September 13, 2018 / 6:27 AM / 7 days ago

UPDATE 1-S.Korea imposes tougher taxes on properties to curb price surge

* S.Korea needs to impose tougher taxes to calm home prices -fin min

* S.Korea to focus on curbing speculative buying -fin min

* Proposed tax changes need parliamentary approval (Adds more details, finance minister comments)

SEOUL, Sept 13 (Reuters) - South Korea on Thursday laid out plans to impose tougher taxes on property ownership to rein in owners of expensive homes blamed for stoking a speculative housing bubble in the main regions across the nation.

The proposed 0.5 percent to 2 percent ownership tax that would kick in on properties valued over 600 million won ($534,506.87) will be raised to 0.5 percent to 3.2 percent, a government statement showed.

Those who own more than 3 properties in zones where speculators have been active, including Seoul, could face a tax of up to 3.2 percent, up from the current maximum rate of 2 percent.

Rental home owners will face fresh mortgage restrictions, and the government will build 300,000 new homes in the metropolitan Seoul area to boost housing supply.

“The government is targeting speculators and are surely imposing more taxes for multiple home owners, while protecting single-home owners and the real demand,” finance minister Kim Dong-yeon said in press conference in Seoul.

“If property market shows destabilizing signs again, (the government) will swiftly prepare necessary measures,” Kim said.

Average apartment price in Seoul exceeded 600 million won ($533,025.36) for the first time in 2017, and has surged despite President Moon Jae-in’s capital gains tax hikes and tougher mortgage rules announced in August 2017.

Apartment prices in Seoul gained 6.9 percent this year, logging the fastest price jump since 2006 and far outperforming 1.2 percent gain nationwide this year, data from KB Kookmin Bank showed. ($1 = 1,125.6500 won) (Reporting by Cynthia Kim, Hayoung Choi Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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