Explaining the data discrepancyThe Moon Jae-in administration has laid out up to 25 sets of real estate measures. They included multiple heavy taxes that cannot be found in any parts of the world and suppressed ownership to dry up the supply pipeline. Many people endured them as they believed the rampant real estate speculation could at least be tamed.
The latest finding by the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) shattered such public confidence. There was some faith in government policy even if they had been coarse and tough. But that faith came down from the discrepancy in data. The real prices of apartments and what had been revealed by the government was different.
The civic group tracked and analyzed market prices and appraisal value of 115,000 units in 75 apartment complexes across 25 districts in Seoul from May 2017 (when President Moon took office) to January this year. A typical three-room 99.2-square-meter (1,067-square-foot) apartment’s appraisal value jumped 86 percent, and the market price 79 percent, on average. Anyone would agree.
Yet the government claims the rise in apartment prices has been a modest 17.2 percent from May 2017 to January this year, reiterating the similar results of June last year based on the housing price survey by state-owned Korea Real Estate Board. A monthly report by KB Kookmin Bank found the average apartment price in northern Seoul exceeding 900 million won ($798,000) in June.
Apartments in 14 districts in northern Seoul that cost 800 million won in November last year were sold at 903 million won on average last month. Average apartment prices just outside Seoul also jumped to over 700 million won for the first time.
Despite public agonies, the government repeated the mantra that housing prices would come down and stabilize. It is now forcing people to believe that housing prices rose only 17 percent.
The argument is paradoxical because it could not have raised appraisal value 86 percent if the gains in apartment prices had been that modest. President Moon Jae-in vowed to normalize housing prices. Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Hong Nam-ki claims that housing prices were stabilizing. They are only fanning public anger.
The CCEJ challenges the government to disclose how it came to the figure 17 percent and demands it stop deceiving the people and fix the distortion in data. Presidential staff and the government must answer to its demands.