S.Korea GNP leader urges housing market measures

SEOUL: South Korea's ruling party leader on Thursday, Aug 19 urged the government to quickly adopt measures aimed at reactivating housing transactions, which have slumped due to uncertain economic prospects and strict regulations.

Grand National Party Chairman Ahn Sang-soo made the remarks during a meeting of senior party members, a media department official said, without elaborating.

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs had planned to announce such measures last month but has put the plan on hold as it was unable to reach an agreement with other government ministries on details.

The main Seoul stock market's sub-index of construction companies has risen only 0.5% over the past month, underperforming the broader market's  2.2% gain partly due to the delayed measures.

Housing prices have risen from a year earlier but sale transactions have been shrinking, partly because of strict restrictions on mortgage borrowing imposed in recent years.

There has been a broad consensus among policymakers on the need for market-boosting measures but also concerns that eased mortgage lending rules could spark a property price bubble and sharply lift already heavy household debt. -- Reuters
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