Property statistics tick up again

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Property statistics tick up again

The housing market is showing signs of recovery as apartment prices in Seoul rose for the 12th consecutive week and the number of housing transactions last month rose on year for the second consecutive month.

According to the Korea Appraisal Board (KAB) on Thursday, the price index for apartments in Seoul rose 0.03 percent this week from the previous week.

The KAB explained that prices rose in the capital due to demand from the fall moving season and the availability of underpriced apartments, with the market apparently unaffected by the government plan to impose a cap on pre-construction prices.

Apartment prices in the greater capital area rose 0.04 percent from the previous week, while apartment prices remained unchanged nationwide.

The housing market had been sluggish over the past year after the government decided to impose strict housing loan restrictions in September last year to control prices after a housing rally in the first half of the year.

While prices have recently been rising steadily in the capital, trading activity has been relatively slow.

According to data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the number of housing transactions in August rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 66,506. The figure was still a 22.9 percent fall compared to the five-year average for the month.

The rise was limited to areas outside of the capital’s metropolitan region.

Transactions in Seoul fell 0.5 percent on year, while in the greater capital area, they fell 8.6 percent. Housing transactions elsewhere rose by 14.2 percent.

The subdued rise last month dashed expectations that the housing market could well be on its way to more activity. Transactions in July rose 5.7 percent from the previous year, recording the first on-year rise after monthly declines throughout 2019.

The government and the ruling party still remains committed to ensure stability in the housing market, reaching an agreement Wednesday to make legal amendments to ensure that rental tenants can stay up to four years in rented homes instead of the currently mandated two years.

Under local housing laws, landlords are unable to cancel rental contracts before the two-year period without due cause.

The Democratic Party said that it would pursue changes so that landlords will have to allow tenants to live for an extra two years if the tenants wish to after the initial two-year period. The move could, however, end up raising jeonse, or long-term rental, prices.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]

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