.
.
.
.

S.Korea’s Moon fires top economic adviser for raising rent amid home price furor

Published: Updated:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday fired his top economic policy adviser for raising the rent on an apartment he owns in Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district amid a public furor over skyrocketing home prices.

Kim Sang-jo raised the rent by about 14 percent in July, two days before a 5 percent cap on rent increases took effect as part of government efforts to protect tenants from unreasonable hikes.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“I am very sorry that I’ve disappointed the people at this grave time when we should be making all-out efforts to root out real estate speculation,” Kim told a briefing.

Kim had served the president since Moon took office in May 2017, first as antitrust chief and then chief policy advisor.

He was replaced with Lee Ho-seung, Moon’s senior economic secretary, Moon’s chief of staff told a briefing.

Home prices in Seoul have shot up more than 50 percent since 2017, the fastest pace in the world, according to statistics site Numbeo.

The uproar over housing affordability intensified earlier this month after employees of a state housing developer were accused of insider trading in land.

The issue has taken a toll on Moon’s approval ratings, which hit record lows this month, and is hurting support for his Democratic Party ahead of a by-election next month to pick the mayors of the country’s two largest cities, Seoul and Busan.

Moon called for a broader, thorough investigation into all allegations, and measures to eradicate property speculation, including a law prohibiting conflicts of interest involving public servants.

“We have to take people’s anger and reproach seriously,” he told a meeting on anti-corruption policy. “Their anger is touching on more fundamental problems, including massive unearned incomes, widening inequality, fading dreams of having their own home and a new class society.”

Read more:

US, S.Korea alliance is important due to China, N.Korea threats: Defense Secretary

Moon says two Koreas, US should continue dialogue instead of difficulties

S. Korea aims to inoculate quarter of population against COVID-19 by June