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In Seoul, housing is at the centre of the South Korea election

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SEOUL, March 1 (Reuters) – Lee Jae-hong would have had no trouble buying a home in the suburb of Ilsan on the outskirts of Seoul back in 2018. With a strong credit score and a job at a blue chip company, borrowing enough for an average apartment in the city costing about $562,000 was well within reach.

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But the now 39-year-old held off thinking there would be better opportunities in the coming years – only to be “gobsmacked” by a near tripling of prices in his neighbourhood since President Moon Jae-in took office in 2017.

Frosts in Brazil have impacted supply.(Supplied: Melbourne Coffee Merchants)

In unaffordable Seoul, housing is at the centre of the S.Korea election

Jang Sung-won, 32, who owns YouTube channel Saver King, looks out from his home in Paju
Jang Sung-won, 32, who owns YouTube channel Saver King, reads a book at his home in Paju
Lee Jae-hong, 39, who owns the YouTube channel "The Blade of Knowledge", works at his office in Ilsan

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Jang Sung-won, 32, who owns YouTube channel Saver King, reads a book at his home in Paju, South Korea, February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Daewoung Kim

SEOUL, March 1 (Reuters) – Lee Jae-hong would have had no trouble buying a home in the suburb of Ilsan on the outskirts of Seoul back in 2018. With a strong credit score and a job at a blue chip company, borrowing enough for an average apartment in the city costing about $562,000 was well within reach.

But the now 39-year-old held off thinking there would be better opportunities in the coming years – only to be “gobsmacked” by a near tripling of prices in his neighbourhood since President Moon Jae-in took office in 2017.

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Housing has emerged as a critical issue in the presidential election slated for March 9, as Lee and millions of others who missed getting onto the property ladder blame the government for failing in its promises to make housing more affordable.

“I would do anything, if I can go back in time, to buy something,” said Lee, who has delayed his marriage and retirement plans due to his financial uncertainty.

Those who think they can control the (property) market should never be in power again.”

Now a YouTuber, Lee said he will vote for Yoon Suk-yeol from the opposition party, whose policy pledges including cutting capital gains taxes and deregulating rules on knock down-and-rebuild homes are regarded more market friendly than those of Lee Jae-myung from Moon’s progressive camp.

Lee’s decision not to buy a property left him far worse off than peers like Park Seong-eun.

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