[EDITORIALS]Let market solve housing woesThe government announced yesterday a revised rental housing policy under which it will buy about 50,000 housing units over the next 10 years and lease them to low-income earners. To secure housing for low income people, a sufficient supply of rental houses at reasonable prices is necessary.
Buying and renting housing to low-income earners in areas where they will have short commutes to their jobs will additionally save them transportation money and time. These measures are desirable in that they contribute to improve the quality of their lives.
On the other hand, the location of government-leased housing units ― to be built in areas where the government recently lifted green-belt restrictions ― is not good for low-income earners considering the lack of transportation infrastructure. It’s better to expand rental houses in cities that have good transportation after purchasing houses there.
The revised policy also mandates that the new low-income rental units will be mixed with regular apartments for a good “social mix.”
It is ideal to have various social classes living together in the same building.
But such plans have rarely succeeded even in more developed nations such as European countries. Thus, a thorough study of the plan is essential rather than quickly implementing one that has not been very well thought out.
It is proper that the government is taking responsibility for low-income people who can’t afford homes.
But the government cannot solve the problems of the entire rental housing market by itself and instead should entrust the private sector to take care of it.
Various plans such as tax benefits should be offered to attract investors to build rental housing.
Also, the government should differentiate housing policies. The government should focus on housing policies in terms of welfare, such as supplying rental houses for low-income and poor people.
It should set a principle that will leave the rest of the problems for the market, because it is the only way to stabilize housing prices over the long term.
The government has seen over the last 30 years that it has not been effective even though it tried to clamp down on housing prices whenever they jumped.