The average age of householders at the time of their first home purchase stood at 43.3 as of 2018, according to data submitted by the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
The data was based on a survey conducted from June to December last year targeting a random sample of 61,275 householders who had bought residential real estate for the first time during the past four years.
The average age of first-time homebuyers has risen steadily in recent years, apparently reflecting an increasingly heated real estate market and consequent government actions to tighten bank loan regulations.
The average age of householders who bought their first homes within the past four years has climbed from 41.9 in 2016 and 43 in 2017.
For those in the lower 40 percent of the sample in terms of income, the average age was significantly higher -- 56.7 as of 2018, the data showed.
Conventional purchases accounted for 57.6 percent of home acquisitions, followed by purchases under a lottery system (20.8 percent) and donations and inheritances (15.6 percent).
In the Seoul-Gyeonggi Province region, where competition for newly built apartments is intense, the purchases of existing homes accounted for as much as 64.7 percent of the total.
Homeowners, nevertheless, were weighed down by mortgage loans -- with newlyweds and those of the younger generations, who tend to be less financially stable, facing especially heavy burdens.
The average loan-to-value ratio as of 2018 was 37.8 percent, down 0.4 percentage point from the previous year but still approaching the 40 percent mark.
The corresponding figures were 45.6 percent for young homeowners (between the ages of 20 and 34), and 43.2 percent for newlyweds (couples married five years or less).
Of all the survey respondents, 70.7 percent said they felt burdened because of their mortgages, either because of the total amount owed or concerns about repayment. For young homeowners and newlyweds, these figures soared to 84.3 percent and 82.7 percent, respectively.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)