[EDITORIALS]No quick fixes, pleaseThe government's plan to strengthen the requirements to rebuild apartment complexes and question the source of funds used in housing purchases would be effective in tackling much of the recent speculation-fueled housing price increases. But the plan falls short of a complete policy in the failure to address the excess demand for housing in the southern district of Seoul where much of the price inflation have originated.
The strengthened requirements needed to begin reconstruction of older apartment complexes include approvals by higher administrative bodies than the district-level go-ahead now needed. Reconstruction will also be approved only for complexes that are found to have serious safety defects. The speculation now associated with reconstruction projects is largely the result of the government having used the projects for economic policies. The trend began when the government encouraged reconstruction to buoy the construction industry.
Residents and builders alike began competing to win projects for their own financial gains. So it is appropriate that the measures announced Friday try to return to the original purpose of such projects, which was safer structures and better living conditions. There remains the issue of supply of housing by restricting reconstruction, but it must be tackled through a different course. The closer scrutiny of the funds paid in real estate deals and possible tax audits for those suspected of speculation must not remain temporary measures brought out only when there are large price increases.
That real estate speculation centers on certain areas indicates that there has been a widening of the living conditions gap in different areas. The southern part of Seoul has been the center of such activities for a number of years, due mostly to the excess demand for housing there. The basis for the demands are convenient transportation, a concentration of better living conditions and a higher quality of education. So education should be treated as an important part of the consideration. Alternatives must be made available in northern Seoul and also in the satellite cities, including privately-run high schools that can offer an education similar in quality to those in southern Seoul.