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A third of top bureaucrats own homes in Seoul’s 3 most expensive districts: report

One in 3 top government officials own at least one residential property in Seoul’s three most expensive residential districts, Gangnam, Seocho and Songpa, according to a report released Tuesday.

Of the 639 level one officials at the presidential office, central government ministries and agencies under the ministries, 210 people owned residential properties in the three districts in southeastern Seoul, according to a report by Rep. Shim Sang-jung of the minor Justice Party.

The report showed 46 percent of top officials of government agencies in charge of property-related policymaking or inspections owned homes in the three districts.

Seventy-three of the 159 top officials at the presidential office, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Land and Transport, the Bank of Korea, the Financial Services Commission, the Fair Trade Commission, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office and the National Tax Service had homes in Gangnam, Seocho or Songpa.


Among the government agencies that execute property-related policy on tax, interest rates and public funds, the Finance Ministry showed the highest rate of “Gangnam Three” home owners.

Seven out of 13 level one officials (54 percent) at the Finance Ministry owned homes in the three districts, followed by four out of eight (50 percent) at the BOK, and 10 out of 29 (34 percent) at the Land Ministry.

As for the agencies that have the right to inspect property-related issues, four out of five top officials (80 percent) at the National Tax Service had homes in the three most expensive districts, followed by three out of four (75 percent) at the FTC, nine out of 13 (69 percent) at the FSC, and 21 out of 35 (60 percent) at the SPO.

As for Cheong Wa Dae, 15 out of 52 level one officials (29 percent) had residential properties in the three districts most sought after by real estate investors.

Of the 639 top bureaucrats, 298 (47 percent) owned two or more residential properties.

Shim noted that as the figures are based on the government gazette issued on March 29, things may have changed after the government advised officials to sell their second homes by April.

Property prices in Korea have continued to rise on low interest rates for the past five years, with some new apartments in Gangnam recently sold at above 100 million won ($89,390) per 3.3 square meters.

By Kim So-hyun (