distribution. The government needs to encourage companies to grow and mull ways to absorb floating funds," he told reporters.

Sohn Hak-kyu, the chief of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, said that the government failed to unveil a housing policy that could balance demand and supply.

"The government is dealing with the housing policy with stop-gap measures," Sohn said at a meeting with senior party members.


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