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Koreans still prefer real estate investment: data

Apartment complexes in Seoul (Yonhap)
Apartment complexes in Seoul (Yonhap)
South Koreans’ preference for nonfinancial assets such as real estate is still high compared to other major economies, but their investment in stocks has increased during the pandemic, data showed Monday.

As of end-2019, the proportion of financial assets in the wealth of Koreans was 35.6 percent, significantly lower than those in the US (71.9 percent), Japan (62.1 percent), UK (54.8 percent) and Australia (43 percent), according to data compiled by Korea Financial Investment Association.

Reliance on nonfinancial assets by Koreans stood at 64.4 percent, followed by Australians with 57 percent. Americans and Japanese held 28.1 percent and 37.9 percent, respectively, of their assets in nonfinancial properties, the data showed.

While Korea’s nominal gross domestic product stood at 1,924.5 trillion won ($1.7 trillion), its household wealth marked 4,539.4 trillion won last year.

The amount of financial assets compared to GDP in Asia’s fourth-largest economy marked the lowest among the five countries with 235.9 percent, more than 100 percent lower from Japan, with 339.1 percent.

The KOFIA also highlighted that the so-called “Donghak Ant Movement,” which refers to a stock buying spree driven by small domestic investors during the pandemic-hit market last year, helped Koreans increasing the volume of their investments in stocks.

The ratio rose by 4 percentage points from a year ago to 19.4 percent. At the same time, retail investors’ stock transaction amounts jumped 2.9 times on-year to 8,712 trillion won last year as numerous participants can easily access the market online.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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