Tirelessly testing public patienceThe government has been genius in propping up real estate prices. It has so far rolled out 22 sets of real estate measures that all led to further rises in housing value and ripple effects in undeveloped areas. Many now suspect the goal of the Moon Jae-in administration’s real estate policy is to inflate — not deflate — prices of properties. Now that the ruling Democratic Party (DP) has joined the Blue House and government in real estate barnstorm, the entire country is under a real estate frenzy.
After their past demand-focused measures failed, the presidential office, government and ruling party have all come up with ideas of their own to bolster supplies. However, instead of addressing the dire under-supply in inner Seoul, they chase far-fetched ideas like removing the green belt zones, developing the Taeneung golf course under the military and relocating the administrative capital.
To rein in speculation, policymakers must be discreet about sensitive development plans and work on them thoroughly after feasibility studies. But they have only fueled land and housing prices by leaking the ideas before any examination.
Apartment prices around Taeneung jumped by more than 100 million won ($83,600) after President Moon Jae-in crossed green belt areas off the table.
After DP floor leader Kim Tae-nyeon floated the idea of moving the remaining government offices, including the Blue House and National Assembly, to the Sejong Administrative City, apartment prices in the city gained nearly 1 percent last week, the fastest rate across the country. During the same week, apartment prices in Seoul gained 0.06 percent on average.
After the Blue House suggested easing some of the green belts in southern Seoul, property prices around Segok-dong and Naegok-dong also jumped. Policymakers were more or less promoting real estate speculation. Realtors even shake their heads on their bewildering behaviors to add fuel to the fire.
Yet the Blue House stays unfazed. It still supports Land Minister Kim Hyun-mee and Moon’s policy chief Kim Sang-jo. The ruling party is even out to make unconstitutional bills that can damage the civilian rights to property ownership through tax bombardment.
People have stormed out to the streets over the weekend to protest President Moon and his real estate policies. People in their 30s and 40s are crying out, “We have been deceived by Moon!” on social media. The ruling party must humble before the public fury. It must not wage a war of nerves with the market or people. It must come up with lasting and feasible solutions. Its railroading ways are paining the people too much.