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S.Korea Takes Step to Cut Homeowners' Tax as Housing Prices Tumble

SEOUL, March 22 (Reuters) - South Korea has sharply lowered official reference housing prices for this year, which will result in a large fall in taxes for homeowners, as the government has been trying to put a floor under slumping property prices.

The finance ministry said on Wednesday the reference prices, on which property taxes are calculated, have been set 18.6% lower than last year on average - the fastest drop since the system was introduced in 2005.

As a result, property taxes on homeowners will likely be reduced by between 29% and 39% from last year, the ministry said, citing its simulation for single home-owners. Multiple home-owners usually pay heavier taxes.

The ministry said the drop in reference prices was in part a result of the recently falling housing prices, which official data shows have fallen for the past nine consecutive months amid rising inflation rates and a cooling economy.

The government has taken a series of measures to tame the pace of declines in housing prices to avert a hard landing of the property market.

Reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Source: Reuters

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