An insane state-run instituteThe Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (Krihs) accused the media for hyping up and worsening apartment prices in Seoul and across the country. In a recently published report, the state-run institute claimed that it found media influence in the investment concentration in apartments and the jump in average prices as well as the sky-high housing values in Seoul, including the three hot Gangnam real estate districts. The report studied the relationship between press coverage on average housing prices, top prices and trade volumes and consumer sentiment.
The report concluded that an increase in media coverage on apartment price surges in Seoul actually fanned the anticipation for a further rise. The phenomenon has deepened since 2017 to send the prices to record highs, said the report.
The report was based on the assumption that media reports influence housing prices. Data was collected to back the theory and fixed to stretch the correlation, bringing the finding it had aimed. The institute’s analysis, however, has committed fallacy from the definition of basic statistical analysis. It is like attributing the rain to the prayer ritual after the rain finally comes.
The jump in housing prices resulted from the government’s repeated policy failures. It had to trot out 26 sets of real estate measures because it never got it right. In April, President Moon Jae-in admitted that he had little excuse on real estate issues. It is preposterous to lay the blame on the media.
Krihs President Kang Hyun-soo had been a key confidante of Kim Soo-hyun, former presidential policy chief who had designed the real estate policy for the Moon Jae-in administration. The two went to the same graduate school on environment at Seoul National University and rotated to head the progressive space and environment society called the Korea Association of Space and Environment Research. Kang was the third head of the association and Kim the 10th. Short-lasted Byun Chang-heum who resigned over the Korea Land and Housing Corp. scandal was also a member of the research group. While the ruling Democratic Party railroads with a highly controversial amendment to the Media Arbitration Act, a state think tank claims the media was the behind the housing unrest. All this is outrageous.