Household lending from South Korea’s major banks is showing signs of climbing back up as housing demand in Seoul continues unabated, defying the government’s tightened mortgage rules to cool the overheated property market.
Household loans from the country’s five lenders - KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank and Nonghyup Bank - surged to $547.7 trillion won ($485.5 billion) as of late July, up 3.15 trillion won from the previous month and 37.9 trillion won from the same period a year earlier, industry data showed Sunday.
Mortgage loans started picking up again in March and reached 389.4 trillion won in July, up 2.04 trillion from a month earlier, the sharpest on-month gain in four months.
Personal loans also rose by 1.2 trillion won to 102.6 trillion won in July, the highest increase since the 1.78 trillion won on-month jump last November.
The uptick in household loans appears to be fueled by unfazed demand for Seoul housing, whose prices slid downward for a few months from the tightened loan limits and heavier taxes on owners of multiple homes, only to jump back up in recent weeks.
Data from KB Real Estate showed that apartment prices in Seoul were up 0.24 percent in the last week of July from a week earlier, the highest gain in five months.
By Kim Tae-sung and Kim Hyo-jin
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