[EDITORIALS]More housing needed

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[EDITORIALS]More housing needed

The government has reacted leisurely to the crisis over the housing supply. Tenants are having a hard time because they cannot find houses, but the government keeps downplaying the issue, calling it “a temporary imbalance between supply and demand.” The basic cause of the housing crisis is imbalance between supply and demand, as the government said. However, that imbalance is not a temporary matter but a systemic and long-term problem. Although an increasing number of people want to live in Seoul, the quantity of houses for lease has decreased since this administration took office. Whether for sale or lease, there must be houses, but because the government blocks the supply of houses with all types of regulations, house prices increase and so do deposits for house leasing.
The government also raised taxes on houses, saying it wants to keep house prices under control, but this measure only made owners raise deposits when they lease the houses. An increasing number of house owners have reportedly changed their houses from leased homes into rentals.
As a result, low-income people who do not own houses find it difficult to buy houses or to lease them because of the elevated deposits. The government’s real estate policy, designed to lower house prices in affluent southern Seoul, failed to do the job but instead ended up giving working-class people a hard time.
Korea has a special type of lease under which a tenant pays a deposit and can live in the house for two years without any changes in the deposit. When the tenant wants to move out, he or she gets the deposit back. This way, people who cannot afford to buy houses can find places to live without losing the original money they pay first.
If not everyone can buy a house and if the government cannot take responsibility for that, somebody has to build houses and rent them out. The administration views people who own more than one house as speculators, but they actually offered houses to low-income people, a job that the government could not do. Levying high taxes on these people has resulted in a decline in the number of houses for lease and the surge in the deposits.
It will be good if the government can provide all tenants rental houses. If it cannot, it should help them to find them on their own. The government said it would support housing for low-income citizens, but with its unreasonable realestate policy, it is throwing those people out on the street.
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