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Home prices drive household wealth

South Korean household wealth jumped 8 percent on-year, with net worth per household estimated at 544.7 million won ($415,593) thanks to a surge in house prices, a Bank of Korea report showed Thursday. Real estate made up 75 percent of household wealth.

The net worth of households, nonprofit organizations, financial and nonfinancial companies and the government came to 19,000 trillion won, up 2,030 trillion won, or 11.4 percent, from the previous year. That is the biggest annual increase since 2008.

The national wealth is also the largest level reported since the central bank began compiling data in 1995, and is about 9.6 times 272 trillion won, the country’s gross domestic product in 2021. The national wealth-to-GDP ratio stood at 9.2 times in 2020.

“The reason behind the dramatic rise lies in a surge in asset prices like real estate and stocks … real estate values climbed very rapidly,” a senior bank official said, referring to the fact that the price increase helped add 1,712 trillion won in balance -- almost double the amount seen in 2020.

Real estate accounted for 74.4 percent of national wealth, down from 74.8 percent a year earlier in 2020, because building materials costs, which do not fall into the real estate category, had risen, taking up a share of what could have been counted as real estate, according to the bank.

But real estate, which last year made up 77.5 percent of nonfinancial assets held by the country’s net worth, was up from 77.1 percent a year ago. The ratio is higher than that of the US and Japan, but lower than that of the UK and France.

Investments primarily in equity securities and funds led to a rise in net financial assets, the bank added.

By Choi Si-young (
Korea Herald daum