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Major housing deregulation bills pending for two years
JULY 18, 2014 05:50  
The domestic real estate business is taking a breather after the government decided to withdraw its taxation on house rent incomes earned by people owning two or more houses. However, major property regulations, which the domestic real estate business has long wanted to be abolished, are still pending in the National Assembly.

Major pending bills aimed at reinvigorating the real estate market include a revision for the housing law calling for flexibility in the ceiling of initial sale prices for houses, a bill to abolish the reconstruction excess-profits law, a bill to allow reconstruction union members outside of highly speculative areas to buy as many new houses as they owned before reconstruction.

The National Assembly`s Land and Transport Committee held a meeting Wednesday to discuss the issues, only to fail to narrow differences. Kim Sung-tae, a lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party, held a legislation review subcommittee meeting to deliberate the pending deregulation bills but failed because of opposition lawmakers` objection. Consequently, the handling of the bills for reinvigorating the real estate market will be carried over to the August extraordinary sessions.

In particular, the revision bill to abolish the ceiling of initial sale prices has been pending in the parliament for nearly two years, although the construction industry cites the law as a major regulation. The government took a step back from its initial position and proposed to ease regulations on homes to be built in private housing areas while maintaining regulations in public housing areas. Still, the main opposition party is opposed to the proposal.

Kim Eui-yeol, an official at the Korea Housing Association, said that the proposed flexibility in the ceiling of initial house sale prices is not likely lead to a surge in sale prices since housing developers sell new houses at lower-than-market prices these days. "Rather, it could bring about the psychological impact, which is strong enough to break the `Maginot line` of the stalwart regulation."

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