Koreans in their 20s and 30s cited the cost of housing as one of the main reasons why getting married is so difficult, according to a recent survey, which in turn has contributed to many couples choosing to postpone having children.
The JoongAng Ilbo analyzed the biggest factors behind the delay in marriage and the country’s low fertility rate, interviewing some 74 people between the ages of 20 and 39.
Of them, 33 were unmarried. The remaining 41 were married couples with one child or none.
It also conducted a survey of 1,050 married and single men and women in the same age bracket.
Both wed and unwed respondents saw the cost of housing as a major setback in getting married, including Jeong Ah-yeon, a 30-year-old teacher who has been married for three years.
She and her husband live in an 85.5 square meter (920.3 square foot) villa in Gangseo District, southern Seoul, their honeymoon home, but they can’t see themselves having a child in the near future.
The jeonse (lump-sum deposit) for the house costs 160 million won ($135,911), of which 90 million won came from a loan.
The couple is eager to repay the principal as soon as possible due to the high monthly interest rate and sets aside 3 million won per month to do so.
“If we have a child, it would cost at least 1 million won per month,” said Jeong. “And in that case, paying back the loan would most likely be pushed back another one or two years, so we have delayed having a child for the time being.”
“Even if we pay back the loan, if you think about the cost of private education and whatnot, it would still be difficult to have more than one child,” she said.