January 31, 2020 10:17
More than half of Seoul apartments are now valued at more than W900 million for the first time (US$1=W1,188).
According to a study by KB Bank out Thursday, the median apartment price in the capital stood at W912.2 million this month, while the average price was W870 million.
The W900 million price tag marks the threshold when owners have to pay higher acquisition and capital gains taxes, while banks become restrictive in extending housing loans under fresh government measures to curb real estate prices.
The median price has soared by 50.4 percent since President Moon Jae-in took office in May 2017, when it stood at W606.4 million.
In 11 districts south of the Han River it rose 52.9 percent to W1.15 billion, and in 14 districts north of the river it increased 47.5 percent to W642.7 million. The government has focused on curbing prices in affluent Gangnam, but they actually rose more than other parts of the city.
The latest data have sparked criticism that the government is using unrealistic criteria to determine what an expensive apartment is since the median price is now higher than the W900 million threshold for "high-priced" properties.
Under the fresh curbs announced last month, people who take apartments worth more than W900 million also cannot obtain bank loans to help pay for jeonse or Korean-style deposit lease.
Shim Kyo-eon at Konkuk University said, "Apartment and consumer prices have surged, but the standard for high-priced apartments remains unchanged from 11 years ago. The government needs to consider raising the threshold to ease people's financial burden."
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