Home prices in Seoul topped 12 million won, or about 70,000 yuan, per square meter for the first time, up 20 percent over the past year and 74 percent since President Moon Jae-in took office in 2017, according to survey data from Kookmin Bank, the country’s largest commercial bank.
South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported Thursday that the epidemic has led to an apparent polarization of income among South Koreans. Soaring housing prices have made it increasingly difficult for low-income families to buy homes. South Korean President Moon Jae-in apologized for the sharp rise in housing prices caused by the country’s restrictive policies and vowed to focus on expanding housing supply in his New Year’s speech at the Blue House on Monday. Soaring property prices are also the main reason for Moon’s declining approval ratings, the report said. The government has cracked down on property hoarding and speculation through various curbs, but prices in Seoul and surrounding areas have continued to soar as a result. Moon also stressed in his New Year message on the same day that 2021 will be a year of recovery, inclusiveness and leap forward. He said that removing masks and restoring normal life order is the top priority for South Korea to overcome the last hurdle in the epidemic prevention work.