In 2022, the top one percent of families in South Korea had net assets of $2.5 million 2023

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South Korean families with at least 3.28 billion won ($2.5 million) of net assets make up the country’s top 1 percent with 80 percent of their holdings in real estate and direct financial assets that are double the average.

The wealth of the top 1 percent climbed by 379.2 million won from 2.9 billion won the previous year, according to an analysis by Yonhap News based on microdata from Statistics Korea’s 2022 survey on family finances and living circumstances. The value has been generated by listing sample households in the order of greatest net worth and weighing each household.

The average wealth of families in the top 1 percent was 5.37 billion won, of which real estate assets accounted for 81.4 per cent or 4.37 billion won. It is greater than the 73.7 percent of average real estate assets of the whole household. Financial assets accounted for 16.8 percent at 909.1 million won, of which 84.8 percent, or 763.8 million won, were savings.

In the meantime, the average debt of households in the top 1 percent was 516.66 million won.

The data also indicates that 60.3% of the top 1% of families chose savings and financial assets to handle their excess cash, which is higher than the average of 47.9% across all households. With 45.8 percent, bank deposits were the most favored strategy for investing in financial assets, followed by direct investments including stocks at 26.5 percent. It is 20.8 percentage points lower and 14.9 percentage points greater than all households, respectively.

On the other hand, 66.6 percent of households generally favored bank accounts, and 11.6 percent had direct investments such as stocks. 8.6 percent of the wealthiest 1 percent of households have indirect investments such as funds, compared to only 1.7 percent of all households.

Only 38.4 percent of the wealthy were ready to put their spare cash in real estate. The number was 58.0 percent for all households.

The most favored investment among the top 1 percent who are prepared to invest in real estate was flats at 51.8 percent, followed by buildings such as commercial facilities and offices at 29.9 percent. It was 10.8 percentage points lower and 14.1 percentage points higher than the statistics for all households, respectively.

The average yearly income of the top 1 percent of families was 216.32 million won, 3.4 times the average income of all households. Wage and salary income was 93.28 million won, company revenue 39.85 million won and property income 72.47 million won. Business income refers to net revenue from running a business, whereas property income profits from rentals, interests, and dividends.

The wage income of the top 1 percent of households was 2.3 times that of all households, while corporate income was 3.4 times that of all families. The average property income of all households was just 4.26 million won, which was seventeen times less than the income of the top 1 percent.

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