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120,000 more public homes to be supplied by this year

Sept. 26, 2023 - 17:24 By Song Seung-hyun

Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho speaks during a press briefing Tuesday at the central government complex in Seoul, on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The Korean government on Tuesday said it plans to supply an additional 120,000 public homes by this year to help ease the housing crunch in the sluggish market.

The plan came after the government held a meeting earlier in the day attended by Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho, Land Minister Won Hee-ryong and Financial Services Commission Chairman Kim Joo-hyun.

Since the second half of last year, rising construction costs and an increase in real estate project financing borrowing rates have worsened the supply conditions in Korea. The number of building permits issued from January to August this year has decreased by 39 percent compared to the same period last year, totaling 213,000 units.

"We will diligently implement this plan to ensure that the public can feel that high-quality housing is being adequately supplied where needed," Choo said.

With the additional 120,000, the government hopes to deliver more than 1 million housing units by next year. The Yoon Seok Yeol administration aims to supply a total of 2.7 million homes in Yoon's five-year term until 2027.

First of all, the government said it will provide an additional 55,000 public housing units, which includes 30,000 units in the third new town.

Also, the new apartments which were set to be constructed in the new public housing sites will be expanded to a total of 85,000 units, which is an increase of 20,000 units from the initial plan of 65,000.

The government plans to announce these candidate sites for new public housing in November.

Originally, the plan was to announce new public housing sites in the first half of next year, but it has been brought forward and expanded.

The government also plans to provide incentives to construction companies that receive early approvals.

If a construction company receives early approval for public housing construction, it will be given priority for a portion of the new land for housing construction.

To address construction firms' concerns about unsold homes, the government will support the conversion of existing sales projects to rental projects.

Existing public support for private rental housing will be doubled from 10,000 units per year to 20,000 units per year, and the tenant selection process will be simplified.

The government will also increase the guaranteed size of PF loans from 15 trillion won ($11 billion) to 25 trillion won.

To support the guarantee capacity of the Korea Housing & Urban Guarantee Corp., capital strengthening will be carried out simultaneously.

The loan limit for PF loans will be raised from 50 percent of the total project cost to 70 percent. The criteria for PF loan guarantees will also be relaxed to expand the scope of projects eligible for guarantees. Previously, only construction companies within the top 700 in subcontractor rankings were eligible for PF guarantees, but now, regardless of subcontractor rankings, they can receive guarantees.