© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The skyline of central Seoul is seen during a foggy day in Seoul March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea has sharply lowered official reference housing prices for this year, which will result in a large fall in taxes for homeowners, as the government has been trying to put a floor under slumping property prices.
The finance ministry said on Wednesday the reference prices, on which property taxes are calculated, have been set 18.6% lower than last year on average – the fastest drop since the system was introduced in 2005.
As a result, property taxes on homeowners will likely be reduced by between 29% and 39% from last year, the ministry said, citing its simulation for single home-owners. Multiple home-owners usually pay heavier taxes.
The ministry said the drop in reference prices was in part a result of the recently falling housing prices, which official data shows have fallen for the past nine consecutive months amid rising inflation rates and a cooling economy.
The government has taken a series of measures to tame the pace of declines in housing prices to avert a hard landing of the property market.