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 support slumping prices in the property sector.

Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said at the beginning of a meeting on Wednesday reference prices on average have been adjusted downward by 18.6% from last year, adding that it was the fastest drop since the system was introduced in 2005.

The ministry will release more details about the effects on homeowners' taxes later in the day. (Reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)