Young Koreans Take Keener Interest in Investments

  • By Choi Hyung-seok, Choi Eun-kyung

    August 08, 2020 08:15

    Young Koreans are taking a keener interest than ever before in any investments from real estate to stocks and gold to increase their assets amid record-low interest rates.

    Among those who bought an apartment in Seoul last month, the largest group was those in their 30s accounting for 32 percent of the total 11,106 transactions, according to the Korea Appraisal Board. The figure was almost triple from the previous month, and the trend is even pushing further up housing prices across the capital.

    But real estate is getting increasingly out of the reach of most young people. Apartment prices in the capital have increased steadily for the past six years, the longest period of growth since 1986, but job growth and wage increases among people in their 20s and 30s lag far behind rising property prices.

    Instead they turn to the stock and gold markets hoping to strike it rich. One seminar in Seoul last month offering stock-investment tips drew huge crowds of young people. An asset manager who lectured at the seminar said, "In my 30 years of working in this industry, I've never seen so many young people get so worked up over stocks."

    People in their 20s and 30s accounted for half the country's new stock-trading accounts in the first half of this year. Internet-savvy young Koreans often trade online.

    The credit loan balance, which shows how much money people have borrowed to buy stocks, has reached new record highs for 13 straight days, rising from W6 trillion in March to W14 trillion on July 23 (US$1=W1,186).

    They also account for more than half of the money being invested in gold. People in their 30s accounted for 38 percent of investments on the gold exchange in late March, followed by people in their 40s with 29 percent and in their 20s with 18 percent.

    The gold exchange is expected to surpass W1 trillion by the end of the year, the highest level since it opened in 2014. One 32-year-old office worker said, "I became more interested in gold after the government announced capital gains tax on stocks. Gold is an attractive investment since gains aren't taxed."

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