More move out of Seoul over rising housing costs

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More move out of Seoul over rising housing costs

Although the overall number of Koreans relocating fell last month, government data showed that more people are leaving the capital due to the high cost of housing.

The population of Seoul dropped 10,910 in September, and the capital has experienced a loss of population since February 2009, according to data released Thursday.

“Our annual analysis data shows that people leaving Seoul wrote down ‘housing-related issues’ as their reason for leaving,” said Lee Jee-yeon, a director at Statistics Korea. “There can be various kinds of reasons for housing-related issues, but we do believe that housing costs are one of the factors.”

In September, the average purchase price for a residence in Seoul rose 3.14 percent year on year to 514.2 million won ($450,262) and the price for jeonse, or a lump-sum deposit rental contract, increased 3.61 percent to 334.9 million won during the same period, according to KB Kookmin Bank’s October report.

The national average sale price for a residence, on the other hand, rose 1.74 percent to 301.9 million won, and jeonse rose 2.32 percent to 200.3 million won.

Busan came in second with a population loss of 1,948 in September, and 697 moved out of South Jeolla.

As people left Seoul, the number of people moving into neighboring Gyeonggi grew. The net inflow of people was 11,058, and 1,426 people relocated to the administrative city of Sejong.

Last month, 546,000 Koreans relocated, a decrease of 0.9 percent compared to the previous year.

Koreans in their 30s moved the most. About 381,000 of them relocated, and 332,000 in their 20s moved.

“Koreans aged 20 to 40 tend to move more often as there are many reasons for them to do so, including for education, a job or marriage,” said Lee at the statistics agency.

Another report released by the government showed that the number of babies born in Korea contracted for the ninth straight month. The Statistics Korea report released on Thursday showed that 33,900 babies were born in August, down 3.7 percent from the previous year.

A total of 283,100 babies have been born this year through August, 5.6 percent fewer than in the same period last year. If the current pace continues, it is likely that the annual figure for babies born will fall below the 430,000 level for the first time since 2000, which is when the government started to compile the data in its current form.

The number of people getting married rose 5.5 percent year on year to 23,000 cases in August.

“Our data is based on the number of marriage documents submitted in the month, and there were two more business days this year compared to the last year, which led the number to rise,” Lee said.

Divorce cases in August totaled 9,400, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Divorces rose in eight major cities including Busan, Incheon and Gwangju.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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