A severe 'trade cliff' continues in the apartment sales market.

According to the Korea Real Estate Agency, the number of apartment sales across the country from January to May was 155,987, the lowest since the statistics began in 2006 for the same period.

In particular, the number of sales this year is at the level of 'half' last year.

The number of apartment sales in Seoul was 7,917 during the same period, which was only a third of last year.

On the other hand, the share of villas in Seoul housing sales soared to 61.5%, a record high.

It is interpreted as a result of the overlapping of the regulation of loans and taxation on apartments due to the surge in house prices, and the interest rate hike that started in earnest in the second half of last year and concerns about an economic recession that are growing this year.

As apartment sales almost ceased and the number of unusual transactions increased, the number of real estate brokerages opened also decreased.

According to the Korea Realtors Association, this year, 1,993 cases of real estate openings nationwide, 1,480 cases in February, 1,499 cases in March, 1,415 cases in April, and 1,253 cases in May. Except for a slight increase in the month, it showed a complete decline.

Special transactions such as exchanges, gifts, direct transactions, and lease renewal contracts that do not go through an intermediary are also increasing.

According to the Real Estate Agency, the number of apartment exchange transactions nationwide through May this year was 207, the highest since 2006 when related statistics were compiled.

This is because temporary two-family homeowners tried to avoid paying capital gains tax by exchanging similar properties with each other when sales became difficult due to the transaction cliff.

As with exchange transactions, gift transactions that do not go through intermediaries have also increased.

The number of apartment donations in Seoul last May was 830, the highest since July last year.

In Seoul, the proportion of apartment direct sales that do not go through real estate agents reached an all-time high of 20.3% in May.