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Population mobility drops most in nearly 50 years on housing market slump

All News 12:00 January 30, 2023

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- The number of South Koreans who moved to different residences in the country decreased by the widest margin in nearly 50 years, data showed Monday, due mainly to the falling number of houses traded amid soaring borrowing costs.

The number of people who changed their residences fell 14.7 percent on-year to 6.15 million in 2022, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. It marked the sharpest on-year fall since a 24.8 percent drop tallied in 1976.

In 2021, the figure dropped 6.7 percent on-year to reach 7.2 million.

The decline came as people refrained from purchasing new homes amid economic uncertainties and soaring interest rates.

People enjoy a view of central Seoul from Mount Nam on Jan. 29, 2023. (Yonhap)

People enjoy a view of central Seoul from Mount Nam on Jan. 29, 2023. (Yonhap)

In January, the central bank raised the benchmark seven-day repo rate from 3.25 percent to 3.5 percent, the highest level since 2008. It was the seventh straight rate increase since April last year, the longest span of tightening.

The decrease was also attributable to the country's aging population, as those in their 20s and 30s are normally more likely to relocate their homes.

The population mobility rate -- the percentage of those relocating per 100 people -- amounted to 12 percent in 2022, down 2.1 percentage points from the previous year.

Seoul posted a net outflow of 35,000 people in 2022, while its surrounding Gyeonggi Province received 44,000 new residents. South Chungcheong Province gained 14,000 people, while the southeastern port city of Busan lost 14,000 people.

For December, the number of people who changed their residences fell 19.6 percent on-year to 497,000, the agency said. The figure marked the 24th consecutive month of decline.


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