Housing biz sentiment dips for 3rd month in March

SEOUL-- South Korea's housing market sentiment shrank for the third straight month in March amid waning hopes of business improvements, a poll showed Tuesday.

The Korea Housing Institute said its housing business sentiment index (HBSI), based on a survey of about 500 construction firms, stood at 66.2 for this month, down 1.7 points from the previous month.

Yet March's on-month decrease was smaller than the previous month's decline of 9.7 points.

A reading below 100 means the number of companies forecasting worse business is larger than those expecting better times.

March's decline comes amid a downturn in nationwide housing prices due to government efforts to rein in high property costs and rising interest rates.

The HBSI for the South Korean capital of Seoul amounted to 83.6 for March, up 0.3 point from the prior month.

But the index for the rest of the country continued to go south, with the southeastern city of Daegu registering the lowest tally of 58.6, according to the institute.

Source: Yonhap News Agency