Land ministry vows to build homes for youngThe government said Thursday that it will provide 100,000 apartments to newlyweds in the coming years in its latest move to address the housing problems facing young people.
The apartment units are set to be built in Seoul and other major cities across the country.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it will provide 45,000 of the 100,000 apartment units by 2022, with the remainder coming after 2023.
The government said it will create apartment complexes that will make child-rearing easier by ensuring schools and childcare facilities are located nearby.
The move illustrates Korea’s commitment to providing more affordable homes for newlyweds as part of its efforts to help boost the country’s chronically low birthrate.
“Newlyweds and young people have concerns about their housing, which has led to a decline in marriage rates and a low birthrate,” said Park Sun-ho, a ministry official handling housing policy.
The number of Koreans who got married in 2017 was 264,500, down a sharp 6.1 percent, or 17,200, from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. The figure is the lowest since 1970, when the government began to collect such data.
Korea’s total fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, is expected to fall below 1.0 in 2018, down from 1.05 a year earlier, according to the Presidential Committee on Aging Society and Population Policy.
The figure is much lower than the replacement level of 2.1, which would keep Korea’s population stable at 51 million.
The ministry also said the government will cut acquisition taxes in half for people buying a home under 60 square meters worth less than 400 million won ($357,380) within the first five years of marriage. A typical Korean home is an 82 to 109-square-meter apartment.