(Bloomberg) -- Just 30 people bought 8,000 homes in South Korea over the past five and half years, despite the government’s efforts to curb demand for multiple home ownership.

The 30 buyers spent a total of nearly 1.2 trillion won ($900 million) for purchases between 2018 and June 2023, according to Min Hong-chul, a lawmaker of the main opposition Democratic Party, based on data submitted from the land ministry.

“Real estate speculators are gobbling up homes in greater Seoul area,” Min said in his blog on Wednesday. He is a member of a parliament committee that hold annual audits for government agencies, including the land ministry.

South Korea raised the capital gains tax for multiple homeowners in popular areas in Seoul to a maximum of 75% in 2021, from as much as 40% in 2016. The Government also imposed higher annual ownership tax and home purchase tax for those who own more than two houses.

Home prices in the nation jumped 37% from 2018 to June 2023, according to data from Korea Real Estate Board. Prices in Seoul rose 44% and 51% in Gyeonggi.

Most buyers focused on purchasing houses in greater Seoul, including Incheon and Gyeonggi metropolitan areas, where prices and demand are high. The top three buyers bought a total of 2,194 homes in the area during the period. The biggest buyer, who is in their 50s, purchased 792 houses for 115.7 billion won, according to land ministry data.

--With assistance from Marika Katanuma.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.