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Lee Jae-myung claims land is supposed to be all of us

Posted November. 08, 2021 07:25,   

Updated November. 08, 2021 07:25


Ruling Minjoo Party of Korea’s presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung reaffirmed his will to root out unearned income out of real estate transactions by arguing that houses should be part of public goods, which was met with criticism by the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) describing it as a communist notion.

“It is worth noting that properties are supposed to be shared by members of society. The public sector needs to consider various approaches,” Lee said on his visit to a share house among young residents on Saturday. “Some of you may complain about why the government minds individual citizens’ business in terms of how many houses they own. Such a way of thinking requires some self-reflection and change.”

According to his argument, share houses are one of the most efficient ways to make use of a limited volume of space on land. Pointing out that some may mistake his proposal as a communist policy, he clarified that it is not about supplying share houses across the overall real estate market but about allowing only 10 percent to be a quality and cost-effective property shared by multiple users, which only accounts for five percent as of now.

Lee said that he considers allocating a preferred portion of house supply to young citizens, one of the most vulnerable social demographics, given that fairness matters in practical terms. He seemingly intended to propose his real estate market policy frame, the most controversial issue for the next year’s presidential election, while trying to win over the hearts of voters in their 20s and 30s, which is arguably considered one of his weakest links.

In response, the main opposition PPP pointed an accusatory finger at Lee, arguing that he ignores the market economy, saying, “His argument gives us a window into what the government will be like under his leadership.” PPP spokesperson Heo Eun-ah said on Saturday, “Lee’s remarks have not taken any further step from the skewed perception of the Moon Jae-in administration that has served as the main culprit behind the soaring housing prices.” The spokesperson equated Lee’s real estate market solution with a risky anti-market proposal showing his ignorance about private properties just the same way that he proposed a quota system to limit the total number of restaurants nationwide.

Dong-Jun Heo hungry@donga.com · Joo-Young Jeon aimhigh@donga.com