September 12, 2017 / 7:20 AM / 10 months ago

S.Korea fin min urges caution on imposing tougher taxes on housing market

SEJONG, Sept 12 (Reuters) - South Korea’s finance minister on Tuesday said the government is taking a cautious approach to slapping tougher levies on the housing market, even as political pressure mounts for raising taxes on property ownership.

“(Applying tougher) property ownership taxes is something we need to be cautious about,” Kim Dong-yeon told reporters in a press conference held in Sejong, south of Seoul.

“The government needs to be cautious in choosing tools to calm property market speculation. As with policy directions announced earlier, we are now monitoring the effects of policies that focused on cooling” sector, Kim added.

Kim’s comments comes as market participants speculate whether there will be stronger steps to rein in a home buying frenzy, after the government rolled out the toughest rules yet to cool the market on Aug. 2 including up to a 20 percentage point hike in capital gains taxes.

In South Korea, taxes are much higher on property transactions than on the possession of property.

Reporting by Shin-hyung Le & Cynthia Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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