SEJONG, The government said Thursday that it will provide 100,000 apartments to newlyweds in the coming years in the latest in a series of moves to address housing problems facing young people.
The envisioned apartment units are set to be built in Seoul and other major cities across the country.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it will provide 45,000 of the 100,000 apartment units by 2022, with the remainder coming after 2023.
The government said it will create apartments complexes that make childrearing easier by ensuring schools and childcare facilities are located nearby.
The move illustrates South Korea's commitment to providing more affordable homes for newlyweds as part of efforts to help boost the country's chronically low birthrate.
"Newlyweds and young people have concerns about their housing, which has led to a decline in marriage rates and a low birthrate," said Park Sun-ho, a ministry official handling housing policy.
The number of South Koreans getting married came to 264,500 in 2017, down a sharp 6.1 percent, or 17,200, from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. The figure is the lowest since 1970, when the government began to collect such data.
South Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- is expected to fall below 1.0 in 2018, down from 1.05 a year earlier, according to the Presidential Committee on Aging Society and Population Policy.
The figure is much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea's population stable at 51 million.
The ministry also said the government will cut acquisition taxes in half when people buy a home under 60 square meters worth less than 400 million won (US$268,000) within five years of marriage.
A typical house for South Koreans is an 82- to 109-square-meter apartment.
The ministry said single-income couples who make 50 million won and dual-income couples who make less than 70 million won a year are eligible for the tax cut -- which will take effect for the whole of 2019.
A government simulation showed that a couple would pay around 1.85 million won in property acquisition tax, down from 3.7 million won, if they buy a Seoul apartment unit worth 370 million won.
Source: Yonhap News Agency