[EDITORIALS]Curb land speculation now

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[EDITORIALS]Curb land speculation now

With the rush of announcements on deregulation and various land development plans, a large amount of money has been diverted to farmland, forests and fields. Funds for investment in land are reportedly being created and there are even brokers who help speculators use loopholes in the legal system. In practice, land transactions in such areas as Asan and Cheonan in South Chungcheong province and Siheung in Gyeonggi province have increased and the amounts involved have also risen sharply, showing symptoms of an overheated market.
It is natural for land prices to rise in areas where there is a plan for land development or construction of a high-speed rail station. The supply of land necessary for the enhancement of industrial competitiveness must be expanded. And land policy, which has forced a one-sided sacrifice by farmers by imposing various regulations on farmland, must be changed.
But the situation has clearly crossed the line. After overheated speculation in apartments was curbed by regulations last year, there is a clear sign that money is flowing into the land market. Again, it is apparent that a rush of speculative investment in land that is ruinous to the nation will be repeated. It will also have a negative effect on the economic recovery. The government must provide a countermeasure in advance.
Plans to ease regulations on farmland, lift restrictions on “greenbelt” areas and develop new towns announced by the central and local governments have fanned speculation. The viability of such plans is also doubtful.
If immature plans like these are misused by speculators, they will be the ones to benefit, instead of farmers or landowners. They can also have the side effect of making the supply of industrial land even more difficult because of price increases. It is necessary to provide the means to return the benefits of development to society, fix loopholes in transactions and control speculators.
It is also important to induce the estimated 400 trillion won ($330 billion) to 600 trillion won in liquid funds to flow into the financial sector. The government must study ways to induce the money to become industrial funds through reasonable interest rates.
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