The Bank of Korea released data on Tuesday showing that the country's household debt reached an all-time high last year. Outstanding household lending by local banks and other financial institutions totaled a record US$639.5 billion as of the end of November.
The increase of $4.7 billion from October marks the largest monthly gain in five months, since a nearly $6.2 billion on-month advance in June.
The central bank says housing loans grew due in part to an increase in home purchases during the period. The tally shows that Korean households are groaning under a massive debt burden.
The nation's household credit, which includes bank loans and purchases on credit, also hit a fresh high of over $931 billion as of the end of September. At this pace, the figure is expected to surpass about $940 billion by November. Compared to 2004, the nation's household debt has more than doubled.