Government releases numbers on Korea's 1 percenters
Korean households need at least 3.28 billion won ($2.5 million) in net assets to qualify for the country's top 1 percent, according to 2022 data from Statistics Korea on Thursday.
Real estate accounted for over 80 percent of the net assets of Korea's 1 percenters, who are also two times more likely to engage in direct investments like stocks than less affluent households.
The 2022 threshold was 379.2 million won more than 2021's threshold of 2.9 billion won.
Households in the top 1 percent had 5.37 billion won in net assets on average, with real estate holdings of 4.37 billion won, accounting for 81.4 percent of their assets.
For the average household, real estate accounted for 73.7 percent of their net worth.
The top 1 percent had 991 million won in financial assets on average, accounting for 16.8 percent of their total wealth. Savings accounted for 84.8 percent of those financial assets, or 763.8 million won.
The average debt of the 1 percent was 516.7 million won.
About 60 percent of the top 1 percent chose to put their surplus funds into real estate or financial assets, higher than the total household average of 47.9 percent.
To be specific, 45.8 percent preferred to put their disposable cash in bank deposits, while 26.5 percent preferred investments, including stock purchases.
On average, 66.6 percent of the households replied they preferred to make deposits, while 11.6 percent took up direct investment.
Some 8.6 percent of the top 1 percent made indirect investments, including funds, 6.9 percentage points higher than the total average.
Only 38.4 percent of the top 1 percent said they were willing to invest in real estate, while the other 61.6 percent said they were not.
However, 58 percent of total households said they were willing to put down money in real estate, while 42 percent did not.
Of the top 1 percent willing to make property investments, 51.8 percent preferred apartment complexes, while 29.9 percent preferred commercial buildings and officetels, a building used for both commercial and residential purposes.
Those numbers were 10.8 percentage points lower for apartment complexes and 14.1 percentage points higher for commercial buildings than average households.
The top 1 percent's average annual income was 216.3 million won, 237.26 percent higher than the average household income of 64.14 million won.
Specifically, 93.28 million won was earned income, 39.85 million won was business income and 72.47 million won was property income.
The earned income of the top 1 percent was 126.13 percent higher than the average household’s 41.25 million won, and business income was 243.53 percent higher than the average 11.6 million won.
For property income, the top 1 percent earned 1,601.17 percent higher than the average 4.26 million won.
BY LEE JI-YOUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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