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S. Korea to focus on stabilizing housing market: minister

Economy 08:16 November 17, 2021

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to pump up its efforts to stabilize the housing market as surging home prices and speculative demand have showed signs of easing, the country's top economic policymaker said Wednesday.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the growth of housing prices and demand for home buying have slowed since September in the latest sign that people's expectations for further price gains might have changed.

"As market anxiety that has driven housing price gains appears to significantly change, the government will do its best to ensure that the latest trends lead to stabilization in the housing market," Hong said at a government meeting on housing policy.

This photo, taken Nov. 15, 2021, shows apartment buildings in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Home prices in Seoul grew 0.71 percent last month from a month earlier, slowing from a 0.72 percent on-month gain in September, according to data by the Korea Real Estate Board.

The government has unveiled a set of measures to curb skyrocketing housing prices, including tax hikes and loan regulations. But the measures have led to only a short-term letting up as more people have taken out bank loans to buy homes in anticipation of higher prices.

The minister has repeatedly warned of a potential fall in housing prices, saying excessive demand for home buying could ease amid the central bank's monetary tightening and stricter regulations on household lending.

The Bank of Korea is widely expected to hike the benchmark interest rate in November to tame inflation and curb household debt. The bank raised the policy rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.75 percent in August.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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