Population mobility lowest in 29 years in Feb. amid home market slump
By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- The number of South Koreans moving to other regions fell to the lowest level in 29 years in February, data showed Wednesday, as higher borrowing costs and economic uncertainties induced more people to avoid buying new properties.
Around 622,000 people changed their residences last month, down 6.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. It was the 26th consecutive month of decline, and the lowest since 596,000 tallied in February 1994.
The decrease came as people avoided purchasing new homes amid soaring interest rates.
The number of houses traded in January came to 25,761, plunging 38.2 percent on-year, according to separate data compiled by the Korea Real Estate Board. It also marked a 9.9 percent drop from a month earlier.
The Bank of Korea kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.5 percent in late February due to concerns that aggressive monetary tightening could hurt economic growth. It marked the first freeze after seven straight increases delivered since April last year.
The population mobility rate -- the percentage of those relocating per 100 people -- reached 15.9 percent in February, down 1 percentage point from a year earlier.
Seoul attracted a net of 3,467 people, with its surrounding Gyeonggi Province experiencing growth of 4,738 people.
The capital city posted its first net growth in a year, apparently as construction of large-sized apartment complexes was completed.
In contrast, South Gyeongsang Province and Daegu, located 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, suffered a net outflow of 4,162 and 1,701 people, respectively.
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