Young people angry and frustrated with lost opportunities in real estate: the DONG-A ILBO

Young people are experiencing growing anger and frustration as they have lost opportunities to buy housing due to soaring house prices. Some feel abandoned and think that the “ladder” they cannot pretend is better to collapse. Dong-A Ilbo has listened to the voices of young people through its special 2021 foundation “opposing extremes – young people meet young people”. Regardless of their political orientation, real estate is the subject of frustration and mistrust among young people. Without practical measures to address the housing concerns of young people, not only lower marriage and birth rates, but also social confusion and conflict would be inevitable.

Bin Soo-jin, one of the discussion participants, applied 10 times for youth rental housing. She has failed nine times and is currently living in the house for which she was chosen. Bin said finding a rental home was as difficult as finding a job. She also added that she was lucky but that many friends of hers had nowhere to live. The government has offered rental houses as a youth housing policy, but their supply is not even sufficient.


Those who have bought a home with a loan also feel anxious. It seems they are doing better with rising house prices, but many of them are concerned about interest payments because rates are supposed to go up. One in four young people have given up looking for a job or are simply taking a break. Without stable occupation, there is no possibility of a loan. Some say the government should stay put and do nothing, because every new policy announced by the government has only increased house prices.

Many young people even said that they did not even dream of buying a house. “I can’t imagine myself climbing the ranks with soaring house prices,” said Lee Jin-myong. Indeed, house prices are too high to go up with a “ladder”. The median price of an apartment in Seoul was around 600 million won when the current administration was launched, but it is now around one billion won. According to the Korea Educational Development Institute, the average annual salary for new employees last year was 31.15 million won. To buy an apartment with a median price in Seoul, you have to save 32 years of salary without making a single expense. “Those who can work diligently and repay loans should be able to buy a house,” said the young people. The barrier to obtaining a loan seems too high for them.

The government, which had claimed that there was sufficient housing, switched to supply-side policies. However, house prices have already increased significantly. All of the factors surrounding youth housing, jobs and loans to housing supply, are poor. The government should give young people the hope of finding their own home by increasing the supply of housing. A safety net, including rental housing and surety leasing assistance, should be expanded and a youth lending system should be examined in detail.

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