South Korea’s household loans hit a fresh high at the end of March as Koreans turned mortgage and credit loans to survive the economic fallouts from COVID-19 outbreak.
According to data released by the Bank of Korea on Wednesday, outstanding household debt amounted to 1,611.3 trillion won ($1.35 trillion) as of the end of March, reaching the highest level since the fourth quarter 2002 when the BOK began compiling the data.
The figure grew 11 trillion won from the previous quarter, contracting sharply than the 27.7 trillion won on-quarter gain in the previous three months but bigger than 3.2 trillion won in the same period a year ago.
Mortgage-backed loans rose sharply by 15.3 trillion won from three months earlier to 858.2 trillion won in the first quarter, the fastest gain since the third quarter in 2017.
The steep growth was driven by the increased house transactions as multiple home owners placed their properties on the market amid tighter real estate regulations and rise in declared value, the central bank said.
The outstanding credit-based loans of households plunged 6.1 trillion won on quarter to 89.6 trillion won. The central bank attributed the sharp fall to the weak spending by consumers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
By Lim Sung-hyun and Choi Mira
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