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Housing affordability at worst level on record

This file photo shows apartment buildings in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. (Yonhap)
This file photo shows apartment buildings in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. (Yonhap)


The Korea-housing affordability index, or K-HAI, which measures median household income relative to the income needed to buy a median-priced house, in Seoul reached a record high in 11 years in the July-October period this year. The index increased 1.7 points from the previous quarter to 144.5—the highest since the figure came to 150.8 in the fourth quarter of 2009.

A value of 100 means that a family would have to put 25 percent of their income toward paying off the mortgage. A higher ratio indicates that a family has to spend a larger share of their salary on paying off the mortgage principal and interest, which could make it more difficult to purchase a home.

The index has been on an upward trend since the fourth quarter of 2016, when it surpassed the 100 mark. It slightly dropped in the first half of last year, but has risen again since the third quarter last year.

The index for the whole country, standing at 52.3, has also been on an upward trajectory for the third consecutive quarter through the end of October. Daegu saw the figure increase from 59.9 to 60.3 while the figure for Daejeon rose 57.8 to 58.

Busan, Ulsan, North Chungcheong Province, and South Gyeongsang Province, however, saw their respective K-HAI figures drop in the third quarter.

“Despite low interest rates, the K-HAI stayed at a high level,” said Choi Young-sang, researcher at Korea Housing Finance Corporation, a state-run housing financial institution, “The housing prices will likely stabilize from the latter half next year thanks to weaker demand and the government’s housing stabilization policies.”

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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