The Korea Herald


Buying a home in Seoul costs a decade's salary, and then some

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Dec. 22, 2023 - 15:09

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This Dec. 21 photo shows a view of apartment buildings in Seoul. (Yonhap) This Dec. 21 photo shows a view of apartment buildings in Seoul. (Yonhap)

A Seoul resident would have to not spend a single dime of their income for 15.2 years to buy a home in South Korea's capital, a state-issued report showed Friday.

The Price Income Ratio for Seoul for 2022 was 15.2, according to the latest report by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The yearly PIR increased from 14.1 in 2021, and has been on the upward trend since marking 9.6 in 2018.

The PRI refers to the median home price of a certain region divided by the median yearly household income of that area.

South Korea's PIR was 6.3, decreasing from 6.7 the year before.

For the greater Seoul area -- including Incheon and Gyeonggi Province -- the PIR for last year was 9.3, marking an increase compared to 10.1 the year before. But the figure of its two biggest cities, Seoul and Incheon, both rose, as the PIR in the coastal city rose from 7.1 to 7.7.

While Seoul proved once again to be the hardest place to afford a home in South Korea, the region with next highest PIR was Sejong at 9.3, followed by Gyeonggi's 8.9.

The percentage of homeowners in the country marked a slight increase throughout the country from 60.6 percent to 61.3 percent from 2021 to 2022. It was the highest since the government started tallying the figure in 2006.

About 55.8 percent of those in the greater Seoul and 62.8 percent in the metropolitan areas across the country owned homes in 2022, up from the 2021 figure of 54.7 percent and 62.8 percent, respectively. Percentage of homeowners in greater Seoul was the highest since 56.6 percent in 2008.

The report showed that households that do not own homes shouldered heavier burdens paying rent compared to the year before. The Rent Income Ratio -- the percentage of monthly rent compared to the monthly income of a household -- was 16 percent in 2022, compared to 15.7 percent the year before.

The government report showed that in average, it took South Koreans 7.4 years to buy their first homes, down from 7.7 the year before.