The average debt of Koreans in their 30s has surpassed W100 million for the first time ever, while even teenagers and 20-somethings owe W50 million each (US$1=W1,300).Debt is skyrocketing due to highly leveraged apartment purchases by young people in the bonanza of the last few years followed by the economic slump.According to official figures published Thursday, the average household debt stands at W91.70 million, up 4.2 percent from last year. But Koreans in their 30s owe W102 million on average, up 2.1 percent and surpassing W100 million for the first time.The biggest increase was among people in their 20s with a whopping 41.2 percent to W50.14 million. Second were people in their 50s (up 6.8 percent), 60s (up six percent), 30s (up 1.1 percent) and 40s (up one percent).
The average value of household assets -- including apartments, bank deposits and stocks -- has risen nine percent to W548 million. But soaring apartment prices were a big part of that, so the resulting 0.8 percentage-point decline of the ratio of debt to assets to 16.7 percent is illusory. Among people in their 20s it actually edged up from 28 percent to 28.1 percent.The Ministry of Economy and Finance said, "The base interest rate rose from 1.25 percent at the end of March to 3.25 percent last month, which means the financial health of people in their 20s will have deteriorated."