January 14, 2019 12:52
Seoul's population declined at the fastest rate in 22 years last year, mainly because surging home prices are driving thousands of people in their prime to the satellite towns.
According to Statistics Korea on Sunday, the population of Seoul stood at 9.77 million at the end of last year, down 91,803 from late 2017. The last time the population declined that much was in 1996, when it dropped by 132,765.
Forty-somethings led the exodus, down 3.5 percent or 57,615 in just one year. The number of people under 29 fell 2.44 percent, and those in their 30s 1.93 percent. Only the population of over-50s increased two percent. Between 2012 and 2017 it was mostly people in their 20s and 30s who left Seoul.
The main cause is soaring housing prices in the capital. According to KB Kookmin Bank, Seoul apartment prices surged a frantic 13.56 percent last year, the biggest increase since 2006, when they soared 24.11 percent.
Park Won-gap at KB Kookmin said, "The typical pattern is for couples to buy their own home when they get married or when their children start school, but since people marry and have children later in life, a growing number in their 40s are leaving the capital."
The most popular destinations are surrounding Gyeonggi Province or the western port city of Incheon, which offer relatively easy commutes. Some 131,995 people moved to Gyeonggi Province or Incheon from January to November last year, up 29.63 percent on-year. Home prices in Gyeonggi Province and Incheon are now less than half the prices in Seoul. The average apartment price in Seoul last year stood at W816 million compared to W268 million in Incheon and W361 million in Gyeonggi Province (US$1=W1,116).
The average jeonse or Korean-style deposit leases cost W463 million in Seoul compared to 200 million in Incheon and W255 million in Gyeonggi Province. Moreover, many new apartments were completed in Gyeonggi Province last year, up 29.5 percent from the previous year to 166,886.
"Better facilities and transportation networks boosted the appeal of those areas," said Koh Jong-wan at the Korea Asset Management Institute. "This trend will continue as metropolitan Seoul's infrastructure ages while transportation links to Incheon and Gyeonggi Province improve."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com