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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Housing supply rate in Korea

chut'aek pogûmnyul (주택보급률), most likely "housing supply rate" in English, has been one of the difficult terms of housing and statistics to fathom. My understanding is that it means the ratio of households to housing units. So for example if two families live in a detached house (tandok chut'aek) which is formally a single housing unit, in that case the "housing supply rate" is 50% - very low! That rate has been only somewhat over 70% in the early 1990s, but rose to 86% in 1995 and finally a bit past 100% in 2003 (article in Pressian). This is indeed a steep rise, and tells of the rate in which new housing (read: apartments) has been built. This has been now paid attention to by the member of parliament Yi Nak-yeon of the Democratic Party (you remember, the party from which pres. Roh was elected but from which his supporters and bunch of others left to found Our Open Party).
With the rising "housing supply rate", the house owning rate has unexpectedly fallen slightly below 50% after having been in 54% before the apartment investment boom started in 2001. I remember having read, when checking out what the government says about sômin, that the goal of the housing policy has been to elevate the housing supply rate to 100 (in the Korean discourse, on of the common definitions for the sômin or ordinary people or small people is that they are people who have problems to find decent housing). Rep. Yi tells here that the high supply of housing has fed apartment investment and contributed to more and more people ending up not as house owners but as chônse (jeonse) or monthly rent paying residents. This has further led to the more difficult position of the less-well-off (the people that are defined as seomin in these contexts) in the housing market.

By the way, there's a difference of 17 percent units (?) between the Seoul housing unit supply in the municipal Seoul and Housing Ministry statistics: 86% v.s 103%.

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